Germany, located in Western Europe, boasts forests, rivers, mountain ranges and North Sea beaches spanning millennia of history. Berlin serves as its capital and boasts art and nightlife scenes as well as sites related to WWII.
UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley is an idyllic destination, featuring Stahleck Castle and charming half-timbered houses. Additionally, Roland Statue stands as an iconic reminder of European unity.
Albrechtsburg Castle in Saxony is home to some of Germany’s greatest art treasures, including Raphael’s Sistine Madonna from Dresden Picture Gallery as well as pieces from Aachen Cathedral. During World War Two it served as one of the safest places for hiding these works – making Albrechtsburg one of the safest hiding spots.
Meissen Castle stands high atop the Elbe in Meissen and began construction in 1471 on an already existing fortress castle from 929. Since then, this iconic late Gothic structure has become one of the city’s defining symbols and treasured landmarks known as “The Cradle of Saxony.”
Meissen Castle offers three levels that boast modern exhibits that are remarkably modern for a medieval castle, such as those dedicated to Arnold von Westphalia’s architectural genius and politics and power in Saxony; another floor displays porcelain produced at Meissen in early 1700s (at first within its walls before expanding outward).
Meissen makes for an enjoyable day trip from Dresden, but spending a longer amount of time here may allow you to soak in its relaxed small town ambience. Stroll along its streets of old town in search of tiny squares, shops and cafes – or perhaps take in an opera performance at one of its theatres!
Erfurt’s Kramerbrucke Bridge in its Old Town is an absolute must, not only due to its stunning aesthetics but also because it provides a glimpse of life before modern conveniences were commonplace. One of Europe’s few remaining medieval bridges, it stands as one of Germany’s most distinctive sights.
As soon as the first wooden bridge was constructed over Gera River during medieval times, local merchants saw an opportunity for making money through selling their goods. Thus they took full advantage of it by lining it with 62 houses less than nine feet wide; street level houses served as shops while merchants resided upstairs in their dwellings.
Today’s bridge remains lined with charming and picturesque artisan shops from its history; making it one of the most recognisable sights in Thuringia. Additionally, many upper level homes on its upper levels are home to residents.
Erfurt offers many historic landmarks worth seeing, such as its 10th-century cathedral and its impressive free-swinging bell, one of the world’s largest. Additionally, there’s the spectacular Barfusserkirche – once an abbey church but now housing art and historical items from various eras – worth visiting.
One of Germany’s most captivating historic sites, Berlin’s Oberbaum Bridge is an architectural gem dating back to 19th-century Berlin that draws its inspiration from medieval castles – even appearing as such in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. This 19th-century marvel served as an archetype for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle and should definitely be on any visitor’s itinerary when touring Germany.
This double-decker bridge was completed between 1894 and 1896 as a neo-gothic style replacement of an earlier smaller bridge that connected Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain districts of Berlin. Subway line number two runs on its top level while road traffic passes under it.
As a memorial to millions of Jews killed during World War II, this site is one of Germany’s most poignant historic landmarks. With its open design, visitors can reflect and contemplate on the horrors of Holocaust.
Germany has come a long way since its complex past, emerging as an attractive, vibrant metropolis with a thriving cultural scene and many museums and exhibitions, including those on Museum Island in Berlin – which boasts the UNESCO World Heritage site status – showing its history from medieval times, through Hitler’s regime, division during Cold War years, all the way to today’s reunified Germany.
Bremen’s Old Town Hall
As Bremen (German for Rat) is home to one of Germany’s oldest city halls – known as “Rathaus,” perhaps it should come as no surprise that their city hall bears that name – this cultural landmark offers much more.
At the center of this building stands Roland, a limestone statue representing a knight made of limestone who stands over the market square towering tall with his massive shield. Roland symbolizes Bremen’s independence during medieval times and can also serve as a tour guide – so don’t hesitate to take one if interested!
Inside, the main meeting hall features an incredible blend of carved dark wood and stained glass. Here, you will see Mayors’ Crests as well as paintings that depict historical events like an Emperor giving Bremen its first church. Similarly, Upper Hall contains beautiful model ships that remind visitors of Bremen’s flourishing Hanseatic past.
The Bremen Roland and Town Hall represent outstanding civic autonomy and commercial freedom as seen during the Weser Renaissance of northern Germany. Additionally, they showcase medieval Saalgeschossbau construction methods and are an exceptional example of Renaissance style municipal architecture in Hanseatic cities.
Lubeck’s Holstentor Gate
Germany takes immense pride in its history, and there is no shortage of historic landmarks to visit throughout its territory. From medieval castles to ancient cathedrals, Germany boasts numerous breathtaking landmarks; but none are quite as remarkable as Lubeck’s Holsten Gate.
Lubeck’s most iconic structure, constructed between 1464 and 1478 as both a defense structure and display of wealth and power, this double-towered building stands as one of its signature symbols. Above its round-arched gateway entrance can be found the golden lettered inscription CONCORDIA DOMI FORIS PAX (Unity At Home and Peace Abroad).
In 1950, the Holsten Gate was transformed into a museum without adhering to its historical roots – for instance featuring a torture chamber which seemed highly inappropriate for an entrance designed to protect citizens of Lubeck.
After being restored in 1871, it has become a symbol of the city’s glorious past and today serves as an attraction and museum displaying the city’s history. Additionally, this gate has long been considered one of the best preserved city walls across Europe.
Trier’s Basilica of Constantine
Prints that feature both the Basilica of Constantine and Palace of Trier in one frame make an eye-catching display, conveying their grandeur and significance as part of Germany’s oldest city’s Roman heritage. Saturated with warm sunlight on an idealistic German day, this picture exudes history and magnificence.
Under Emperor Constantine, Trier flourished into one of the largest Roman towns north of the Alps, its impressive ruins attesting to its status as an imperial capital. Two UNESCO World Heritage sites – Basilica of Constantine (Aula Palatina) and Cathedral can be found within Trier.
Aula Palatina’s twin churches are famed for the exquisite frescoes which decorate its interior, which may depict members of Emperor Claudius II’s immediate family. Reconstruction work took place during both Merovingian and Carolingian periods – something no other basilicas could boast about!
Aula Palatina, Germany’s oldest bishop’s church with Roman foundations and an important place of pilgrimage, dates back over 1500 years. According to legend, St Helena – mother of Emperor Constantine – brought his Holy Robe here for all to admire and display at its cathedral.
One of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks, and an important symbol for German reunification, is the Reichstag (German for “House of Representatives”).
This neoclassical structure was constructed between 1884 and 1894 based on plans by Paul Wallot. During Kaiser Wilhelm II’s rule, this building became the headquarters of German Empire meetings; later serving as the seat of German republic parliament after it declared its independence in 1918. Unfortunately during World War II it suffered fire damage as well as bombing raids. After Cold War reunification was complete this landmark structure was given its distinctive glass dome now synonymous with Germany.
Visitors to the Reichstag can tour its interior, which serves as a powerful reminder that democracy should be accessible and transparent for its constituents. If interested, visitors should make reservations online as it can become very busy; particularly striking is its glistening glass dome and mirrored cone, making you feel as if you’re peering down upon politicians – an experience which was certainly absent under Nazi regimes.