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Posts Tagged ‘industrial revolution’

Ready-steady-go

One more week to go and we’re off on our first cycle tour of the season! For seven days you will get to enjoy unparalleled romantic river and valley views while whizzing along sophisticated cycle ways joining them all up. Along the Saar and Moselle we’ve got a great selection of World Heritage sites, lifestyle experiences and a bit of history lined up.

Cycling paradise

9054251_origNew Zealand cycling enthusiasts can look forward to Germany’s extensive and well-maintained cycle road network: usually separated lanes with smooth surfaces linking suburbs and small towns, even in most cities one can travel without a worry and enjoy the sights. Even though it does pay to keep an eye out for the traffic when you do have to join it, remember: it’s the other side! The Right side! Follow your guides and you will be fine.

Rheinradweg, Loreleyblick

Rheinradweg, Loreleyblick

But, on the note of cycle ways: at the end of last year the first 5 km section of a cycle-highway was opened in the Ruhr region. A densely populated industrial area, home to various old and new industries and universities, it is planning to use abandoned railway tracks to create a car-free network for cyclists to use. Ultimately it will cover around 100kms of the region and long-term connect to other networks being created throughout Germany like in Munich and Cologne for example.

moselle-cycling-holidaysAlready along the major tourist routes local councils have improved the cycle ways to facilitate greater use by tourists and locals alike. These will be our major means of discovering the hidden treasures of the Saar and Moselle valleys. Wishing our guests good weather and lots of fun for their trip!

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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Fürstenberg porcelain factory

As we travel along the Weser through lots of small picturesque villages we come through Fürstenberg, where we get to have a look at the third-oldest porcelain manufacturer in Germany. The company was founded in 1747 by the order of Duke Karl I. von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and soon after was ordered to incorporate a blue “F” ( for Fürstenberg) into their design, which became their trademark. Despite changes in company structure and flood disasters the company is still successfully trading today. Nearby is Fürstenberg Castle – from ~1355 – which houses the museum documenting the history and designs of the porcelain factory. The history overview on the company’s web site gives good examples of past and present designs.

Höxter

hoexter_innenstadt_sigurdehlertIn Höxter we will stop for a guided tour through the town centre with its famous half-timbered houses and medieval history.

Since 775 Höxter had been along the major trading routes to the north and east and was heavily sought after. Unfortunately this also caused a lot of hardships during the wars and the town’s wealth declined after the Thirty Years’ War. In the 19th century its fortunes were on the rise again with the founding of a brewery and getting connected to the railway network. Nowadays it is known for the nearby Imperial Abbey of Corvey (UNESCO World Heritage site) and it’s finely restored examples of medieval and Weser Renaissance architecture.

Holzminden

Tillyhaus_HolzmindenOn our way to Bodenwerder we come through the interesting village Holzminden. Another medieval town with lots of picturesque half-timbered houses that has evolved from a wood- and sandstone processing industry to a manufacturing town of a wide range of products, most famously its scent and flavours industry.

While we continue to today’s destination we get to see quite a few more idyllic small villages along the river beckoning for a leisurely look.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

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From heavy industry to romantic nature

teaser__74_75a_Blick-auf-die-Saarschleife-von-der-Cloef_-Mettlach_Orscholz_300x200Once we’ve climbed down the furnaces of the Völklinger Hütte we continue on our journey along the Saar. The well laid-out cycle paths lead us to the famous Saarschleife, the spot where a few hundred million years ago the river decided to make a detour and created this stunning display. The river valley has existed for over 350 Million years, but it has been a tourist attraction for only the past 170 years! The loop can be best viewed from The Cloef, a cliff formation overlooking the river at the center of the loop. Once we’ve parked the bikes, we’ll go on a hike up to get a better view from the top.

Romanticism and travelling

1200px-Saarschleife_HDREven though the loop itself might not have found its way into a famous painting, it had caught Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s eye during his travels in 1839 as the crown prince. In view of a possible visit to the nearby village of Orscholz, dignitaries decided a major upgrade of the paths and fortification of the viewing platform was required. Despite some local opposition – mainly from a landowner who didn’t want to give up part of his forest – the viewing platform, a pavilion with a mosaic ( donated by one of the founders of Villeroy& Boch) and a sandstone table (donated by the local castle owner Johann Baptist de Musiel) were ready for the monarch for his visit in 1856.

Modern appeal

As the tourists kept coming in larger and larger numbers after the Royals’ visit, it was easier for the councils to release funds for the repairs and upgrades required. As times and tastes have changed, the design of the original small viewing platform has undergone a huge transformation, making it a modern architecturally interesting site as well. As throughout the decades up to the present the Cloef has proven to be a magical attraction for artists and nature lovers  we hope you will enjoy it too.

„2011-07-23-Atrium“ von Thomas Johannes - Eigenes Werk. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2011-07-23-Atrium.jpg#/media/File:2011-07-23-Atrium.jpg

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

 

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Völklinger Hütte

Our next stop on our tour along the Saar river is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Völklinger Hütte, an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage denoting its historical importance and attractiveness to visitors. The guided tour will explain in detail the workings of the ironworks and the relevance to local and national economics.

But for those of you who cannot wait for the tour, I can highly recommend the web site which gives detailed information about the history of the ironworks, the founding family and its conversion into a modern learning and entertainment space.1200px-VH_außen_pano

Völklingen

One aspect that might not be obvious to the uninitiated is the fact that the area around Völklingen has been an important trading and industry site as early as the 6th century.

The fertile meadows between the rivers Rossel and Köllerbach flowing into the Saar have meant that the area had been populated since Celtic times. As the villages grew and trade along the Saar flourished, its relevance for local and regional administrations increased as well.

In the 16th century iron and coal finds in the area led to the construction of the oldest and largest ironworks of the Saarland in Geislautern in 1572. Geislautern is now part of Völklingen and right opposite the famous ironworks on the other side of the Saar.

Even though the works in Geislautern were closed in 1884, new technology developments and innovative thinking were influential in the establishment and success of the Völklinger Hütte, the “Röchling’schen Eisen- und Stahlwerke” by Carl Röchling in the late 1880’s. The works were active until the 1970’s when the world wide steel crisis required major restructuring of the industry which ultimately led to its closure in 1986.

A walk through time1280px-Völklingen_Ironworks_by_night

To understand the importance of the industry and this particular steel works, one has to remember that the guided tour and public area covers ‘only’ 7.46 hectare of the original area of the Saarstahl AG (260 hectares), which officially originated after the steel crisis in 1986, but through its individual components goes back to the beginnings of the steel industry in the region. Be amazed by the sheer size of the site and enjoy the various cultural exhibitions during your visit here.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

 

 

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Historic warehouses and offices in Hamburg protected

"Chilehaus Hamburg 2013" by Sebastian Warneke - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chilehaus_Hamburg_2013.jpg#/media/File:Chilehaus_Hamburg_2013.jpg

Chilehaus Hamburg 2013 by Sebastian Warneke

We are proud to announce that another destination on our tour ‘Cosmopolitan North’ has been declared worth protecting and became a UNESCO world heritage site. The distinct brick warehouses and offices along the canals and inner city of Hamburg’s ‘Speicherstadt’, ‘Kontorhausviertel’ and ‘Chilehaus’ have been deemed relevant as symbols of the rapid international growth of trade of the 19th and 20th century. In earlier articles we have already introduced other items of interest in Hamburg, here’s a bit more about the ‘Speicherstadt’ now.

Money talks, even then!

Unicode

To be able to accommodate the need for more storage and processing space in the harbour, over 20.000 people had to be relocated and over a 1000 buildings levelled before building on the new warehouses and office blocks could begin in 1883. Workers and labourers found new homes in the new high rises in Barmbek and Hammerbrook, while other home owners converted their summer batches along the Alster or Elbe into the main family homes.

Bricks, bricks and some more bricks

"Chilehaus (Hamburg-Altstadt).Detail.5.ajb" by Bild: © Ajepbah / Wikimedia Commons /. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chilehaus_(Hamburg-Altstadt).Detail.5.ajb.jpg#/media/File:Chilehaus_(Hamburg-Altstadt).Detail.5.ajb.jpg

Chilehaus (Hamburg-Altstadt).Detail.5 by Ajepbah

From a New Zealand perspective these buildings must seem utterly incongruous: as far as the eye can see beautiful dark red brick buildings with ornate fronts and highly detailed and decorated rooflines. An earthquake conscious engineers’ nightmare! Their designs are classic examples of Gothic Revival architecture and as such represent the revived mercantile attitudes of the entrepreneurial Middle Ages. Show of wealth was in, so bigger, taller and prettier was the motto of the day for the architects. Photos can give you only a limited impression of these distinct buildings, so come and join us on our two tours discovering the mercantile and architectural history of Germany’s northern cities.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

 

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