Officially known as the Federal City of Bonn, it lies on the banks of the Rhine and northwest of the Siebengebirge (the Seven Hill range) in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is known for its old and famous university and has a vibrant commercial life. Bonn is the birthplace of composer Beethoven and is notable for its Beethoven Fest that runs annually from mid September to mid October.
Visitors are impressed by Beethoven Haus, where the composer was born in 1770. The house was founded as a museum in 1889 and features a collection of rare artifacts and documents. It has a research center with rare recordings and the Chambers Music Hall runs a program of Beethoven-themed concerts and events. Guided tours are available.
At the Munsterplatz you’ll find the Beethoven Monuments erected in 1845.
The Bonn Cathedral is dedicated to the Saints Cassius and Florentinus. It is one of the finest Romanesque churches on the Rhine and was built between the 11th and 13th centuries. This cathedral is one of Germany’s oldest cathedrals. Among its highlights are its 11th century east crypt, the 12th century cloister and a unique crossing tower.
Officially the Museum Koenig is the Alexander Koenig Zoological Museum. It’s one of the largest natural history museums in the world and opened in 1934. The museum features displays of wildlife and its habitats. One of the highlights is “Our Blue Planet” which showcases ecosystems through a series of amazing dioramas that include the African Savannah, tropical rainforests and Polar Regions. Guided tours are available.
The Bonn Botanic Gardens covers about 16 acres and is owned and operated by the University of Bonn. This garden dates back as far as 1340 at which time it was constructed as part of a castle garden. The gardens were redesigned in the Baroque style in 1720 and the Rococo Poppelsdorf Palace was added in 1746. Today the botanic garden includes over 11,000 species of plants among them endangered local species. Some of the highlights are the many species of woody plants in the large arboretum and plants arranged by geographic region. Guided tours and educational talks are available.
The Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany offers many wonderful exhibits which relate to Germany’s rich cultural history and its role in the fields of science, technology and the environment. All of the exhibits come from places around the globe and are changed often.
Visitors can find a rich collection of antiquities among them rare Frankish and medieval art work and paintings at the Rhineland Museum. This is one of the oldest museums in Germany and dates back to 1820. You can find displays dating from prehistoric times as well as Roman era settlements. Many of the displays are dioramas of life from days past.
Established in 1697 The University of Bonn is home to a variety of new and old museums and collections. Among them the newest and most interesting is the Arithmeum, a museum dedicated to mathematics. It’s based on a collection of 1,200 antique calculating machines and rare books. This museum is noted for its amazing steel and glass structure, designed to represent “the transparency of science”.
The Bonn Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1947 and features many temporary and permanent exhibits. Highlights of the permanent collection include art work from the Rhenish Expressionism School as well as post-war art from all over Germany. There is also a collection of over 5,000 post-war prints including unique video art.
Not far from this museum you’ll find the Old Parliament Buildings on the banks of the Rhine. Today it is home to the World Conference Center Bonn offering many national and international conferences.
Another fine museum that is part of the University of Bonn is The Academic Museum of Antiquities, founded in 1818. The museum is famous round the world for its large collection of plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculptures. These casts were originally used to teach students at art academies across Europe and many of these date back to 1763. Among the other highlights are over 500 statues as well as more than 2,000 original sculptures from some of Europe’s leading artists.
Visitors also enjoy the university’s Egyptian Museum which is home to a collection of 3,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts.
August Macke Haus is dedicated to the famous expressionist who made his home here between 1911 and 1914. The museum opened its doors in 1991 and among its highlights are reconstructed interiors as well as artifacts and documents that were passed down by the artist’s family. There are also temporary exhibits and guided tours are available.
The Bismarck Tower was built in 1901 in memory of the outstanding German Chancellor. It is located in the heart of the city park. The main architect was Hantz Rudolf Schultz and the inhabitants of Bonn donated to make the project happen. The last restoration of the monument happened in 1989 to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of Bonn. The construction is made of stone benches and the tower is 13 meters tall. It is a wall with two round columns at the edges, mounted on a three-tier cabinet. The walls are decorated with a picture of the board of the Imperial Eagle and Otto Profile Bismarck. Hidden inside one of the columns you can take the stairs that will get you to the top of the monument for incredible views.
The Rheinaue Park is a most pleasant and popular green space in Bonn next to the Rhine River. It is the place where many visitors and inhabitants head for in the summertime. People enjoy boating on the river and have picnics and barbecues on the green lawns. Some other highlights include landscaped Japanese gardens, the playground area for children and some beer gardens. Among the seasonal events is a major beer festival.
Built in the 1880s is the impressive neo-Gothic Schloss Drachenburg. It is home to exhibits on the building’s history, the ongoing restoration process and the history of nature protection. There are lovely grounds with terraces, fountains and a tower to be climbed for great views.
Visitors enjoy seeing Nibelungenhalle, a temple-like shrine that was built in honor of composer Richard Wagner in 1913. It is decorated with scenes from his opera cycle “Ring of the Nibelungen”. Tickets to this attraction include access to the Drachenhohle, a cave inhabited by a 13 meter long stone dragon and a small reptile zoo.
La Redoute is a house that was commissioned by Max Franz, the youngest son of Empress Maria Theresia to be used as a place for dances and games by Bonn’s courtly society. This is one of the last structures that was built in the electoral times. A young Beethoven played music here in front of Haydn and it was the place for the first performances of Mozart’s Zauberflote. Today the house hosts various concerts, functions and grand receptions.
The chief beneficiaries of the Rhine Bridge at first were the residents of Beuel however they didn’t want to raise the money needed to finance it. This made the residents of Bonn angry and therefore they built this “Little Bridge Man” right after the bridge opened. The bridge was destroyed in 1945 and the little fellow was moved to the promenade under the bridge. The stone statue’s bare rear faced the Beuel side of the river. The “Little Bridge Man” is always good for a smile and a laugh.
One of the most impressive landmarks on the route from Cologne to Koblenz Germany is the Hochkreuz. Hochkreuz is a district of the city of Bonn. It is named after a stone cross. The cross was set up as a monument for penitence in the 14th century. It was built in the New Gothic style and renovated and enlarged in the 19th century. The original sustained damage from passing traffic and now on this spot you can find a replica. The original piece is located in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum.
Located in the center of the lively Marktplatz is the Market Fountain. The fountain was constructed by the residents of Bonn in the late part of the 18th century in honor of Elector Max Friedrich. Water cascades were added over two egg-shaped basins to enlarge the Trachyt Obelisk highlighted by golden decorations. An inscription in German and Latin honors the elector.