PREHISTORIC MIDSUMMER AT WOODHENGE

Diving in an offbeat Stonehenge feeling at Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

The western gate (Beltane / Lugnasad)

On the occasion of solcistice 2020 we visited the Woodhenge Pömmelte (Ringheiligtum von Pömmelte), a circular sanctuary in Saxony-Anhalt; in the evening of years’ longest day time had come to discover this ancient and magical spot. During this period of the year people usually enjoy the very long days, so this archeological site offered special guided tours on June 20 at 8:30 p.m, followed by the sunset at 9:28 p.m.

View through the outer palisades at dusk

Although weather was not ideal with a more grey sky and even a little bit of rain, some nice light effects emerged at the distant horizon when the sun finally disappeared, impressive moments that we longingly look for.

View on the sanctuary from the visitor’s platform

Woodhenge Pömmelte is a reconstructed circular earthwork of Neolithic times and the early Bronze Age. South of Magdeburg, not far from the river Elbe, archaeologists discovered in 1991 the remains of a huge cult site. A complete excavation took place between 2005 and 2008. Afterwards, the circular ditch system was completely reconstructed at the original site. The complex structure comprises seven rings of wooden palisade rings, pits, ramparts and embankments with a total diameter of 115 m. 

A burial place – the engraving shows the position of the deceased

Inside the sanctuary at dusk

In terms of size, structure and function, the ring sanctuary resembled the English Stonehenge. However, the construction in Pömmelte did not consist of large stones, but of 1,800 wooden posts; both sites were erected by the socalled Bell Beaker culture at the end of the Stone Age. So we may assume that some kind of European community, travelling and exchange has already existed more than 4,000 years ago.

Inside the sanctuary – people waiting for sunset

View on the inner circles from the western gate

Many generations of prehistoric inhabitants utilized this place to cultivate their customs and practices, and to pass them down to their descendants in the time period 2,335 – 2,050 BC. The location was used as a central sanctuary with sacrificial pits and ritual dumpings; drinking vessels, animal bones, millstones, stone axes, pottery, grindstones, arrow heads and parts of human bodies were part of ceremonious sacrifices and burials those days and found here in diverse deposits.

More varied deposits in the ramparts
between the inner and outer palisades
 

While the world was changing radically, the Stone Age ended and the Bronze Age began, there was persistence here for quite a long time, a place of worship and assembly, a burial site, a victim’s place and an astronomical calendar in one.

The eastern gate (Imbloc / Samhain)

Like in Stonehenge the plant design was also guided by astronomical issues and aspectsThe two main gates and entrances to the complex (in the East and West) are based on the sunrise and sunset points of the days between the solstices and the equinoxes. So the site served as a huge calendar marking seasons, harvest time and New Year as well.

We were a bit disappointed because we had expected that the sunset would take place directly in the middle of the western gate as a special midsummer event when looking directly from the East. However, we surprisingly learnt that this effect appears instead on April 30 but the guide did not go in the details or just talked to quick. 

At home I could satisfy my curiosity regarding April 30 well known here as Walpurgis night when witches gather at particular places. Though, in the old Celtic belief (Beltane) in Ireland, Wales or Scotland it meant also the beginning of summer, an important date for successful agriculture.

So when April 30 was regarded in former times as the beginning of summer, I now understand better why solcistice is also named midsummer here in the Northern hemisphere.

All in all a very nice trip, and thanks for following this short time journey and midsummer excursion.

 

linked to:

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #102: A Quiet Moment

The Cosmic Photo Challenge.

Jo’s Monday walk : a fishy tale!

ARTBASE FESTIVAL 2019 – MURALS IN RURAL RUINS

Artbase is a festival of urban art moving in a vivid kaleidoscope between painting and party on deserted grounds. The first issue took place in 2011 at the former pulmonary hospital Grabowsee. During the last weekend of August 2019 it was realized again in the former and now abandoned lunatic asylum Domjüch close to Neustrelitz (80 kms north of Berlin). Nearly 150 international urban artists transformed these ruins into a wild, romantic and very alive place.

 

A smooth wind blows through the long abandoned houses‘ empty corridors, while a warm and friendly summer sun gleams through the ailing cracks. Inside the ruins, a conglomeration of fading colors and amazing street art works decorate the walls.

A place where nature has slowly recaptured the old walls. Deserted, long hallways, abandoned rooms with only faint memories.

 

But suddenly a soft hissing of a spray can sounds. Someone presses a button. Suddenly sounds are coming through the empty rooms. Loud voices echo through the old walls and the place awakens.

After WW II the buildings were used for military purposes by the Soviet Red Army which left the site in 1993, the start of a long and deep slumber which was interrupted abruptly now by all kinds of colors, visions and phantastic dreams painted on the crumbling walls of this remote place.

And last but not least on the premises you will find also the namegiver of the site, a beautiful forest lake called Domjüchsee.

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

 

ALPINE FLORA AND FAUNA IN MONTAFON VALLEY, AUSTRIA, BY BEATRICE

Now this will be the last feature regarding our Summer holidays in Austria, and after Ulli (who operates this blog) already has shown for instance some tracks left by Ernest Hemingway here in Montafon as well, it is now really time for some flowers and animals to be found in the beautiful Austrian Alps, colourful impressions picked up by me.

Old world swallowtail (Papilio machaon)

 

Amazing temporary geometry

Ferns in a forest

Bleached sculpture on the trail to Falla

Swiss horses on vacation at Gargellenalpe

Explosion of colours in TschaggunsHill moor with cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium)

Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)

High plateau and trail leading from Wiegensee to Verbellaalpe

Fading floral aesthetics

Moss covering a tree and gravestones

Mountain meadow

Alpine rose (Rhododendron ferrugineum)

Turk’s cap lily (Lilium martagon)

Alpine gentian (Gentiana alpina)

A layer of old snow near Kreuzjoch

Thanks for joining this small excursion through mountains and flora!

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linked to:

Jo’s Monday walk : Vila Franca do Campo

FOTD – August 22, 2019 – Photographer and Dahlias

VAST DIVERSITY OF WROCLAW IN DATELESS SILESIA, POLAND

Wroclaw is also called the ‘Venice of Poland’ due to its settlement on several islands in the river Oder, so let’s have a closer look.

Confrontation with the Centennial Hall from 1913

The old city of Wroclaw in Silesia can be followed back in a moving history for more than 1,000 years. Diverse actors played a role during all this time so that the town can profit from diverse influencing cultures and people till today.

Breslau during the Seven Years’ War, 1760, Johann-Gottfried Rüder

Some catastrophies did happen ever again like town fires in medieval times whereas the town has been only wiped out two times by crucial war actions. After the invasion of the Mongolians in 1241 the city was completely plundered and destroyed. But only shortly thereafter the city was again quickly reconstructed by German settlers what was finalized in 1261. Till 1945 the Germans (more precisely the Silesians) remained the formative power in town which’s name was Breslau for more than 700 years.

Postcard featuring nice spots of old Breslau, early 20th century

Breslau’s New Market at the end of WW II in Summer 1945

At the end of World War II the Nazis declared the whole municipal area as a military fortress to be defended by all means. The subsequent house-to-house combat between the German Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army ravaged and destroyed large areas of Breslau. Afterwards the city became a double symbol of forced displacements and migration because according an agreement of the Allies first all remaining German citizens had to leave Breslau and Silesia to render place for expatriated Polish people living in Polish areas in the East which were claimed and then finally occupied by the former Sovietunion.

Outlook on the new Capitol Theatre

Impression of the Dome Island

Early morning on Tusk Bridge

The new Polish citizens and residents in town have invested much time and energy in the reconstruction of the destroyed town after the atrocities of the wartimes such creating a new town now named Wroclaw. Today you can admire again a lot of historical buildings from diverse epochs and multiple styles in the old town being really worth a visit.

 

Gateway in the old town

Dreamy bridge inside the  amazing Botanical Garden


White Stork Synagogue from 19th century

Sculpture and green near the dome

We have just spent 48 hours here in Wroclaw by early July of 2019 and have found so much cultural richness although having seen just a little bit of the Silesian capital, so we really need to return someday again.

Linked to restlessjo:

Jo’s Monday walk : Cosmopolitan Horta

 

WATER FOR THE CITY

Architect Richard Schultze and the English engineer Henry Gill built the Friedrichshagener waterworks in 1893. It is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and is an exciting testimony to Berlin’s industrial culture. Visitors to the museum will be amazed by its unusual buildings.

Six engine houses of red brick and their turrets are more reminiscent of a monastery than urban facilities. The museum itself is located in a disused part of the system, a former powerhouse amongst several sand filters, outbuildings and tenements.

Its centrepiece is the original machine shop with an accumulation of huge wheels, tubes, boilers and pressure gauges as to be seen on the above photos.

In the year 2019 the actual water supply situation is quite challenging after the heavy and extreme drought in Europe of 2018 which has continued over the winter till now. The ground water levels tend to be very low not only in Eastern-Germany but also in Western-Poland – the same applies for the usually big river Oder at the border of both countries  The drought map of Germany hereunder with the many red and/or dark red areas shows very clearly the critical situation and dry path lying actually infront of us.

Drought monitor for Germany from end of June 2019 issued by Helmholtz Institute

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Simply Sáo Jorge

 

 

 

 

 

URBAN ART HALL, BERLIN

The ART HALL is a temporary and independent project at Berlin-Spandau, with the aim to support urban art in its multiple diversity.  The location is situated in a former logistical center and hall of the German Post directly at railway station Berlin-Spandau. The hall itself will be demolished in 2019, so the urban art (inside and outside the hall) can only be admired and seen here for a rather short time left, some examples to be found hereunder.

Additional information in German here:

https://www.urbanarthall.de/about

Location:  “Alte Post/Packhalle”, Klosterstr. 36-38, Berlin-Spandau, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

THE CROOKED WOOD IN POMERANIA / POLAND

If only trees could talk to us. What strange stories would then submerge subsequently from densely wooded grounds like this weird forested site in the very North-West of Poland?

This most curious natural monument is situated Southern from the city centre of Gryfino at Nowe Czarnowo in Western Pomerania near the border to Germany. The fairytale forest consists of at least 80 pine trees showing a mysterious deformity and shape (other sources name 400 pine trees, but I have not counted them while being there). All of the trees have the same northward 90-degree bend at the base of their limb but despite bent beginnings, all of the trees have grown to be tall and seemingly unhampered by this deformation. There are traces of rowed plantings, however, the majority of trees are scattered about the normal pines. Some of them are in small groupings.

The most popular theory about how the trees became crooked is that a group of German farmers planted these trees in the 1930s, intentionally damaging the base in order to create some sort of product, perhaps uniquely shaped furniture.  The world may never know if it’s true because the German farmers were unable to finish their work due to their forced migration after World War II.

Others assume that a snowstorm could have knocked the trees like this, freezing them into a bent position until the snow and ice melted in spring.  There are plenty of trees in the area, all of which grow upright from the base without the funky curve distinct of the crooked trees. So the Crooked Wood remains an odd occurrence and unsolved mystery of exceptional green.

Jo’s Monday walk : Back lane beauty

 

ENCHANTED FOREST

In our neighbourhood at home one of our favourite trails for hiking leads through Briese Valley / Briesetal near the Northern gates of Berlin. The Briese is a small, not very long river flowing mostly in a glacial groover. Here you may find a wild alder swamp forest, beaver dams and marshland in quite original condition. During our recent visit nature has rested still in winter mode but at least some green to be admired on the watersurface.The nicest part of this trail starts at the village of Briese in the direction of Zühlsdorf over a distance of around 6 km. There it is possible to make a rest at a nice old forester’s lodge in the woods where you get small snacks (such as homemade deer sausage) and drinks during the weekend all year round and then go back on the other riverside with different views, a nice roundtrip of approx. 12 km.

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Natural beauty at Fonte Filipe

 

TIME FOR A SIESTA

The vast poetry of empty streets and colorful houses leaves a lot of space for imagination and dreaming following irrevocably very old ambitions. At noon the sun now moves slowly around the very next corner where the shadows shrink to minimalistic images of black, white, blue and red. All is slowing down irresistible, and time stands still for a while.

Jo’s Monday walk : Rock cistus and water

 

 

 

PRAVCICKA BRANA – GATE TO CZECH SWITZERLAND

Pravčická Brána is the largest natural stone bridge in Europe and a natural Czech monument, truly one of the most striking natural sites in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and symbol of the whole region. It is located approximately 3 km North-West of Hrensko in the national park Czech Switzerland not far away from the border to Germany. Wandering paths are leading there both from Czech and German side where Saxonian Switzerland stretches.

Barberine Rock in Saxonian Switzerland, Germany
Postcard from 1906 showing the very first ascent

So this gate and bridge is connecting both countries in a beautiful and stunning landscape and may be visited during opening times for an entry fee. In 1826 an inn was constructed by the gate, and in 1881 Prince Edmund of Clary-Aldringen built there the romantical hotel Sokolí hnízdo (English: Falcon’s Nest) with 50 beds which you can see in the photo hereunder. 

Jo’s Monday walk : A tale of three castles- 2. Alnwick