AUSTRIA and the
BAVARIAN ALPS

FALL, 2011

This tour will take us from the famous beer gardens of Munich, to Hitler’s favorite domicile, the Eagle’s Nest on top of Mt. Kehstein, to Neuschwanstein, the unequaled picturesque castle of (Mad) Ludwig II and his Summer Palace at Herrenchiemsee on an island in the middle of Lake Chiemsee.

Included will be visits to historic Augsburg (2nd oldest city in Germany), important for the Augsburg Confessions and center of the Fugger banking empire, and the Austrian cities of Salzburg (Mozart’s birthplace) and Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol, Austria’s most important tourist region.

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DAY 1 DEPARTURE BOSTON FOR MUNICH, GERMANY

DAY 2 - Fussen, Germany

Fussen Germany , a small town of 15,000 is located at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.

It is a popular tourist destination because of its amazing vistas and historic attractions, and nearby are the famous castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.

Only 3 miles from the Austrian boarder, and at 2,650 feet above sea level it is the highest town in Bavaria.The River Lech, originating in Austria, flows through Fussen further adding to its charm.

The Romantic Road, a medieval trade route retaining much of its medieval character as it runs across the countryside featuring beautiful old walled towns, gorgeous meadows, and picturesque villages ends in Fussen.

 

Fussen was a Roman settlement on the Via Claudia Augusta, a road leading southward to northern Italy and northward to Augsburg. The "Hohes Schloss" (High Castle), one of Bavaria's largest and best preserved late Gothic castles is Füssen's landmark.

Today the castle houses a branch gallery of the Bavarian State Collections of Paintings.

 


DAY 3 HOHENSCHWANGAU AND NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLES
Two grand castles are within a short distance of Fussen the first is Schloss Hohenschwangau ("Castle of the High Swan Country").

The location of Hohenschwangau was originally a fortress called Schwanstein that by the beginning of the 19th century had been abandoned and fallen into ruin. Crown Prince Maximilian (later King Maximilian II of Bavaria) charmed by the beauty of landscape commissioned the construction of a castle that served as a summer residence and the future Kings Ludwig II and Otto I spent many years there as children.

 

When King Maximilian died in 1864 Ludwig succeeded to the throne and lived in Hohenschwangau, especially after 1869 when the building of his own castle, Neuschwanstein, began very nearby. Fortunately the castle did not suffer any damage during World War I and II and today hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Hohenschwangau each year.


The second castle and more famous of the two is New Swan Stone Castle, or Neuschwanstein.

With its spiraling towers and brilliant walls, this castle looks like it is out of a fairytale.

The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig ordered construction on the great building in 1869, but it was never completely finished. The King was a tremendous fan of Richard Wagner and the castle was named after the Swan Knight in Wagner’s opera. Ludwig’s love of the composer is evident as you walk through Neuschwanstein's luxurious passageways, many paintings hang on the walls that depict scenes from Wagner’s operas.

In the 19th century many castles were constructed or reconstructed, often with significant changes to make them more picturesque.

None however have achieved the fame of Neuschwanstein, which attracts more than 1.3 million people visit annually.

 

DAY 4 - INNSBRUCK


Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol is in western Austria in the Inn River Valley, which provides easy access to the Brenner Pass 19 miles to the south. The word bruck comes from the German word Brücke meaning bridge, thus Innsbruck, the bridge over the Inn River.

Evidence suggests habitation in the region from the early Stone Age. During the Bronze Age Illyrians populated the valley and around15 BC Rome annexed the region making the area around Innsbruck an important transit route. In the fourth century the Romans established an army station at Oenipons (Innsbruck), to protect the road from Verona through the Brenner Pass to Augsburg. The first mention of Innsbruck dates back to the Roman name Oeni Pontum which is Latin for bridge over the Inn. The city's seal and coat of arms used since 1267 is a bird's-eye view of the Inn Bridge. The route over the Brenner Pass was the easiest route across the Alps and revenues generated being a transit station enabled the city to flourish. In the 6th Century Bavarians migrated to the region making the valley for a time part of the Bavarian Duchy. Later the territory was given to the Counts of Andechs who became the primary rulers in the territorial with Innsbruck the center of their rule.

The first recorded mention of "Innsprucke" dates to 1187 and it was granted city status in 1239. This bridge was a key factor in the development of trade and the movement of goods between regions both north and south of the Alps. The counts of Andechs built a fortress to protect the settlement. Innsbruck became the capital of all Tyrol in 1429 and a centre of European politics and culture when Emperor Maximilian I resided there in the 1490s. The 15th and 16th Centuries were Innsbruck's golden years. Maximilian fashioned the city into a booming financial, cultural and administrative center.

His crowning achievement was the construction of the Goldene Dachl, a splendid Renaissance relief with gilded copper shingles.

As Innsbruck's most famous landmark, the Goldene Dachl is responsible for attracting countless tourists to the city every year. In the 1620s the first opera house north of the Alps was erected in Innsbruck (Dogana) and in 1669 the University was founded by Leopold I. During the Napoleonic wars Tyrol was ceded to Bavaria, ally of France but following the defeat of Napoleon and the Vienna Congress Austrian rule was restored in 1814. In 1938 Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany and During the Second World War, Innsbruck suffered massive damage from air attacks.

Kaiserliche Hofburg with view of the Nordkette.

DAY 5 - Morning in INNSBRUCK, afternoon arrive in SALZBURG, birthplace of Mozart

 

DAY 6 - SALZBURG


The earliest settlements near Salzburg were inhabited by Celts. Around 15 BC the Romans conquered the territory and merged local settlements into a city called Juvavum. Juvavum developed into an important town until the collapse of the Roman Empire sent it into decline.
The city's rebirth is associated with St. Rupert who in the 8th Century chose Juvavum as his headquarters. Rupert named the city Salzburg meaning Salt Castle that is derived from the barges' carrying salt on the Salzach River.
By 798 Salzburg was the seat of an archbishopric and remained for many years the residence of the leading ecclesiastic of the German-speaking world. The town wall visible today was built in 1121 and an additional one was constructed on the rivers right banks between 1465 and 1480.

In the late 15th century the Jews were expelled, and in 1731–32 some 30,000 Protestants migrated to Prussia after a period of severe persecution.


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The Habsburg dynasty annexed Salzburg in 1805, between 1810-1815; it again belonged to Bavaria until the Congress Vienna when it became permanently a part of Austria. In the 19th century, tourism became a focus of attention, and the famous 'Salzburger Festpiele' (Salzburg Festival) was founded. The Mozarteum Academy of Music and the University gave the city a cultural tradition, which it is still known for today.

 

 

 

During World War Two, more than 40% of Salzburg's buildings suffered entire or irreversible damage. In 1997, the city became a UNESCO's world heritage site. It currently has a population of 150.000 and is visited by over 6.5 million tourists visit every year.

 

DAY 7 - BERGHOF - EAGLES NEST - Hitler's retreat

THE OBERSALZBERG AREA: HITLERS RESIDENCE, THE BERGHOF AND EAGLE’S NEST (TEAHOUSE)


The Berghof was Adolf Hitler's home in the Bavarian Alps near the village of Berchtesgaden. Other than the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia (now in Poland), Hitler spent more time at the Berghof than anywhere else during WW II, it was one of Hitler’s the best known headquarters.

The Berghof began as a small chalet called Haus Wachenfeld, a holiday home built in 1916, which was rented to Hitler in 1928. In 1933 Hitler purchased the house with funds he received through the sale of his political manifesto Mein Kampf.

The building was refurbished and expanded during 1935-1936 and re-named The Berghof. On April 25,1945 the Obersalzberg area was heavily bombed by the British, the Berghof being hit by at least two bombs. On 4 May, four days after Hitler's suicide in Berlin, departing SS troops set fire to the villa. Hour’s later, allied forces arrived at Berchtesgaden and over the next few days the house was thoroughly looted and stripped, apparently by Allied soldiers. The burnt out shell was demolished by the West German government in 1952 fearing the ruin would become a neo-Nazi shrine and sightseeing attraction.


The Kehlsteinhaus or Eagle's Nest (sometimes referred to as the teahouse) is a chalet-style extension of the Obersalzberg complex built by the Nazis in the mountains near Berchtesgaden. It was an official 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler. Nicknamed Eagle's Nest by a French diplomat, it was to be a retreat for Hitler and a venue to entertain visiting dignitaries. Martin Bormann commissioned it and construction took 13-month, it was completed in the summer of 1938, prior to its formal presentation to Hitler on his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939. It is situated on a ridge at the top of the Kehlstein mountain 6,017 ft and reached by a spectacular 3.9 mi long and 13 ft wide road (that included five tunnels) and would cost today about 160 million Euros. The last 406 ft to the Kehlsteinhaus are by an elevator bored straight down through the mountain and linked via a tunnel below (the elevator is still used daily). The main reception room is dominated by a fireplace of red Italian marble, presented by Mussolini.

 

DAY 7 and 8 - MUNICH, Capitol of Bavaria

 

DAY 9 - MUNICH

 

Munich, located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps is the Capital of Bavaria. It is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg with approximately 1.35 million people living within city limits and over 5 million in the Metropolitan Area. Its name, München, is derived from the Old German word Mönche, meaning "Monks". The city's name comes from the Benedictine monks who founded the city. The year 1158 is the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document that was signed in Augsburg. By that time the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a toll bridge on the Salt Route over the Isar River next to a settlement of Benedictine monks. In 1175 Munich was granted city status and built its first fortification. In 1180 Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria and Munich The Wittelsbach dynasty would rule Bavaria until 1918. Duke Louis IV was elected German king in 1314 and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by granting it a salt monopoly, thus assuring it of additional income. In the late 15th century Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts—the Old Town Hall was enlarged, and Munich’s largest gothic church, now a cathedral—the Frauenkirche—was constructed in twenty years, starting in 1468.

frauenkirche

When Bavaria was reunited in 1506 Munich became capital of the whole of Bavaria and during the 16th century was a center of both the German Counter Reformation, and renaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Michaelskirche, which became a center for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589. The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609. In 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden and in 1634 the bubonic plague broke out killing about one third of the population. In 1806, the city became the capital of the new Kingdom of Bavaria and 20 years later Landshut University was moved to Munich. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings. Prince Luitpold's years as regent (1886-1912) were marked by outstanding artistic and cultural activity in Munich.

Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. After World War I, the city was at the centre of political unrest. In November 1918 Ludwig III and his family fled the city, the Communists took power and the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed (Lenin had for a time lived in Munich). The short-lived Soviet Republic was overthrown on 3 May 1919 and Munich subsequently became a hotbed of right-wing politics including Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. In 1923 Hitler and his supporters unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party, which was virtually unknown outside Munich. The city became a Nazi stronghold when the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933. The National Socialist Workers Party created the first concentration camp at Dachau, 10 miles (16 km) northwest of the city. Munich is also known as the site of the culmination of the appeasement policy employed by Britain and France leading up to World War II. It was in Munich that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain acquiesced to the annexation of the Sudetenland region to Germany in the hopes of preventing war with Hitler's Third Reich. The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II being hit by 71 air raids over a period of six years.

Munich was completely rebuilt following the war and in 1957 its population passed the 1 million mark.

B-M-W  H-Q

Munich Olympic Park 1972

 

 

 

DAY 10 AUGSBURG

Augsburg in south central Germany, (42 miles NW of Munich) is Bavaria's third-largest city (pop. 275,000) after Munich and Nürnberg. Founded by Tiberius and Drusus in 15 BC Augsburg because of its excellent military, economic and geographic position and direct access to the major Alpine passes was soon the Roman gateway to the Alps. Augsburh was for 400 years the capital of the Roman Province of Raetia and is one of Germany’s oldest cities.


Its excellent location at the convergence of the Lech and Wertach Rivers and intersection at many important European land routes helped it evolved as a major medieval trade center. Augsburg was sacked by the Huns in the 5th century AD, by Charlemagne in the 8th century, and by Welf of Bavaria in the 11th century, but arose each time to greater prosperity to rank among the Europe's most powerful cities.
Augsburg was decreed an Imperial Free City on March 9, 1276. Augsburg and had its own bishop at this time. With a strategic location at the intersection of trade routes to Italy, it became a major trading centre. Augsburg produced large quantities of woven goods, cloth and textiles. Augsburg became the base for the Fugger banking empire, who donated the Fuggerei part of the city devoted to housing for needy citizens in 1516 and remains in use today. Kings and emperors were frequent guests as Augburg grew to be a creative center of famous painters, sculptors, musicians and architects.

In 1518, Martin Luther was summoned to Augsburg to recant his 95 Theses before a papal emissary and where Luther and Cardinal Cajetan engaged in their famous debate.

The outcome of this meeting was the evolution of the Protestant Reformation, the break up of Christendom, and the religious division of Europe into Roman Catholic and Protestant. It also saw the appearance of many wars of religion. In 1530, the Augsburg Confession was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor at the Diet of Augsburg and the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, after which the rights of religious minorities in imperial cities were to be legally protected. The Peace of Augsburg granted recognition to both Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism in Germany, and each ruler gained the right to decide the religion to be practiced within his state. Subjects not of this faith could move to another state with their property, and disputes between the religions were to be settled in court.

Religious peace in Augsburg was maintained despite increasing tensions until the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). In April 1632, the Swedish army under Gustavus Adolphus (who supported the Protestant cause) captured Augsburg without resistance.
In 1634, the Swedish army was routed and Catholic troops surrounded Augsburg. The Swedish garrison refused to surrender and during the following siege through the winter of 1634/35 thousands died from hunger and disease. The population of the city was reduced from 70,000 to16,000. [This ruinous siege, followed by the discovery and available travel to the America and a new route to India via the Cape, resulted in a rapid decline in Augsburg's prosperity.


TheRathaus (right rear of photo)

Augsburg's peak boom years occurred during the 15th and 16th centuries via the bank and metal businesses of the merchant families Fugger and Welser, who held a local near total monopoly on their respective industries. Augsburg's wealth attracted artists seeking patrons and rapidly became a creative center for famous painters, sculptors and musicians notably birthplace of the Holbein painter family, the composer Leopold Mozart and the playwright Berthold Brecht. Rococo became so prevalent that it became known as “Augsburg style” throughout Germany.

St. Michael, Augsburg

Industrial Revolution Revival
In 1806, when the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved, Augsburg lost its independence to become part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1817 Augsburg became an administrative capital of the Oberdonaukreis, then administrative capital in 1837 for the district Swabia and Neuburg.
During the end of the 18th century, Augsburg's textile industry again rose to prominence followed by the attached machine manufacturing industry.

Military
Augsburg was historically a militarily important city due to its strategic locale. During the German re-armament prior to World War Two, the Wehrmacht enlarged Augsburg's one original Kaserne (barracks) to three. The three Kaserne changed hands confusingly between the American and Germans, finally ending in US hands for the duration of the Cold War.
During World War II, one subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located outside Augsburg, supplying approximately 1300 forced labourers to local military-related industry, most especially Messerschmidt.
In 1945, the U.S. Army occupied the heavily bombed and damaged city. An American military presence in the city started with the 11th Airborne Division, followed by the 24th Infantry Division, US Army Seventh Corps Artillery, and finally the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, which returned the former Kaserne to German hands in 1998.

 

DAY 11 - Return home.

Interested? Email Ben Taggie for info now.