DREAMSCAPES SPRING/SUMMER 2024
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GERMANY’S ORIGINAL CITIES
 
(2024 - Spring/Summer Issue)

Writer: KAREN BURSTEIN



Food, wine, nature and art are typical travel interests. But for many kids, if history is mentioned there might be a yawn. Enter Historic Germany, which is breathing new life into ancient history. It’s today’s culturally curious tourist’s new go-to for experiences.

The Historic Highlights of Germany, a user-friendly network of 17 wondrous old cities, many dating back more than a thousand years, was created to make history a dynamic active part of travel. The network’s catch? These special urban gems are university towns that are at least 700 years old and need to be accessible by the national DB high-speed rail.

So, yes, consider eating marzipan an activity worthy of history. In Lübeck, as you sample the candied almond paste, some shaped like castles, dukes or fruit, you’ll learn that Lübeck is considered the “Marzipan Capital of the World.” Lübeck Marzipan is even protected by an EU law. 

Here are more Germany Original Cities standouts.

Have an Ancient Spa Treatment and Dinner

In Aachen, indulge in the gushing hot springs similar to the Romans’ experience when they made this spa town in the first century. At the Aachen Cathedral, you’ll not only view one of Europe’s oldest cathedrals, but you’ll appreciate Charlemagne’s choosing Aachen as the capital of his first European empire. He was buried there in 814.

Germany’s oldest city of Trier is another ancient Roman hub that houses the most Roman structures outside Rome. At a local restaurant, you can eat like a Roman enjoying the same ancient Roman dishes as Apicius, the Jamie Oliver of his day.

Hollywood and History

Potsdam, just outside of Berlin, is rife with castles. New Palace is famous for its magic sightlines, perfectly framing the surrounding landscape. But Potsdam is also a Hollywood heavyweight. Babelsberg studios have been behind such blockbusters as The Pianist, The Bourne Supremacy and Inglorious Basterds.

Beethoven and Chill

When many people hear Bonn, the former capital of West Germany might come to mind. But Bonn is also Beethoven’s birthplace. Come fall the annual Bonn Beethovenfest transports you in a truly unique experience celebrating the 18th-century musical genius in historic venues and alfresco settings.

For a full chill-out session, head to the 800-year-old Rostock, an ancient port town bedecked in an astronomical clock and a lighthouse. But Rostock is also the birthplace of the world’s first beach chair. Invented in this Baltic Sea town, you can sit on one of these strandkorb (beach baskets), chillax and interact with history.

Did You Know?

Erfurt, the compact capital of the state of Thuringia, has religious history in spades. Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, studied there. Historically, Erfurt had one of the largest Jewish communities in Germany. You can visit its well-preserved medieval synagogue, which is a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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