Munich is the capital city of the German region of Bavaria and is accessible via the River Isar – a major tributary of the River Danube. It is the third largest city in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg and this cultural hub is home to a number of fascinating museums, interesting architecture, and a number of historical monuments. Within the centre of the city is the Marienplatz – a large open square with a Marian column at its centre and is also home to the Old and New Town Halls. There are remnants of the city’s medieval history still standing to this day in the form of three gates, which are positioned throughout Munich. Additionally, the large Residenz Palace complex, of which construction began in 1385, is sat on the edge of Munich’s Old Town and is one of Europe’s most impressive museums of interior decoration.
The village of Oberammergau is home to the world famous Passion Play event. The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play begins in 1633. After endless death and hardship at the hands of the Thirty Years' War and the bubonic plague, the surviving population of Oberammergau vowed that they would perform the "play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years if they were spared from extinction.
Located on the Pegnitz River is the second largest city of Bavaria and incredibly energetic city of Nuremberg. Emerging from the uplands of Franconia, Nuremberg is also close to the Main-Danube Canal. With official records dating back to 1050 this incredible city has a very long history, unfortunately only a handful of historic buildings survived the damage of WW2. The most significant remaining building is the Church of St. Sebald, a breathtaking example of gothic and renaissance master craft. As well as museums, a Renaissance city hall, and customs house, there is an imperial castle towering above them all.
Situated along the banks of the Danube River is the Bavarian city of Regensburg. A cultural centre of Germany, the cities medieval heart is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting one of the most important Gothic churches in Bavaria, St. Peter’s Cathedral. With a stunning 14th century stained glass window and two Romanesque chapels, St. Peter’s in one of the main attractions in Regensburg. Full of history, the city also offers other notable examples of Romanesque architecture, including the Porta Praetoria, which dates back to 179 AD. Despite the repeated bombings of WW2, Regensburg’s medieval buildings and charm has survived, and sustained little damage.
Resting at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers in Bavaria is the town of Passau. Lying on the border of Austria, Passau offers a unique and eclectic blend of German and Austria Baroque architecture. St Stephen’s Cathedral is the main focus for tourism in Passau and is a true masterpiece of Italian Baroque. The main attractions of the cathedral include a treasury, museum, Italian painted frescoes and the biggest European church organ, boasting 17,774 pipes.
The Austrian town of Krems is situated north-west of Vienna, at the meeting point of the Danube and Krems rivers. It was the location of an imperial fortress around 995, and became a town in the 12th century, at which point it also featured a mint. There are many medieval fortifications still visible in the town including: Steiner Gate, the Pulverturm (“Powder Tower”), and the inner-city Gozzoburg Castle. Krems is renowned for its wine, and no journey to this Austrian town would be complete without tasting it for yourself.
The charming Austrian capital is situated on the River Danube and is a world-renowned centre for classical music, art, theatre and history. Home of the waltz, the Spanish Riding School, Sachertorte and Vienna Boys’ Choir, its central core is easily manageable by foot but excellent public transport is also available. The Schönbrunn Palace is the summer residence of Maria Theresia and the Hapsburgs and is one of the most iconic buildings in this great city.
Before 1806, Vienna was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and later it became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, in 1918, the capital of independent Austria which emerged from World War I as a republic. During WWII, Vienna was divided into five zones, but the 1955 State Treaty helped the country regain its independence and Vienna was once again the capital of a sovereign Austria.
The River Danube plays a vital role in the build-up of the Hungarian capital of Budapest. It flows right through the heart of the city and has led to the construction of seven magnificent bridges - which connect the old city of Buda, on the right bank, with more modern city of Pest, on the left bank. One of the city’s instantly recognisable highlights is the Hungarian parliament building – a spectacular structure which sits beside the Danube. Venture into Budapest, wander its many streets, and you will discover St. Matthias Church, which was originally built in Romanesque style in the 11th century, but later rebuilt in Gothic style, in the 14th century.
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