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Old January 2nd, 2016, 02:30 PM   #541
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Originally Posted by erbse View Post
Lübeck is a fabulous medieval feeling place, too. And of course Ghent will give you a great medieval impression (Bruges is another option once you're in Flanders). Also some stretches of Prague, Thorun and Venice or Florence (which have more of a "gilded age"/renaissance feeling).

Of the smaller cities, there are much more of course, like Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany or Carcassonne in France.
Which is interesting, taking into account that Luebeck is a reconstruction (as well as, to the large degree, Rothenburg/Tauber and Carcassonne)

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Weird it wasn't destroyed in WW2 as Germans invaded Alsace-Lorraine first
There wasn't much fight of Strasbourg in 1940, that's why it was left intact.

Interesting fact is that French authorities evacuated the whole city, 130 thousand of inhabitants, lock, stock and barrel. 1939/40 winter was among the harshest in the century and lack of heating during winter season is particularly harmful for the buildings. Apparently, one winter wasn't enough to make large destruction.

However, Strasbourg was the target of bombings in 1943-44, so there was some destruction.

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Those cities were all destroyed approximately exually, it's just that some of them rebuilt their damaged buildings and respected the old street pattern (Munich), and some just didn't. IMO, the best preserved cities are Augsburg, and, of course, Munich.
Nope, Augsburg also was bombed, mostly because it was the second letter in "MAN" abbreviation - one of the largest machine constructing factories in Germany.

"N" stands for Nuremberg, btw.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 02:54 PM   #542
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If it doesn't have to be Germanic, the city I'd recommend is Vieux Lyon, possibly the most underrated late medieval city in Europe. It should be talked in the same breath with Bruges, Edinburgh or Strasbourg, but it never is.
Indeed. Although ironically, Edinburgh's Old Town has to my knowledge not a single medieval building currently standing. Edinburgh was perhaps the first city to completely destroy its own medieval town: the current old town is a 17th Century construction, barely 100 years younger than the 'new town.'
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 03:42 PM   #543
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These threads are emotional and also serve as a reminder to preserve and enjoy what high culture we have left, as in the future much of it may be gone, whether through conflicts, or simply neglect.
The middle east is certainly currently experiencing cultural and historic destruction on a similar level to Western Europe during the war or Eastern Europe under Soviet control.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 04:39 PM   #544
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Nope, Augsburg also was bombed, mostly because it was the second letter in "MAN" abbreviation - one of the largest machine constructing factories in Germany.

"N" stands for Nuremberg, btw.
I know it was bombed, but it seems to me that it has few buildings here or there that were repaired after the war, and it has reconstructed its City Hall, together with the famous Golden Hall, which is very inspiring and surprising, after all.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 06:29 PM   #545
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Nothing will really be authentic, almost every single medieval city in Germany was bombed or ruined by some other means like disney reconstructions in the 19th century.

Is there any good Germanic towns in Austria?
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 07:31 PM   #546
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"Disney reconstructions" is a ridiculous pejorative for German old towns. That's far from the truth, nothing like that happened in a place like Regensburg that was left almost untouched for centuries, for instance. The only bigger example for heavy 'idealising' 19th/early 20th century transformations of a German old town was probably Cologne, and after WW2 Münster's Prinzipalmarkt, which is still a great sight. What you say about idealising 'reconstructions' rather applies to the remodeling of medieval castle ruins, many of them were remodelled in a historicising romantic manner. Then again, "old" Flamish Ypres is largely a post-WW1 creation - and it's amazing.

It's true for some reconstructions of formerly German old towns in Poland after WW2 though, like Breslau/Wroclaw and Danzig/Gdansk, which have seen idealising "polonised" reconstructions or simpler versions of gone/bombed buildings.

As for Austrian old towns, I love Graz and Steyr, both very different. Salzburg is a little overrated imho, Innsbruck probably underrated. The outskirts of Vienna have some surprising old town cores of once independent towns.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 10:18 PM   #547
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Nope. The Baedeker-bombings, including Conventry, were the answer to the bombardment of Lübeck.
Coventry wasn't part of the 'Baedeker' raids, it was bombed because it was a major centre for manufacturing. By the time of the Baedeker raids in 1942 Coventry was no longer a target (It had been devastated by 3 major raids in 1940 and 1941 and 40 or so smaller ones, including attacks on satellite towns like Nuneaton)

The city had factories in the medieval core (Actually next door to the Cathedral, which was a parish church that had been made a Cathedral in the 1920s - the city's original cathedral was destroyed in the reformation) and also in the suburbs ('Shadow Factories') in places like Canley, Ryton, Ansty and Allesley.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 10:26 PM   #548
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I don't understand why the cathedral at Coventry wasn't put back as it was. More of it survived the war than a number of other buildings that were eventually restored, including the tower and all the exterior walls, which are nowerdays attached to the the 1950s catherdral, which has all the aesthetic charm and spiritual aura of an egg box...

The rest of the town lost some attractive buildings, Victorian streets, etc. making way for hideous concrete boxes.
Most of what survived in Coventry was demolished shortly after the war ended, and much of it for no reason. The local newspaper had an article commenting that it was like 'another blitz' accompanied with pictures of medieval timbers being burnt. Not much of the 'new' city is concrete, this is a common misconception, but the architecture is quite bland. Most of it is red brick. The ring road is concrete.

The Cathedral could have been reconstructed, and the initial plan was to rebuilt it in a Gothic style retaining the surviving tower and spire. However, the person in charge of the rebuilding did not want this as he did not think it would fit in with his 'new' city and wanted a modern building. (The initial plans for Coventry were to pretty much demolish ALL the pre-war city and replace it with boring blocks similar to the boring blocks in the precinct.) This included the 'Cathedral Quarter' which is perhaps the most substantial surviving fragments of the city.

The initial plans for the reconstruction were heavily watered down and the more of the old city survived. However, a lot of damage has been done.

You can see the progression of plans here:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...807141&page=40

I actually think it might be worth reconstructing the cathedral. I'm not sure, two generations later, why we keep a ruin. The Church likes it because it fits in with the theme of sacrifice and religion, but I think it's a gruesome reminder of something horrific.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 10:32 PM   #549
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Although the destruction of the environment is massive everywheren, there is an enormous difference in casualties between some of the bombings.
Rotterdam: "only" approximately 800 casualties.
Coventry: about 600.
Over 1200 people were killed in Coventry.

I've read that the 'low' figures for Coventry were due a lot of people 'sleeping out' in the surrounding towns. (I think some people even camped on the outskirts!)
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 10:42 PM   #550
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Coventry's 'medieval' centre pre-war:

Untitled by Bodgecity, on Flickr

Virtually all of this has gone apart from the church towers and a few fragments of street that survived the 'reconstruction'. Note the factory buildings near to the Cathedral... One reason why this area was a target.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 12:25 AM   #551
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Originally Posted by AleksLazarevic View Post
Nothing will really be authentic, almost every single medieval city in Germany was bombed or ruined by some other means like disney reconstructions in the 19th century.
You are completely wrong and misinformed. Many German towns actually survived the war with barely any damage or completely unscathed. It's just that many of these towns were small or not notable, and many of the ones that suffered major damage were more important and larger towns and cities.

And there were not even any so-called "disney reconstructions" that occurred during the 19th century. The closest thing I can think of that happened in this time period were the numerous Victorian restorations on many English cathedrals and castles. Nevertheless, nothing of that sort happened in preserved medieval German towns.

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Old January 3rd, 2016, 12:34 AM   #552
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I actually think it might be worth reconstructing the cathedral. I'm not sure, two generations later, why we keep a ruin. The Church likes it because it fits in with the theme of sacrifice and religion, but I think it's a gruesome reminder of something horrific.
Agree completely. I feel the same way about the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in Berlin as well as many others. The points have been made, suffering mediated, and penalties paid; now it's time to get back what was lost and celebrate it.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 12:46 AM   #553
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Nothing will really be authentic, almost every single medieval city in Germany was bombed or ruined by some other means like disney reconstructions in the 19th century.

Is there any good Germanic towns in Austria?
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You are completely wrong and misinformed. Many German towns actually survived the war with barely any damage or completely unscathed. It's just that many of these towns were small or not notable, and many of the ones that suffered major damage were more important and larger towns and cities.

And there were not even any so-called "disney reconstructions" that occurred during the 19th century. The closest thing I can think of that happened in this time period were the numerous Victorian restorations on many English cathedrals and castles. Nevertheless, nothing of that sort happened in preserved medieval German towns.
There simply may be a language/term use conflict here. Surely, the point by AleksLarzarevic is essentially true if one considers "city" to mean medium to large population centers. That non-notable small villages and towns may have been missed by Harris' bombs doesn't make up for the losses of nearly all notable cities.

What is true is that "disney" reconstructions of the 19th century is misleading and basically incorrect. Updates and repairs to historic buildings were generally intended to add modern features such as plumbing and heating systems.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 12:50 AM   #554
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But what does he call 'Disney' then? Especially in reference to the 19th century? The only major alteration of various old towns in Germany happened around the cathedrals and some other landmarks that were turned into solitary buildings, by tearing down surrounding old houses. But mostly nothing was built in their place, so I fail to see how "fake" looking buildings were created there.

German old towns were among the most authentic and valuable on the face of this planet until WW2, only matched by Italy in a global comparison.

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Agree completely. I feel the same way about the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in Berlin as well as many others. The points have been made, suffering mediated, and penalties paid; now it's time to get back what was lost and celebrate it.
Imho Berlin's Memorial Church is a different case though, it was a neo-romanic church that only became iconic as a ruin. And there are similar church buildings scattered across Germany and even Berlin, so it never had such a special status as say the Coventry Cathedral, Potsdam's Garrison Church or Dresden's Frauenkirche. It clearly wasn't a low profile building, but I think it adds a more interesting layer to Berlin than as a reconstructed building, there are already many churches in the city left abandoned of their sacral use.

In addition, the City West is very heterogenous so a reconstructed historicist church doesn't add a lot of harmony and would seem a little off in its context. There are much more important buildings of Berlin that need to be reconstructed, like Monbijou Palace.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 01:06 AM   #555
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Somewhere in recent posts is a comment that the TV tower in east Berlin is "iconic" in part due to its frequent representation on tourist post cards. I don't buy that necessarily, but the Kaiser Wilhelm Church was definitely a post card subject prior to WWII. Iconic or non-iconic, ruins that were made by war rather than centuries of natural decay loose their inherent meaning and value after 1-2 generations, at least in my view. Cemeteries and actual memorials are different, of course. The Wilhelmine era was notable for its large scale building of fabulous churches, and as a group, their resurrection would be interesting especially since most were centers for the social activities of the communities/neighborhoods in which they were located.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 01:09 AM   #556
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But what does he call 'Disney' then? Especially in reference to the 19th century? The only major alteration of various old towns in Germany happened around the cathedrals and some other landmarks that were turned into solitary buildings, by tearing down surrounding old houses. But mostly nothing was built in their place, so I fail to see how "fake" looking buildings were created there.
.
yes, agree. That's why i said "disney" was misleading and basically incorrect.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 01:12 AM   #557
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But hardly anyone lives close to the Memorial Church nowadays, the area turned from partly residential to almost fully commercial (upper-scale shops, hotels, offices etc.). The existing community is tiny and only fills its rooms for special events. No idea where the need for a much bigger reconstructed church would come from, neither could there be great use as a theatre/music venure or something, as there are enough close by (such as Theater des Westens and Zoopalast). It really doesn't make sense and isn't worth to waste many thoughts about.

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Iconic or non-iconic, ruins that were made by war rather than centuries of natural decay loose their inherent meaning and value after 1-2 generations, at least in my view.
Well Germany's most well-known ruin is probably still Heidelberg Castle, which was "created" by war indeed. And it's iconic for many generations.

Along with Hiroshima's Cupola Building, Berlin's Memorial Church is the main WW2 ruin memorial in the entire world. WW2 was the most devastating war of humanity ever and hopefully it'll remain; I don't think it's far-fetched to keep 2 such very iconic ruins to memorize it when there are countless of buildings that need to be repaired or reconstructed much more urgently.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 01:30 AM   #558
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There simply may be a language/term use conflict here. Surely, the point by AleksLarzarevic is essentially true if one considers "city" to mean medium to large population centers. That non-notable small villages and towns may have been missed by Harris' bombs doesn't make up for the losses of nearly all notable cities.
Ok, I guess that happens when you read between the lines! But still, his first statement suggests that there is nothing authentic left after the bombings, which isn't true since there were a considerable amount of notable medium sized cities that survived intact, for example Bamberg, Regensburg, and Görlitz.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 02:04 AM   #559
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Whether we like it or not, there are simply buildings that just can't be reconstructed, not because of the lack of plans or photos, but just for the sentimental and moral reasons. Memorial Church is one of them. There are probably many historicist churches in and around Berlin that maybe need restoration due to decay or WW2 damage, and this church is symbolic only for its current look. As erbse said, it's one of the few buildings in the whole world that should be left as a symbol of war and human stupidity, but I don't see the problem with reconstructing buildings like Frauenkirche or Coventry Cathedral, both of which were a fine example of their architectural style (still don't understand why Frauenkirche is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as one of the most opulently decorated Protestant Baroque churches, and the whole reconstruction process that united the whole world is very unique and unprecedented). Anyway, I would also like to see a restored Memorial Church, but we should have something that will remind us of our mistakes and prepare us for a better future. The problem we have today is that other than few memorial building, we have whole city centres ruined by war and never restored to their former state. As Peter Kulka, an architect from Dresden (and a really bad one, as well) said: "Why should we grant the wishes of retirees who only want to see their past once more?" IMO, not war, but people like him are the reason for Germany not having its former architectural glory to show off with in front of the whole world. I mean, imagine Hamburg with its old town AND HafenCity, what a combination that would be, or Dresden with its many palaces, fountains, monuments etc. Fun fact, Kulka's projects include Potsdam City Palace and Dresden Castle. Hypocrite.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 10:07 PM   #560
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The Cathedral could have been reconstructed, and the initial plan was to rebuilt it in a Gothic style retaining the surviving tower and spire. However, the person in charge of the rebuilding did not want this as he did not think it would fit in with his 'new' city and wanted a modern building. (The initial plans for Coventry were to pretty much demolish ALL the pre-war city and replace it with boring blocks similar to the boring blocks in the precinct.) This included the 'Cathedral Quarter' which is perhaps the most substantial surviving fragments of the city.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Cathedral could have survived in the first place, if it wasn't for 19th century carcass added to the original structure, carcass, which melted and caused the collapse of the roof. How does it go: "Better is the enemy of good"?

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I actually think it might be worth reconstructing the cathedral. I'm not sure, two generations later, why we keep a ruin. The Church likes it because it fits in with the theme of sacrifice and religion, but I think it's a gruesome reminder of something horrific.
Well, with all due respect to Coventry, the ruined cathedral is the only building commonly associated with the city (apart from Belgrade Theatre Coventry)
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