BERLIN – Buildings, Structures and Other Arty Bits

In my short time in Berlin I couldn’t possibly have photographed all the interesting buildings in the City, indeed there were many amazing places I didn’t see at all.  It was just a case of typical tourist sightseeing while taking as many photos of whatever caught my attention. In this post I have been struggling to decide which buildings to show but finally I’ve decided to just show a number of photos of one particular building. More will follow in future posts.

This is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It is  one of the most famous and very popular landmark in Berlin. It was first built in the 1890s but it was bomb damaged in an air raid in 1943, and much of it was destroyed. However, some has  survived, and has been repaired and maintained as a memorial and symbol of reconciliation and a very busy tourist attraction.   Also the Church was rebuilt in the form of a number of new modern buildings, between 1959 and 1961, in a totally different style to the original.

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This is the old Church with its damaged spire (above) and the tall building on the left which is one of the new additions.

On the left of the picture above (also below), you can see the shrine that has been set up to remember the victims of the terrorist attack at this site last December, when a truck was driven into the crowd at a Christmas Market.

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The photos below show the inside of the old building, with the wonderfully ornate ceiling, walls and the beautiful mosaic floor.

 

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The photo below shows the new building for worship, on the right. It was designed by architect Egon Eiermann with very striking stained glass walls designed by Gabriel Loire. Perhaps it’s not so attractive on the outside, but on the inside it’s quite beautiful, and although I’m not religious I found the predominantly blue stained glass creating a perfect calm and contemplative environment.

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organ playing

Opposite the altar on a gallery is an organ containing about 5,000 pipes (above), which was built by Karl Schuke.  Plexiglas panels have been installed over the organ gallery to improve the acoustics. I was lucky enough to hear the organ playing, you can see a person seated at it in the above photo.  I also very much enjoyed a concert of classical music here one evening, performed by the Berlin Chamber Orchestra.

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A couple of tourists inspect their photos under two modern sculptures outside the old  tower.

I hope to post more photos of Berlin shortly. Please visit my website, which has several photos of Berlin. All photos are for sale. Thank you for viewing my post.

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c860-germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BERLIN – MEMORIALS AND MEMORIES

I was recently a tourist in Berlin for just a week.  Of course I took hundreds of photos, as I always do, and as all tourists do.

This, my first post on the Berlin topic is focusing on some of Berlin’s numerous memorials, museums and other history related installations that remember with courageous honesty, the stories of terrible events that destroyed so many lives, particularly in the early 20th century.

Below are some photos showing images from Berlin’s East Side Gallery. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a long section of the  remainder of the structure was utilised as a surface for murals of artists from all over the world. Millions of tourists pass this way every year, to remember, to take photos, to take selfies, to hope for the future.

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The Holocaust Memorial, below.

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Above is the Holocaust Memorial, designed by New York Architect Peter Eisenman. The site covers 19,000 square meter’s, with 2711 concrete slabs, set on a slightly sloping and uneven site. There is also has an information centre underground.  Adults wander, reflect and contemplate, while children do what children do and generally play hide and seek around the slabs.

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The Jewish museum, above, is a very innovative building with an unusual zigzag shape when seen from above, and it has narrow diagonal windows. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind. More information about the building can be found on https://www.jmberlin.de/en/libeskind-building.

The photo below shows a room inside the building.

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Outside, at the museum there is a Garden of Exile and Emigration, which is reminiscent of the Holocaust Memorial, and where children also play enthusiastically, and perhaps inappropriately.

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The brass tiles (Stolperstein) that can be seen embedded into the pavements all over Berlin each remember the name and life dates of a Jewish person who lived or worked in the adjacent house before falling victim to Nazi Extermination or persecution. This inspirational Stolperstein art project was initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, and is still ongoing.

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Pondering and reflecting at the Sinti Memorial (above). This was constructed to remember the ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Nazis, of some 220,000 – 500,000 Sinti and Roma people. It’s a beautiful tranquil memorial designed by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan.

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This sculpture, “Reconciliation” was created by Josefina de Vasconcellos following the devastation of the Second World War. It is located at the modern Chapel of Reconciliation, which replaces the original structure. There are copies of this sculpture at Coventry Cathedral, in the  Hiroshima Peace Museum, and in the former border strip at the Berlin Wall.

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The sculpture above, “Balancing Act” at the Axel Springer Building was created to commemorate 50 years after the laying of the foundation stone for the building, and 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Stephan Balkenhol was the sculptor. Axel Springer SE is the largest digital publishing house in Europe.

 

Below is the famous landmark Checkpoint Charlie, the best known checkpoint between East and West Germany, before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It is located on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse. Now a major tourist attraction, thousands, if not millions of tourists flock to see this place and have their photos taken with the ‘guards’ who will charge €3 for the privilege. The hut is a replica of the original which is now on display at The Allied Museum in Berlin.

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Looks like she found her man in uniform!

Below is the famous Brandenburg Gate, an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin,  built on the orders of  the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the gate became part of the wall between East and West, and it was closed. Now a major tourist attraction and a symbol of freedom for many Germans.

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Thanks for looking at my first post on Berlin. I hope to post more on this city shortly, which will focus on some of the many interesting buildings in the city. Please come back.

There are many more photos of Berlin on my website. Please take a look:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c860-germany

 

 

STAVROVOUNI 2

 

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Here is Part 2 of this post with some more photos taken around the area of the Stavrovouni Monastery and the mountain of the same name, in Cyprus.  Many people visit the  area because the monastery is an interesting and important religious site, but here are also amazing walks around the area and the views are just gorgeous. it’s well worth the trip for the amazing landscape here.

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There are many more photos of Cyprus on my website. Do please pay it a visit:

http://helene-brennan.com/c857-cyprus

 

 

 

TRALEE SHIP CANAL – THE HUMAN STORY

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Tralee Ship Canal, with a view of Blennerville Windmill

Some of you may be aware that I have previously posted photos of Tralee Canal, one of my regular walking and photography routes and in this post I would like to mention just a little snippet about the history in which this canal played a part.

This canal has a rich history. It was built to bring trade to the Tralee area around 1830. But my interest often focuses more on the human side of the story. It was from here that many people set sail for America in the original Jeanie Johnston tall ship during the Famine years of the 1840s to escape hunger and even death, with dreams of a new life in a faraway country, about which they knew very little. This was a dreadful time in the history of Ireland, and its repercussions still resound in the minds and hearts of the people here.

The Jeanie Johnston was a three masted barque that was originally built in Quebec, Canada, in 1847. It was purchased by a Tralee business man who used it to ship emigrants to North America and timbers back to Europe. It was particularly notable because nobody died on the emigrants voyages, unlike on other similar ships of the time, dubbed ‘coffin ships’. From 1848 – 1855 she made 16 voyages to Quebec, Baltimore and New York, taking around 47 days and carrying about 200 people on board. One can only imagine the challenges of this long and arduous journey, on the wild Atlantic Ocean.

When I walk by the canal down to the coast, I contemplate the beautiful view over Tralee Bay and the Sliabh Mish Mountains of the lovely Dingle Peninsula, and sometimes try to imagine what it must have felt like for those thousands of people who left their home country with dreams of a better life, and saw the shores of their beautiful homeland for the last time. I look at the sights they saw as they sailed out to sea, to an unknown fate, and think of their fears and hopes as they knew this might be the last time they would see their beautiful but desperate home country.

In spite of the challenges that confronted them, many achieved their dreams, and many of their descendants have become high achievers in many fields,  some even reaching the highest office of the US.  

Check out this link for a list of 20 US Presidents with Irish connections: 

http://homepage.eircom.net/~seanjmurphy/dir/pres.htm

The Jeanie Johnston is remembered as a ship of great importance to the Irish people. A replica ship was built in Blennerville, Tralee, 1998 – 2000, in a boatyard adjacent to the Blennerville Windmill. It was an ambitious project that cost nearly 14 million euro – way over budget and was sold to The Dublin Docklands Development Authority in 2005, for less than 3 million euro. Unfortunately it did not remain in Kerry, where many stakeholders incurred huge financial losses. It can now be seen moored off Custom House Quay, in Dublin. I have no photos of my own of the current Jeanie Johnston, but here’s one you can see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jeanie_Johnston.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Jeanie_Johnston.jpg

Read more about the Jeanie Johnston on: http://www.jeaniejohnston.ie

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The canal now provides a wonderful amenity to local people who enjoy the beautiful walk along the towpath

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A rainbow seen from the canal

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Wetlands border the sides of the canal, on its route to the sea

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The emigrants may have been glad to leave the uncertain and swiftly changing Irish weather – though it has a beauty of its own

 

 

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Through the lock gates and out into Tralee Bay

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A last look up the canal after exiting the lock

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The last few yards of the canal before entering the calm waters of Tralee Bay

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Keeping the Sliabh Mish Mountains on the left, thousands of emigrants sailed out towards the wild and rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean, to reach America in approximately 47 days

 

Please take a look at my website on the Tralee Canal Category: http://helene-brennan.com/c112-tralee-canal–county-kerry–photos.