It was a sunny day when we arrived in Bonn. We got up very early to catch a train that arrived in Bonn before 09:00 o’clock. We first enjoyed a coffee and a German pretzel (Brezel) before heading to the main landmarks of Bonn. The Bonners are right when they praise their bread. We have never seen so many types of bread, soft and hard bread, rough and smooth bread. There is no bread like the German one!
The day light collided with various flower colours which decorated not only the shop windows, but also the pedestrian streets in the centre of Bonn. The day light has got a special brightness and a certain diffuse sky radiation. That might probably be because of the Rhine’s waters, the river travelling from Switzerland and watering France, Germany and the Netherlands to finally empty into the North Sea.
We now understood why Casanova was very fond of Bonn. We have been ourselves captivated by the 2000 year old city. Some of its famous places are described in this article, in the order we visited them from the main railway station to the city centre and to the Rhine banks.
The Bonn Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) is the main railway station of Bonn. The station is also well connected with local transport means: bus, tram, and Stadtbahn, which is a network of tramway or light railway rapidly connecting travellers to standard services. The station was built in 1844 and then developed as an important travelling hub from 1949 on, when Bonn became capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Deutsche Post Münsterplatz
The first building that catches the visitors’ eyes is the Post Office, which is located in the Münsterplatz. Originally, it was built as the house of the city dean. Today the building is used by the Post Office.
The Beethoven Monument was officially open to celebrate the composer’s seventy-fifth anniversary, in August 1845. Franz Liszt came up with the idea to dedicate a monument to Beethoven in his home city. Liszt contributed to financing the project as well as to the event opening by dedicating a special composition “Cantata for the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument”. The monument was authored by Ernst Julius Hähnel. On the statue footing the sculptor incorporated four symbols: instruments, opera, spiritual and symphonic music.
Das Bonner Münster or Münsterbasilika
The Bonn Minster (Das Bonner Münster or Münsterbasilika) is a nine-hundred-year-old minster basilica, one of Germany’s oldest churches. It combines both Gothic and Romanesque styles, which is a genuine example of the Rhenish transition style from the Romanesque to the Gothic period.
The today’s Sterntor (Stargate) was built in 1900 to remember the former gate that was built around 1244 and was part of a medieval wall. The Gate is decorated with two ancient sculptures featuring religious moments.
Altes Rathaus or Old City Hall is an impressive building, in Rococo style, which dominates the market square in Bonn. The building has been the city seat since the 18th century. The Hall “greeted” famous people such as Charles de Gaulles, John F. Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Mikhail Gorbachev, to name a few.
While heading to Beethoven’s house, one can easily discover the beautiful Namen-Jesu-Kirche (Church in the Name of Jesus), a Jesuit church. The Church was built in Romanesque style with some Gothic elements combined with Baroque forms. The former Pope Benedict XVI preached here while he taught at the University of Bonn between 1959 and 1963.
The two church towers embed both Romanesque and Gothic windows while the columns feature Baroque decorations.
The Beethoven House has been on my travelling wish list for years. I wanted to visit it in 2008, but no time to run and spend some minutes there as I visited Bonn for professional purposes.
Beethoven is my favourite composer and I wanted to see the place where he was born and wrote some of his first masterpieces.
The Koblenz Gate (Koblenzer Tor) is an archway that “watches” the road linking Bonn and Koblenz. It was built in the Baroque style in the 18th century. The gate was damaged during the Second World War and renovated later. The gate features a gold plated statue of Archangel Michael killing the dragon. Today the Koblenz Gate is used by the Bonn University’s administrative offices.
Les Bicyclettes de Bonn
Cycling is a handy alternative means of transport as parking places in the centre of Bonn are very limited. You can see bike parking place all over Bonn.
A view along the Rhine River in Bonn
We finally reached Rhine, which is an amazing river. Its banks could be easily explored on foot and the view on the river is really rewarding. Rhine is not only just a river, but a cultural reference that bears history and connects people.
We saw the Kennedy Bridge, which connects Bonn city centre with Beuel, a town, which was incorporated into Bonn in 1969. The bridge was renamed Kennedy in 1963, after the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The Bonners, Bonn’s inhabitants, say that it is the largest and most beautiful bridge over the Rhine. The truth is they are right!