Sunday, 10 January 2016

Bonn - Beethoven and more

Bonn is yet another of the cities founded by the Romans (1st century BC).   After WW2 Germany (indeed Berlin itself) was divided into 4 administrative zones.  Though Berlin was symbolically named the "de jure" capital of West Germany, from 1949 to 1990 when reunification began, Bonn was the "de facto" seat of government and capital of West Germany. In recognition of its former status as capital, it holds the the title as the Federal City (Bundesstadt) of Bonn.

Bonn is a 25' train ride south of Cologne, so it was an easy place to visit.  The special administrative part of the city was not of particular interest to us.  We were more interested in one of Bonn's famous sons.  This is the city where Beethoven was born and where his music holds a special place (even though most of the major works were written in Vienna).

The Post Office building is attractive, but here
it's all about the man on the monument.
That's him - Ludwigvan Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Most statues and portraits show him looking grim
faced and scowling.  He doesn't look a happy chap!

Bonn's very attractive old Post Office
The Beethoven birth house
The plaque on the birth house.

The Bonn Munster - as a boy Beethoven played the organ here.
In one of the shopping streets in the old town we came across 5 musicians playing arrangements for brass quintet of carols, excerpts from Handel's "Water Music" and a variety of arrangements of classical music.  They were dressed in very old fashioned clothes - fur boots, floppy hats and tunics with overcoats.  The crowd gathered around them was treated to some particularly fine playing and they well deserved the applause and the money given to them.

 Now for some of the interesting and beautiful historic buildings in Bonn.

An old inn beside the Beethoven house

The Bonn Munster (other end to earlier image)
A pavilion beside the sports ground of the University of Bonn
I had heard of the "Arithmeum" display of computing devices housed at the University's IT & Maths Building.  The devices were tantalisingly close but just out of reach as the department was closed on Christmas Eve.  Fortunately many could be seen through the large windows.

In my early days in a CSIRO laboratory I used manual mechanical
calculating devices quite similar to the one at bottom left. Multiplication
was done by successive addition involving lots of turning of the handle!
Ours was only a short visit but it was enjoyable.  There were many  other sites worthy of a visit should you ever be near to Bonn.

Paul & Judy

January, 2016

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