Saturday, August 06, 2011

Regensburg, Germany - May 30, 2010

Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany, stands at the confluence of the rivers Danube and Regen. The Steinerne Brücke - Stone bridge - straddling the Danube was completed in 1146. The bridge was a key element in the city's golden age as it opened international trade routes between northern Europe and Venice.
In 1245 Regensburg became a Free Imperial City although in the ensuing centuries its fortunes declined until in 1486 it became part of the Duchy of Bavaria. Independence was restored by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1496.
The city has a large medieval center left fairly intact by WWII which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a little irony concerning the survival of the medieval center for, in the years following the war, the local economy was severely depressed and the lack of funds curbed the ability to tear down the old buildings. By the time that the economy improved, a more conservative mindset prevailed and preservation had become the order of the day. This has worked out wonderfully for the tourist industry.
During WWII, Regensburg was home to a Messerschmitt BF-109 aircraft factory and an oil refinery and was actually bombed in August 1943 and again in February 1945, during the WWII Oil Campaign.
The cathedral is the finest example of German Gothic in the whole of Bavaria. It was founded in 1275 and more or less completed in 1634 with the exception of the towers which weren't finished until 1869. The Town Hall, dating in part from the 14th century, contains the rooms occupied by the Imperial Diet from 1663 to 1806.
Today, BMW operates an automobile production plant in Regensburg producing 3-Series and 1-Series vehicles. Other major employers include Siemens, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen and Toshiba. Click here for a tour around the old town.

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