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Quedlinburg Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
September 7th, 2008 – by: Polar15
Quedlinburg's history began over 1000 years ago, but the defining moment in this city's history took place in the year 919 with the coronation of Henry I (Heinrich). At this point in time, Germany was not a unified nation. It existed in pieces ruled by Dukes. In 919, a council of nobles gathered together and decided that in order maintain strength and security, unification under one ruler would be the best option. They elected the then Duke of Saxony, Henrich, and offered him the crown here in Quedlinburg.
In 936 Heinrich's widow, Mathilda, established what is known as a Frauenstift. This place was a religious community for women that provided education and protection for the female children of the noble class. It was not a convent, because the ladies were allowed to leave to marry. This stift became a very important figure in the world and Quedlinburg became famous for the strong women who lived here.
Fast forward to the present. Quedlinburg still maintains the beauty of days past because it has been lucky enough to escape the two major causes of devastation in this part of the world: fire and war. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, because there are over 1300 half-timbered houses that date back to the 14th century. During the Soviet East German days (Deutsche Demokratische Repulik), Quedlinburg fell behind the Iron Curtain. There were plans in the 1980's that would have destroyed the beautiful facades of the houses and made them more Communist, but the lack of funding within the government and the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall saved Quedlinburg from that fate.
In upcoming episodes, I'll talk about how Quedlinburg got its name, the theft of the Quedlinburgshatz (shatz = treasure), and why Quedlinburg was occupied by Americans after the war but still ended up as part of Soviet DDR.
Now, for my next trick.....a bunny!
Ok, enough of the history lesson. This past week has been great. I'm starting to get to the point where I'm understanding more and more German and my ability to speak it is improving rapidly. There is a great amount of knowledge that I am constantly sorting through trying to make sense of it all and I have huge gaps in what I'm able to say because I only have the vocabulary for half of what I'm thinking. I'm also frustrated because I only know present and present progressive forms of verbs, so I can never really communicate how something happened in the past without getting quizzical looks.
Yesterday, several of the students, my Host-father, and the host-father of another student grabbed our backpacks and jackets and headed out for a hike to the top of the tallest peak in the Harz Mountains, Der Brocken.
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