Monday, November 16, 2009

Saint Stephan's Cathedral (The Stephansdom)

Modern high altar with a representation of the stoning of St. Stephan.
Gilt pulpit (18th cent.), crowned by the church personified in Ecclesia.
The Cathedral of St. Stephan: A view through the nave toward the altar.
The moving casing of the gigantic great organ bears the Lamberg coat-of-arms and hides both the largest and smallest pipes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Residence of the Bishops

The square is bordered in the north by stately residential buildings, on the south side by the Neue Residenz (New Residence), the newer palace of the bishops, and on the west side by the Gothic east choir of the Cathedral as well as the Marshall's house which juts forth beside it. The Wittelsbacher Fountain, which was built in the Baroque style in 1903 to commemorate the annexation of Passau to Bavaria 100 years before, stands in the middle of the square. The column of the fountain is topped by Mary as the Queen of Heaven and patron saint of Bavaria, on whose lap the boy Jesus is seated. 3 angelic figures at their feet symbolise Passau's 3 rivers. The figure with the heads of grain in her hair is the Danube, which flows through the fruitful Bavarian alluvial plain. The figure with the pearls in her braids is the Ilz, in which fresh water mussels flourish even today that, in turn, produce valuable pearls. Last but not least, the figure wearing the Tyrolean hat is the Inn, which originates in the Alps.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Loreley

Still today, mention of the Romance of the Rhine conjures up a picture of the mighty state rock between Kaub and St. Goarhausen called the Loreley. Downstream the river was squeezed into its narrowest and deepest point; even in the 19th century, reefs and rapids made it extremely dangerous for ships and rafts to pass this point, so a tree bells warning told the crew it was time to pray. Moreover the rock was already famous in the early Middle Ages for its good echo, thought to be ghostly voices.
No wonder a multitude of legend was woven around the rock, the most famous of which is that of siren called Loreley, who bewitches the hearts of sailors with her unearthly beauty and her enchanting voice. The sailors look up at the rock to catch sight of the charming maiden, forgetting for just a moment the dangerous rapids and reefs. Their boat is dashed to pieces and they sank beneath the waves for ever.
This is what happened also to the young Erbgraf (heir to the Count's title) von Rheinphalz, who is lured to his doom in this way. His father orders that the witch on the rock be caught or killed. When soldiers bar the way back into her cave, she calls on her father, the Rhine, to help her.
Huge, foaming waves rise up out of the waters and carry the maiden away. Since then she has never been seen again. But sometimes, when the moon is shining bright, a mysterious singing is to be heard, described by Romanticist poets. Heinrich Heine's Song of Loreley, set to music by Slicher, made the Loreley Rock famous all over the world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rhine River Cruise

This was taken during Columbus Day weekend. This is my 3rd time to ride the cruise but because my mother and sister in-laws visited us for the weekend; we took them to see Rhine River. Because the weather was not cooperating, it was terrible, cold and raining; we just stayed inside and played cards even the kids played cards also so they won't get bored. We still had a good time during our cruise.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Mauseturm and the ruins of Burg Ehrenfels

Here's some info about the castle:
On the Rhine island at Binger Loch the pretty little Mauseturm strikes our eye. It was probably built in the 13th century as a lookout tower for Ehrenfels Castle, which in spite of its towers and outworks had no view of the Rhine to the north. This is where the tower's name came from since mausen means to be on the lookout, the way a cat is on the lookout for a mouse. Legend, however, has another interpretation: the hardhearted Bishop Hatoo is said to have sought refuge in the tower from a horde of mice; in vain, the mice swam after him and devoured him.
The tower and Ehrenfels castle were partly destroyed by Swedish troops in 1636 and then completely ruined by the French in 1689. The Romanticist on the Throne, King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, had the base of the outwork propped up and repaired and then the tower rebuilt in 1855 in Neo-Gothic style. From then on until 1974 the tower served Rhine navigation purposes as a signal station.
The ruin in the midst of the vineyards above the Mausenturm is what is left of Burg Ehrenfels. The castle along with its subsidiary buildings, used to stretch right down to the Rhine, the final building right next to the river being the customs house.
It was built around 1215 as a customs fortress and passes into the possession of the archbishops of Mainz around 1270. Because of its strategic importance, the archbishops of Mainz around 1270.
Because of its strategic importance, the archbishops had it reinforced many times and used it as a hiding place for Cathedral treasures in times of war.
Ehrenfels has remained a ruin since it was destroyed by the French (1689). With its mighty curtain wall facing the hillside flanked by towers, it is one of the most impressive constructions along the Rhine.
This castle is not open to the public due to danger of collapse.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Buchingham Palace

Me and my daughter posing in front of Queen Victoria's statue, behind it was Buckingham Palace during summer vacation. It was cloudy and luckily it did not rain so we started to walk again to see more museums, churches and other nice and historic places.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stonehenge in England

Stonehenge has fascinated people for hundreds of years. This mysterious structure of giant stone blocks in southern England receives more than 1 million visitors each year. Although no one is certain, experts believe people built Stonehenge in ancient times as a tribal gathering place and religious center.
Archaeologists suggest that Stonehenge was built between 2800 and 1500 B.C. in three separate stages. Overtime, people changed the look of Stonehenge. They added to and rearranged the enormous stone blocks. Archeologists believe the stones originally sat in three rings with two horseshoe-shaped structures in the center.
Only parts of the third ring and horseshoe center remain today. Some of the center stones stand 22 feet (6.7 meters) tall and weigh 30 to 40 tons (27 to 36 metric tons).