History & Geography: European People & Places – Germany

The Wittelsbach residence in the city centre is a blend of Renaissance, baroque, rococo and classicist styles. It was once Munich's main palace and the home of Bavarian dukes, electors and kings. Originally built in 1385 as a moated castle, it was transformed into a magnificent royal residence reflecting the House of Wittelsbach's political ambitions and fondness for the arts.

The Wittelsbach residence in the city centre is a blend of Renaissance, baroque, rococo and classicist styles. It was once Munich’s main palace and the home of Bavarian dukes, electors and kings. Originally built in 1385 as a moated castle, it was transformed into a magnificent royal residence reflecting the House of Wittelsbach’s political ambitions and fondness for the arts.

For most of its history, Germany has been divided. The Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century pitted German kingdoms such as Bavaria and Prussia against each other.  Between 1945 and 1990, East Germany and West Germany were opponents in the Cold War.

Prior to its unification in 1871, Germany consisted of numerous independent states although their inhabitants were recognized as belonging to a single ethnic group. Numbering more than 300 at one point including kingdoms, principalities, duchies and free cities such as Frankfurt and Hamburg, these states were organized into loose confederations.

As the ancient Germans did not keep historical records and the Romans considered Germany as lying outside the borders of the civilized world, the pre-medieval history of the German people is less well known than that of the French, for example. The earliest description of the part of Europe that would come to be known as Germany was written during the 4th century B.C. by the Greek mariner Pytheas.

Archeological evidence places Germanic people in the same area as early as 750 B.C. Where they lived prior to entering Germany is unknown. One theory is that the Germanic tribes along with all Indo-Europeans originated in Anatolia in Turkey. An earlier theory held that Indo-Europeans originated in what is now India. This theory gave rise to the term Indo-European.

For all intents and purposes, the German people originated in Germany. Their history prior to 750 B.C. may be said to be that of Indo-Europeans in general.

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Rostock: brick-Gothic architecture with a maritime flair. The harbour still shapes the character of the city. It is also the venue for major events, such as the Hanse Sail in August, which attracts hundreds of sailing ships and a million visitors each year.

Rostock: brick-Gothic architecture with a maritime flair. The harbour still shapes the character of the city. It is also the venue for major events, such as the Hanse Sail in August, which attracts hundreds of sailing ships and a million visitors each year.

Munich is Germany's beer capital – and the Oktoberfest is a byword for beer all over the world. When the first Oktoberfest was held back in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding, nobody could have dreamt it would go on to become such a famous event.

Munich is Germany’s beer capital – and the Oktoberfest is a byword for beer all over the world. When the first Oktoberfest was held back in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding, nobody could have dreamt it would go on to become such a famous event.

Fasanerie Palace, one of the finest baroque residences in Hessen is in a slightly elevated position around seven kilometres from Fulda and surrounded by magnificent forests. This modest summer residence built for Prince Abbot von Dalberg at the beginning of the 18th century still forms the heart of the palace between the two towers

Fasanerie Palace, one of the finest baroque residences in Hessen is in a slightly elevated position around seven kilometres from Fulda and surrounded by magnificent forests. This modest summer residence built for Prince Abbot von Dalberg at the beginning of the 18th century still forms the heart of the palace between the two towers

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