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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Dvorak Grandjean

European Art and Architecture

Updated: Jun 5, 2018

I just spent some time in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary. My husband and I were celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary. Here are just a few beautiful examples of the art and architecture that we saw.

Amsterdam and Kinderdijk were our first stops. Kinderdijk is a Unesco World Heritage Site. I can't believe I saw what the Dutch Painters painted up close and personal. There are 19 windmills located at Kinderdijk. 90 out of 150 windmills remain standing. They were built in the 1500's. The millers wore the wooden Dutch shoes and I was surprised to see how large they were on the feet! Regarding Amsterdam, I was amazed at the number of bicyclists in the city. I saw 4 bicycle parking lots with 2,500 bicycles parked in each one! The locals stay fit and trim due to so much exercise.

On to Cologne, Germany. Construction on the Cologne Cathedral began in 1248. In the Gothic style, it has 2 spires,11 bells and is 516 feet high. The altar is black marble, with the front and sides inlaid with white marble. The Shrine of The Three Kings holds the relics of the Three Wise Men. Ribbed vaults, pointed arches and buttresses comprise the lacy but strong structure.

I took lots of photos of doors. I started that when I visited the Czech Republic several years ago as the old wooden and stone doors intrigued me. Along with the many cathedrals and castles, there were so many beautiful churches and the doors were works of art. The artisans were very skilled. Many had bronze sculptures as door handles. The striped door above was at Mespelbrunn Castle between Frankfurt and Wurzburg Germany. Construction started in the 15th Century. This castle was one of the few in Franconia that was spared destruction during the Thirty Year's War. A Countess still lives here. It's private property. We were able to visit in her library and enjoy smoked trout raised here and wine made from her vineyard.

On to Miltenberg, Bavaria, Germany. A quaint, medieval town of half-timbered houses in pristine condition. This area was settled in 2 A.D. by the Romans. We enjoyed lunch at the oldest pub and hotel in Germany in continuous operation since 1411 - the Gasthaus Zum Reisen. Fabulous bratwurst, potatoes, salad and beer was being enjoyed by all - smiles on every face. They have had plenty of time to get the menu right and this place does not disappoint! LOL!!!

Nuremberg, Germany. This scrollwork is on the door of the St. Sebadus Church, a 13th Century Basilica. It was beautifully restored after extensive damage in World War II. We visited the site of the Nuremberg Trials and the Zeppelin Fields as well as the bunker where the priceless and culturally significant art was hidden before the Nazis destroyed or stole the pieces.

Budapest has several major bridges. Architecturally, this is the most beautiful one, I think. The Liberty Bridge was built in 1894. Located in the southern end of the City Centre. The top of the four masts have large bronze sculptures of the Turul, a falcon like bird. The bridge was damaged during the war in 1945, being bombed right in the center point. It has been restored to its original, beautiful verdigris color.

Another example of fine and glorious architecture can be found in Budapest. Budapest spans both side of the Danube river with historic Buda on the east side bank and cosmopolitan Pest on the west side. Full of Baroque, Neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture, there is plenty to do and see here. It is home to 1.7 million people. The Hungarian goulash was terrific. I purchased some Hungarian paprika and was so happy as I love spices! The photo above is of the Fisherman's Bastion.

Heroes Square in Budapest is the largest and most visited square in Budapest. It was erected to commemorate the 1,000 year old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on the center pillar, holding the Holy Crown and the Double Cross of Christianity. The seven Chieftans who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. I believe Budapest was one of my favorite cities in Europe on this trip.

For more photos of my trip - please friend me on Facebook under Cynthia Dvorak Grandjean and search my pages during October. If you've been to Europe, or any trip, and want to share your favorite art and architecture photos, please comment below.

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