Germany is a country where
history and culture come alive and
whose complex past has made it the extraordinary country it is today.
Many of the country's historical and architectural treasures were lost
in World War II, but much remains and much has been restored.
The city of Berlin
was also divided in half. West Germany made a rapid recovery after the
War to become Europe’s most formidable economic power. The collapse of
communism in Eastern Europe has no more poignant symbol than the tearing
down of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
In addition, German
natural scenery, particularly in the Black Forest, the Mosel
Valley, the Harz Mountains, and the Bavarian Alps, is a potent lure.
The Federal Republic of Germany
covers an area of 357,000 square kilometers and is home to 81 million
people. Stretching from the North and Baltic seas to the snow-capped
Bavarian Alps, the country boasts at least five major geographical
regions, each totally different in character.
As Western Europe's richest and most populous nation, Germany remains a
key member of the continent's
economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles
immersed the country in two devastating World Wars in the first half of
the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied
powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the
advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the
western Federal Republic of Germany
(FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic
FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations,
the EC and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the
Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold
War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then Germany has
expended considerable funds to bring eastern productivity and wages up
to western standards. In the last 10
years, since East and West Germany were
finally reunited in October
1990, the country has been growing and changing at an astonishing pace.
The nation's capital has recently been relocated from
Bonn to Berlin. Berlin's refurbished
Reichstag, which in the spring of 1999 became the seat of German
Parliament, in many ways represents the changing mood of the German
nation. Its new glass dome glitters as a symbol of modernity. Berliners
celebrated the Reichstag's rededication, not with patriotic glory and
pomp, but with an oompah band, meatballs, and beer.
is worldfamous with names like Bach, Beethoven, and Wagner and the
celebrated poet, dramatist and
philosopher Goethe. Cosmopolitan German
cities like Berlin, Cologne and Munich offer fine museums, galleries,
operas and concerts combined with lively and colourful cafés, beautiful
parks and gardens and exciting nightlife. Beer is the national
beverage with each region and brewery producing beer with a distinctive
taste and body. Go north and experience the breathtakingly
beautiful coastal areas and miles of fine sandy beaches. Go south for
the romance and mystery of Bavaria. The enchanting castles dotted among
the snow-capped mountains will make you feel that you’ve stepped into a
living fairytale. Cruise down one of the country’s large rivers – an
excellent and delightful way to experience all that this wonderful
country has to offer.
A special experience can be found in visiting the
former centers of East Germany before German unification in
October 1990, such as Potsdam, Leipzig, Dresden, Meissen, and
Weimar , cities that change almost every day.