{Janet’s Germany} Weekend in Poland

selah_candace_rose_poland_1The drive to Kraków was long and beautiful, with a KFC every few miles! The bridges were fantastic and the forests dark and mysterious. Clouds kept the drive from getting too hot and added interest to the drive. We spent the weekend in Kraków. There was so much to see there we didn’t explore anything else. selah_candace_rose_poland_2Our host’s dogs, Onyx and Amber, like to play soccer with their ball! Onyx is good keeping the ball going and Amber is good at chasing Onyx and cheering her on. selah_candace_rose_poland_3Lori took us into Kraków for a short tour the evening we arrived. Kraków started as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and is the second largest, and one of the oldest city in Poland. It dates back to sometime int he 7th century! By 965 it was reported as a busy trading center in Europe.selah_candace_rose_poland_Following the invasion of Poland in September 1939 by Nazi Germany, Kraków became part of the Nazi’s General Government and eventually its capital. It was headed by Hans Frank who was based in Wawel Castle. The Nazis envisioned turning Kraków into a completely German city after removing all Jews and Poles. selah_candace_rose_poland-1Legend says women saved this portion of old city walls from being destroyed by the men. They told the men that if this wall were taken down, the wind would gust through the market square and lift the ladies’ skirts on their way to church, thus embarrassing the women and making the men think badly of them. So the men did not tear down this wall. This is how the women saved the wall of Kraków. selah_candace_rose_poland-2There are roughly 120 churches registered in Kraków. We walked by many, and went into only two (St. Mary’s Basilica and the other were a wedding was taking place, so no pictures were allowed). selah_candace_rose_poland-3 Cloth Hall was originally designed in the 14th century as a center for international trade. The ground floor is continually used for commerce with its many souvenir shops and cafés; upstairs houses the Gallery of the National Museum. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.selah_candace_rose_poland-4We did not spend much time at Wawel Castle because we had so many other things to see, but it was lovely! And the other tourists were a HOOT to watch!selah_candace_rose_poland-5Legend tells about a dragon, Smok Wawelski, who was terrorizing Kraków during the reign of King Krakus, the city’s legendary founder. Each day the evil dragon would reign down destruction across the countryside, killing the civilians and devouring their livestock. The king wanted to put an end to the dragon, but his bravest knights failed. In desperation, the King promised his beautiful daughter Wanda’s hand in marriage to anyone who could defeat the dragon. Great warriors from near and far fought for the prize and failed. One day a poor cobbler grew tired of the ongoing terror. He stuffed a lamb with sulfur and set it outside the dragon’s cave. The dragon ate it and became incredibly thirsty. He turned to the Vistula River for relief and drank and drank, but no amount of water could quench his aching stomach and after swelling up from drinking half the Vistula river, he exploded. The cobbler refused the princess’s hand in marriage because his wife would not be happy. Read more legend versions about the dragon here. selah_candace_rose_poland-6During the reign of Casimir III the Great (1333 to 1370), St. Mary’s Basilica was rebuilt on the remaining foundation of an earlier church destroyed in the Mongol invasion. Vicar Jacek Augustyn Łopacki had the interior rebuilt in the late Baroque style in the 18th century.selah_candace_rose_poland-7Legend says two brothers were hired to design and build St. Mary’s Basilica towers, but they wouldn’t work together. This is why each tower is different. The brother who built the shorter tower was jealous of the other’s tower so killed him. The knife hangs in an arch in the Cloth Market across the square.selah_candace_rose_poland_2

Every hour a fire fighter climbs to the top of the main tower to sound a trumpet call, the Hejnał mariacki. The melody is plaintive and historically was played to signal the open and close of the city gates. It stops unexpectedly mid-stream to salute the famous 13th century guard who was shot in the throat by an arrow while playing the tune to warn the city of the coming Tatar invasion.selah_candace_rose_poland-8

The extravagant Altarpiece is the largest Gothic altar piece and a national Polish treasure. It was designed and carved out of lime (linden), oak, and larch wood by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz) between 1477 and 1484. During the German occupation, the altarpiece was dismantled and shipped to the Third Reich on order of Hans Frank. It was sent to Nuremberg Castle in Bavaria, where it survived heavy bombing to be recovered and returned to Poland in 1946. It underwent major restoration and was put back in its place at the Basilica 10 years later.

Julia took us to the Jewish Quarter where we saw a few Synagogues and an ancient Jewish cemetery. I learned how in the Jewish culture, stones are left on the headstones to tell the family that someone stopped by to pay respects. selah_candace_rose_poland-9And thus ended our tour through Kraków. The next day we went back to do our tourist-ly duty of shopping and souvenir buying before we drove to Auschwitz, which I am posting about next week.

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{Janet’s Germany} Bamberg

selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_01The 2011 Three Musketeers was filmed here at the Alte Hofhaltung in Bamberg…now I must watch it again! We walked past the old town hall, which was closed for renovations.selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_02Interesting tidbit: In 1459 the first book printed in the German language was published in Bamberg.selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_03

“To commemorate the Jewish citizens and those who have done during the National – Socialist violent domination resisted, ignored, persecuted and murdered.”

The old town hall is opposite the Queen Kunigunda statue on the Alte Rathaus bridge; they are just down the road from the New Residence.selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_04I wandered through the royal Rose Garden of the New Residence Bamberg, which was first created in 1703. In 1733 the garden was laid out the way it is today by designer Balthasar Neumann under the direction of Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn.selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_05 copyThe sculptures were completed in the winter of 1760/61, but have been replaced by copies to preserve the originals. Some of the roses are the most beautiful I have ever seen. selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_06The garden is lined with lime tress and around 4500 roses bloom every summer! selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_07There is also a wonderful view of Michaelsberg Abbey. selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_08The Bamberg Cathedral (official name Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg) was completed in the 13th century. It is a late Romanesque building with four large towers. It was founded in 1002 by Emperor Henry II and finished in 1012. In 1081 it was partially destroyed, but was reconsecrated in 1111 and received its present late-Romanesque form in the 13th century. selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_09The Cathedral took so long to be constructed that several styles were used in different parts of the cathedral: Romanesque, Gothic, and in the middle is the Transitional style; this is the style which is characteristic of the nave.selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_11^ This is my favorite picture of my entire trip. It is like The Past shining light to show the way for Now and The Future. We can learn from Past (if we want to) and it will guide us to a better future. However, God MUST be a part of Present and Future for Past to guide in any way.

The Second Coming of Christ is a fresco in the apse of the east choir and was painted by Karl Caspar in 1927/28. In the west choir stands The Crucifixion of Christ; it is gold plated limewood plated and was created by Justus Glesker in 1649.selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_10One more  treasure of the cathedral is an equestrian statue, the Bamberg Horseman (Bamberger Reiter). It was created around 1235 by an unknown craftsman, and it is unknown who the rider is, although there are many theories about that. You can read more about it here. selah_candace_rose_Bamberg_12From the Cathedral’s brochure:
In Bamberg Cathedral, the central house of worship in the diocese of Bamberg, God is our opposite and our host. We are all invited to accept Him and His presence.

Space
created,
to save Him,
to touch Him,
to know He is with us.

Here He hears our prayers,
here we celebrate Him,
here you are close to Him,
here you are in His presence.

We are creations,
He is the creator,
We are the people,
He is God.

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