World Facts Index > Germany > Bonn

Bonn's city centre is characterised by the pedestrian zone, with its many shops and the weekly market, the basilica and university. Numerous pubs, breweries and restaurants also make the city centre a popular place.

The city district on the eastern side of the Rhine, Beuel, is connected to the city centre by the Kennedy Bridge. Well known because of the "fifth season", carneval. Today the memorial to the laundry women remembers the pioneers of "Weiberfastnacht" in 1824. The memorial plaque on the Synagogenplatz in Beuel reminds one of one of the worst chapters in Germany's history. The Heimatmuseum Beuel is also worth seeing.

The Endenich district is particularly known for the Schumannhaus, where Robert and Clara Schumann once lived. Today there is a music bookshop here as well as a memorial room. The Springmaus in the Frongasse is also well known. If you're attracted by nature, then the Ippendorf area should please you; the Bonn city forest can be found here. The forest is a recreation area, containing a children's centre, Waldau, in which the animal enclosure is the most popular attraction. A visit to the Haus der Natur (House of Nature) is also delightful.

The Bonn Altstadt (Old Town) extends to the council offices buildings to the north, and has an urban feel. Here there is a multitude of pubs and restaurants for those who like a bit of fun. If you're inclined towards art, then you should visit the Kunstcarré, the artists' square, as well as the Bonn Art Society, Art Forum, Women's Museum and the August-Macke-Haus. The Plittersdorf district has rather different sights to offer. The Deutsche Museum Bonn for one is found here, as well as the headquarters of the Voluntary Organisation of the United Nations, which is situated right by the rhine. Bordering Plittersdorf is the Rheinaue Freizeitpark (Leisure park) with the Ausee (lake). A big flee market takes place here every third Sunday of the month. Another popular market is held in the Pützchen district.

Poppelsdorf is a classical Bonn district. With its lovely houses dating from the 1871-3 and art nouveau periods, this area is one of the most popular residential areas. Around the Poppeldorfer Castle and Botanical Gardens there are many nice cafes, restaurants and pubs. The neighbouring Südstadt is also lovely and just as popular, with many nice student pubs. Schwarzrheindorf is one of Bonn's oldest city districts, famous for the Doppelkirche (church) . Often undiscovered, since it lies some way away from the centre, is the magical city district of Muffendorf, with pretty half-timbered houses and picturesque courtyards. This district was once a wine growing industry, though today only a few wine bars are reminders of this time. A look at the Kommende is also worthwhile. Schweinheim is west of the Kottenforst nature park and east of Bad Godesberg, and you can go for a nice walk or visit the Marienforst cloister here.

Bad Godesberg itself, known as a health resort, is also of course worth a visit, and the Godesburg is not its only attraction. The Kurpark (spa gardens) lies close to the city and the dem Kurfürstenbad (spa) borders the nice facades of the Ballrooms and Town Hall. In addition, Bad Godesberg has a popular chamber theatre and the small theatre in the park. A side trip to the Aennchenplatz and a break at the Lindenwirtin is also delightful. The Museum mile and government quarter features a multitude of museums and political institutions. The Museum Alexander Koenig, Haus der Geschichte (House of History), Art Museum and the Federal Art Exhibition Hall can be visited here, or visit the Konrad Adenauer memorial on the Bundeskanzlerplatz, the Palais Schaumburg and the Villa Hammerschmidt.

History of Bonn

The history of Bonn goes back beyond the Stone Age and archaeological findings prove that people have lived in Bonn for more than 12,000 years. The fortress "Bonna" was first mentioned in the writing of the Roman Florus between 13 and 9 BC. A Roman castle once stood between today's Rathausgasse and the St. Remigius-Kirche church. Around 69 AD the Bonn complex was destroyed by Germanic reserve troops of the Romans. The first Christian communities in Bonn were founded during this time.

After the Roman Empire dissolved, the Frankish era began in the Rhineland. The Franks spoke of the "castrum Bonna", or Bonn castle, right up until the 9th century. The castle lost its importance over time and could not withstand with the Norman attacks between 881 and 882. In 925 the German Empire was founded through the division of the Carolingian Empire. Signs of the Middle Ages can still be seen today. In 1151 the Doppelkirche (church) was consecrated, the building of the Godesburg Castle began in 1210. The archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden ordered a city wall to be built in 1244, of which the three important city gates Sterntor, Stockentor and Kölntor still remain. The plague epidemic in 1348 meant that the city suffered severe setbacks with regard to economy and development.

The era of government by the Cologne Electors began with the "Truchseßschen War" (1583-1588). The victor, Ernst von Bayern, began a long succession of Electors from the House of Wittelsbach, which reigned until 1761. After Bonn came through the Thirty Years' War relatively unscathed, the city was almost completely destroyed during the war with the Netherlands in 1689. Rebuilding of the city was initiated by the Elector Joseph Clemens, who also laid the foundation for a new residence, later the university.

The 18th century was a peaceful time in Bonn and signalled the erection of buildings by Elector Clemens August. He showed an interest in making structural changes to the Poppelsdorfer Castle, Kreuzberg Church and commissioned the Town Hall. After his death, the "philosopher of the Enlightenment" Max Friedrich governed. His successor, Max Franz, also closely connected to the Enlightenment era, made sure that the Academy erected by Clemens August was given the status of a university. The city experienced a cultural heyday under Max Franz. Bad Godesberg became a health resort and the Redoute ballroom was built.

After the French invasion of the Rhineland, Bonn was governed from France (1798-1814). The city first became Prussian in 1815. The newly founded university of 1818 was of particular significance for the city, and many prominent students such as the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, Emanual Geibel, Heinrich Heine and Hoffmann von Fallersleben studied here and have helped the university enjoy a high standing. The first Bonn professors are just as well known, such as August Wilhelm von Schlegel, Heinrich Hertz, Ernst Moritz Arndt and Georg Niebuhr.

In the 19th century, the unveiling of the Beethoven memorial on the Münsterplatz was certainly the most important event. Both the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and the English Queen Victoria were present at the ceremony, observing from the balcony of the Royal Palace (today the Main Post Office). In 1898, the first proper bridge over the Rhine was built (Kennedy Bridge).

After the First World War, Bonn was occupied by Allied troops (1918-1926). In 1938, Hitler and Chamberlain met in Bad Godesberg. During the Second World War, bomb attacks in 1944-45 destroyed much of the city centre and Beuel. Bonn was occupied by American troops in 1945. In 1949 the Bundestag made Bonn a provisional capital city, and in 1989 Bonn's 2000th anniversary was celebrated. With the reunification treaty a year later, Berlin became the capital city of Germany once again and Bonn was made Germany's premier UN city.


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