Archives for August 2011

Bergen auf Rügen

When I arrived on Rügen, one of the first places that I went to was the island’s capital, Bergen.

Bergen auf Rügen somehow felt familiar, even though I had never been there before.  It reminded me of other places that I had visited on the North Sea coast, even though it is actually located some way inland.  I think this was a mixture of the architecture and the layout of the town, of maybe it is something that many towns along the coast have in common.

The market square and a car park is located at the centre of the town, although – perhaps confusingly – the signs to the free car park called “Zentrum” actually take you in a different direction.  From that car park it is a 10 minute walk to market square along a tree-covered road.

The market square in Bergen auf Rügen

The market square

Once there, the most noticeable building is the Benedix House, named after the family that used to live there, it is considered to be the oldest residential house on the island of Rügen and was apparently built in 1538.  It currently houses the tourist information office. [Read more…]

Störtebeker Festspiele – Open-Air Theatre on Rügen

The Störtebeker Festspiele are an annual event on the Island of Rügen, on the North-Eastern coast of Germany in the Baltic See (Ostsee).

Started in 1993, the plays tell the story of Klaus Störtebeker, a German pirate who apparently lived at the end of the 14th Century.  Legend has it, that he stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but was also known for his ability to drink large quantities of beer.  The plays on Rügen are often inter-linked, with the story continuing from year to year.

One side of the stage for the 2011 production of the Störtebeker Festspiele

One side of the stage for the 2011 production

Describing the theatre as “open-air” does not really do it justice.  The stage is on the water’s edge – behind it four ships take part in the action.  It is big enough (and strong enough) for 30 horses to be used, and many of the actors ride at sometime during the performance. [Read more…]

The Crystal Cave near Weilburg (Kubacher Kristallhöhle)

The Crystal Cave near Weilburg (called the Kubacher Kristallhöhle in German, and located in “Kubach”) is a something very special.  This type of cave is apparently the only one of its kind in Germany, and there is a fascinating story to its discovery.

The story goes that in 1881 miners looking for phosphorite stumbled by chance on an underground cave full of stalagtites and stalagmites that was so big, apparently the local church was said to have fitted in it.  But as this was not the mineral that they were looking for, the entrance was filled in and the cave’s location forgotten.

Except that not only did the miners tell other local people and even the press about the cave, they allegedly brought some of the stalagtites back to the surface that are now in a local museum.

Over the years the story was passed on about the cave, until in 1973 holes were bored in the area that it was believed to be located in.

Whilst those boreholes did not find the cave being sought after, it did find one with rare crystals on the wall. [Read more…]

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