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A Brief History Of Bonn Essay

1647 words - 7 pages

With traces of humans dating back 50,000 years, Bonn is considered to be one of Germany’s oldest cities (History). The city of Bonn “celebrated its 2000th anniversary in 1989, based on the date of its first written mention by the Roman writer Florus in 11 BC” (History). “Friedrich Schlegel once called Bonn a “friendly” town and it has been a friendly town throughout the whole 2000 years if its existence, which dates back to the foundation of the Drusus fort in the year 13 BC (Schleifer).” Around 11 BC, a Roman army placed a unit in what is present day downtown. However, before this occurred, the army moved members of a Germanic tribe, the Ubii, to Bonna which is Latin for Bonn. After many ...view middle of the document...

“The Romans remained 400 years in Bonn. Their heritage can still be seen in many places. The Franks superseded them in 410. The Normans descended upon Bonn in 881 and 892” (Schleifer). In 1138, the Archbishop of Cologne built the Drachenfels (Dragon's Rock) the Siebengebirge hills near Bonn between the towns of Königswinter and Bad Honnef. The castle summits the highest of the seven hills and was meant to protect the area from any attacks. It was fully equipped with guards, servants, living quarters, a chapel, and a court. During the Thirty Years War, however, the Drachenfels was mostly destroyed and never rebuilt (Drachenfels). Many legends surround the Drachenfels, the most famous one being that Siegfried – the hero of the Nibelungenlied legend– killed a dragon called Fafnir, who was living in a cave on the hill. Siegfried then bathed in the dragon’s blood to become invincible. This is where then name Drachenfels comes from. Some legends say that there was a prisoner who was sacrificed to a dragon, and still some say there was a virgin who held up a cross in fear of the dragon, and the dragon was so scared of the cross that it jumped from the cliffs into the Rhine and was never heard from again. A last legend says that the dragon attacked a boat that was filled with gunpowder, which caused an explosion, destroyed the ship, and then killed the dragon. Of course, these are just legends (Drachenfels). “Bonn was a walled city from 1244 onwards and was originally the provisionally, later the permanent residence of the Archbishops and Electors of Cologne until 1794. Bonn witnessed the glory of two imperial coronations in 1314, when Henry of Virneburg crowned Frederick the Handsome in the Minster and in 1346 when Wolfram of Juelich anointed Charles IV. The town was a host to a number of visitors including Dr. Faustus, Giacomo Casanova as well as the Soldier King and his son, who was later named Frederick the Great” (Schleifer). During the 12th century, the Romanesque “Bonn Minster was built, and in 1597 Bonn became the seat of the Archdiocese of Cologne” (Bonn). Bonn gained influence and grew significantly. Clemens August, who ruled from 1723 to 1761, ordered the construction of a series of Baroque buildings, which give Bonn its romantic feeling and character. Another one of Bonn’s memorable rulers was Max Franz, who ruled from 1784 to 1794, and founded Bonn University and the spa quarters of Bad Godesberg. He was also a patron of Ludwig van Beethoven, who was from Bonn. The town was seized by French troops in 1794, becoming a part of the First French Empire. Following the Napoleonic Wars, in 1815, Bonn became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Within the Prussian Rhine Province, Bonn became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany. Bonn was of little significance in these years (Bonn).
During World War 2, Bonn became militarily strategic because of its significant location on the Rhine River, which was...

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