Mittwoch, 4. Januar 2012

Visiting Spandau Citadel

Spandau Citadel, one of the most famous touristic attractions of the far Western Berlin, is considered one of the most preserved Renaissance military structure. It was built at the end of the 16th century, as a medieval fort aimed to preserve the town of Spandau, now part of the capital city of Germany. 
You can easily reach Spandau by S-Bahn or UBahn - U7 line. It is a quiet area, with lots of small shops and restaurants.
The citadel was built on an island created by the meeting of the rivers Havel and Spree. It was conquered by Napoleon in 1806 and played an important part during WWII, being used as an element of the strategy of the city defence. It surrended in May 1945 and the area went into the control of the British, after being for a short time occupied by the Red Soviet Army.
The citadel is very well preserved and hosts periodically various cultural events and creative classes - music, handwerk, painting - for children. The fans of Gothic Baroc style from Germany and abroad are reuniting here for various celebrations and concerts. During the Festival of Lights, the citadel is benefiting of special lightening. 
For nature lovers, this is a good spot to visit in any season. The ducks are silently swimming the day and the dogs can enjoy the pleasant walks alongside the rivers. Inside the Citadel, a funny reservation of bats can be visited during the summer.
During the summer, or sunny days, nice natural reflections are projected against the old walls of the Citadel. Given its abundant nature and old walls, the place represent a  nice and interesting spot for photographers. 
The draw bridge used now for tourists to enter the Citadel, used to be the main defence against unwanted attackers. Now, on the other side of the walls you can buy your ticket, visit some touristic attractions, but also eat something at some traditional restaurants offering mostly German food.

 Inside the cital, you can visit a historical museum. Guided audio tours, also in English, are available.
 The nature wasn't harmed by the construction.
A number of 70 medieval Jewish gravestones were discovered in Citadel. The explanation given was that they were hosted and protected against persecution. The graves can be seen by appointment only by calling: 030/354944-212 (gatekeeper) or 030/354944 -297 (administration). Meanwhile, at Weisensee Jewish cemetery, it is said that the citadel was built also by using the stones of a former Jewish cemetery. Still in Spandau, it exists also a Judengasse, sign of a perment Jewish presence in the area. Currently, there are no traces of the Jewish life in Spandau.
 The bridge was reconstructed and redecorated.
 A proof of the New Year Eve's party.
 A quiet walk on the way back from Citadel is a pleasant experience.
Where Havel meets Spree. Or Spree meets Havel.

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