States of Germany: Saxony-Anhalt / Sachsen-Anhalt


Germany is a federal republic divided into 16 states. These states are called Bundesland(pl. Bundesländer) and each one of them has their fair share of places to visit and things to do. This series of posts titled “States of Germany” seeks to explore each state one by one and tell you a little bit about them. Feel free to post about things I have missed out on.


Saxony-Anhalt'’s location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

Saxony-Anhalt’’s location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

Last time, I posted about the state of Berlin. Our journey now continues into eastern Germany. This week, the state is Saxony-Anhalt which is located in north-eastern Germany. This deeply Prussian state is completely landlocked and borders four other German states: Brandenburg to the east, Lower Saxony to the west, Thuringia to the south and Saxony to the south-east. Also part of the former German Democratic Republic aka East Germany, this state used to be a border state between the two Germanys. The East German government partitioned the state in 1952. The state as it currently exists was formed in 1990 during the German Reunification. With a population of 2.2 million, Saxony-Anhalt is quite sparsely populated. Readers who have been reading my posts about German states would recall that most eastern states of the country are not as densely populated as their western counterparts but are rich in nature. Saxony-Anhalt is no exception. The capital of the state is the beautiful city of Magdeburg. The coat of arms of the state is a merger of the former coat of arms of the Prussian province of Saxony (top) and the free state of Anhalt (bottom). Continue reading

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The Pearl of the North: Plön Castle


Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.


Plön Castle viewed from Lake Plön.

Plön Castle viewed from Lake Plön.

In the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, lies one of Germany’s most beautiful castles: Plön Castle. The castle gets its name from the city it is situated in, and the edge of the lake it is built upon. The castle has a colorful and chequered history. It was first built during the 10th century as a defensive fortification on a hill. Schleswig-Holstein is a very flat state and a hill was seen as a natural place to build such a structure. The castle originally called Plön Castle was built on an island on the Lake Plön, but was later moved to the bank of the lake. Plön was initially under Danish rule. During the Danish Civil War – also called the Count’s Feud – the castle was burned and then rebuilt. The estate was transferred to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg. It was later granted to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Plön. Continue reading

Straight Out of a Book: Lichtenstein Castle


Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.


Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle

In the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany, lies one of the country’s most underrated castles: Lichtenstein. Located about an hour’s drive from the beautiful city of Stuttgart, this castle is perched on a cliff, overlooking the Black Forest. Lichtenstein Castle gets its name from the Knights of Lichtenstein who were a noble family in the then Kingdom of Württemberg. The family had the castle built in 1390, after deciding to relocate from a fortress located down the mountain from the new location. This decision proved to be more than worth it because Lichtenstein Castle withstood every single attack mounted on it throughout the Middle Ages. In 1567, the Lichtenstein family – which, by now, were Dukes – shifted their seat to another castle, and the Lichtenstein Castle was ignored. By 1687, the last of the Lichtensteins perished fighting the Ottoman Turks, and no one tended to the castle at all. By 1802, all but the foundations of Lichtenstein Castle remained, and somebody had the audacity to construct an unpretentious hunting lodge over it! Continue reading

States of Germany: Berlin


Germany is a federal republic divided into 16 states. These states are called Bundesland(pl. Bundesländer) and each one of them has their fair share of places to visit and things to do. This series of posts titled “States of Germany” seeks to explore each state one by one and tell you a little bit about them. Feel free to post about things I have missed out on.


Location of Berlin in Germany (left) and the state coat of arms (right).

Location of Berlin in Germany (left) and the state coat of arms (right).

After what seems to be a very long time, I am doing one of these posts again. Last time, I posted about the state of Brandenburg, which completely envelops Berlin. Berlin, which is my favorite state, also holds the distinction of being one of only three German city states: the other two being Hamburg and Bremen. It is also Germany’s largest city with a population of more than 3.5 million. Of course, Berlin is also Germany’s capital. The coat of arms of the city state is a bear with a five leaf crown on top. Continue reading

The Presidential Palace: Bellevue


Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.


Bellevue Palace is the official residence of the President of Germany.

Bellevue Palace is the official residence of the President of Germany.

This week, I will write about a palace which, in my opinion, is quite ignored by tourists and Germans alike due to its inaccessibility. But just because one cannot go inside unless invited, doesn’t mean we should overlook it. Bellevue Palace is located in Berlin and serves as the official residence of the President of Germany. The President stays in the palace and receives guests and foreign dignitaries there as well. Due to this fact, the palace is not open usually to the general public, however, if you decide to take up German citizenship and are among the chosen few invited to take it directly from the President himself, you will be invited there for sure. Of course, there are other ceremonies happening at the Bellevue Palace for the public round the year. Continue reading

States of Germany: Brandenburg


Germany is a federal republic divided into 16 states. These states are called Bundesland(pl. Bundesländer) and each one of them has their fair share of places to visit and things to do. This series of posts titled “States of Germany” seeks to explore each state one by one and tell you a little bit about them. Feel free to post about things I have missed out on.


Brandenburg's location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

Brandenburg’s location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

This week, we continue our journey into eastern Germany and explore the state of Brandenburg. Brandenburg is the second of two German states completely enveloping another state; the first being Lower Saxony. Brandenburg completely envelops the city state of Berlin. It was also part of the former GDR (DDR in German) and – due to the GDR’s different system of administration – was constituted in 1990 after German reunification. The capital of Brandenburg is the beautiful city of Potsdam. The city has immense historical value and was important throughout German history. The city of Potsdam has a population of roughly 160,000 which is not bad for a state capital. The state of Brandenburg, on the other hand, is home to about 2.5 million people. The state seal is a March of Brandenburg (the name of the region during the times of the Holy Roman Empire) eagle on a white shield. Continue reading

Majestic in Ruins: Heidelberg Castle


Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.


The Heidelberg Castle.

The Heidelberg Castle.

In my first post of 2015, I have chosen one of Germany’s most well-known and recognizable castles which takes its name from a city which is quite popular with Germans and foreigners alike: Heidelberg Castle. Located in the city of Heidelberg, in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, this castle is a landmark. It dominates the skyline of the old city because of its position atop a hill towering over the Neckar valley. The castle was the primary residence of the Prince Electors of the Rhine, and is a great example of German Renaissance architecture.  Continue reading

States of Germany: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania / Mecklenburg-Vorpommern


Germany is a federal republic divided into 16 states. These states are called Bundesland(pl. Bundesländer) and each one of them has their fair share of places to visit and things to do. This series of posts titled “States of Germany” seeks to explore each state one by one and tell you a little bit about them. Feel free to post about things I have missed out on.


Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

Last time we explored the German federal states state of Schleswig-Holstein. This week, we will check out the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It holds the honor of being the first state I talk about which used to be part of the country formerly known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Yes, my blog is a status symbol now, deal with it. Needless to say, the GDR was quite undemocratic for a democratic republic. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – I will hereby refer to it the German way by calling it Meck-Pomm – has one of the coolest state coat of arms; Harry Potter fans will appreciate this one specially. The coat of arms is divided into four parts: two parts make up the bull’s head of Mecklenburg on a field of yellow, and one part each is composed of the griffin of Pomerania and the eagle of Brandenburg to which the state has historical affiliations on fields of white. Very cool. Continue reading

Sigmaringen: The Castle on a Cliff


Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.


Sigmaringen Castle.

Sigmaringen Castle.

Hohenzollern Castle is not the only castle which can be attributed to one of Europe’s most famous royal houses. The castle was present as far back as 1077 in records of the area. This points to not only the long history of the castle itself, but also of the Houses of Hohenzollern and Sigmaringen, the latter family being the namesake of the castle. The castle is located on a chalk projection in the Jura Mountains in the Swabian Alps in the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg.  Continue reading

States of Germany: Schleswig-Holstein


Germany is a federal republic divided into 16 states. These states are called Bundesland(pl. Bundesländer) and each one of them has their fair share of places to visit and things to do. This series of posts titled “States of Germany” seeks to explore each state one by one and tell you a little bit about them. Feel free to post about things I have missed out on.


Schleswig-Holstein's location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

Schleswig-Holstein’s location in Germany (left) and its coat of arms (right).

This week, I will post about the northernmost German state: Schleswig-Holstein. This state is known for its vast coastline with the North Sea on one side and the Baltic Sea on the other. Because of that, there is a significant nautical theme to the culture and way of life. The state comprises the historically German Holstein with the formerly Danish Southern Schleswig region. This is demonstrated in the state Coat of Arms as well which is halved with the blue Danish lions on a field of yellow on the left and the silver nettle leaf of Holstein on the right on a field of red. Legend has it that the lions used to face the other way but Otto von Bismarck had them switched around so that their bums wouldn’t be toward the Holstein side. Continue reading