Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bonn, a jewel along the Rhine

Brendan's brother, sister-in-law and their two cute children live in Bonn and we had the pleasure of visiting them and this pretty little town for a few days as we travel around Germany. Bonn was the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (previously, West Germany) and lies on the river Rhine some 20 km south of Cologne. Bonn is best known culturally as the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven with a population is a around 315,000. Bonn's beginning dates between 13 - 9 BC when Romans began building roads, bridges, and fortresses at a location known as "Bonna." One well-documented event was the martyrdom of two Thebaean legionaries, Cassius and Florentius. The Thebaean Legion was an all Christian legion, which refused to worship the Roman emperor as a god. As punishment, the Thebaean Legionnaires were executed in St. Mortiz in Switzerland and buried in Bonn and at the location of the present-day M√ľnster basilica, which was built on top of the burial site and Cassius and Florentius became the town's patron saints. Two huge statues of decapitated heads lie in the courtyard in front of the bascillica as a memorial of these martyred saints. In December 1770 Bonn's most famous son, Ludwig van Beethoven, was born on Bonngasse Street and this fact is well advertised by the city. There are also tons of museums to visit, though a number of them are German language only, so prepared to not have much explanation of the exhibits. Luckily we had two beautiful little tour guides, Emmy and little Terry, Brendan's niece and nephew respectively. They live in the center of Bonn next to the University and town center.

University of Bonn
Emmy being silly in front of the University.
Beethoven Museum, site of his birth and early years
Some Beethoven graffiti in front of his museum
Bonn's Natural History Museum
 
Terry standing next to a snail from 60 million years ago,
this snail could have fed a small French town today.
Lifelike action taxidermy at the Bonn Natural History Museum
A beautiful field of flowers at a park along the Rhine river.
 
Munster Bascillica
 
Courtyard of the Munster Basilica with the statues representing the patron saints who were martyred there during Roman rule
An old aqueduct along the old city border in Bonn

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