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The Rheinische Landesmuseum founded in 1820 is very centrally situated. Visitors to the museum can see exhibits and documents from various eras (from the Stone Age to the present day), as well as experience a bit of Rhenish history. A 50,000 year old skull of a Neanderthal, various Roman soldiers' grave stones as well as the huge rock altar of the Hercules Saxanus from the Brohltal are only a few examples of the extensive collection. The art collection includes work by the artists Barthel Bruyn Senior, Hann Trier, Leo Breuer and A.van Dyck. In addition, there is a section which exclusively deals with contemporary Rhenish art. The museum also houses a public library that boasts an extensive collection of books on archaeology and art history, and is open from Monday to Friday, 8a to 6p. Other features include a restaurant and a gift shop. Guided group tours of the museum can be arranged for schools and private groups.
From the Munsterplatz in the middle of the city, there is a great view of the basilica. The church still shapes the city's skyline and is one of Bonn's most important buildings. In 3 AD, a historic memorial to the dead (cella memoria) was located here, where the martyrs and city leaders Florentinus and Cassius are said to be buried. A century later, a church was erected, facing North East. In around 1040, this Carolingian church was torn down and the building of a basilica was started, with a nave and two aisles in the shape of a cross. Gerhard von Are (1124-1169) allowed the church to be extended with a choir and east apse. The massive tower was finally built in around 1200. Wars and fires left their marks on the basilica, which was considerably damaged during the Second World War. Restoration work and rebuilding was first finished in 1982 and today the facade still shows the transitional style between the Romantic and Gothic. Particularly worth a look is the Rococo chancel inside the minster, the organ built by Klais in 1961, the window by Paul Weigmann in the nave, the cloister and much more.
The Marktplatz is more or less the heart of the city. Visually, it is ruled by the magnificent Rathaus which was built under the Elector Clemens August. The foundation stone was laid in 1737, and the building was constructed by court builder Michel Leveilly, who also built the Koblenz Gate. In 1944, the Town Hall was almost completely destroyed by an air raid, but was rebuilt with only a few minor changes in 1949-50. The wonderful double external flight of stairs have been the scene for many historical events. The professor and revolutionary Gottfried Kinkel gave a captivating talk and waved the national flag to Bonn citizens here on March 20, 1848. The Altes Rathaus currently serves as the official residence for the Mayor of Bonn, yet remains a much coveted venue for weddings and is one of the most photographed structures in the city.
Ludwig von Beethoven was born here in 1770; not in the impressive part facing the street, but in the much simpler part at the back. The house was acquired by 12 wealthy residents in 1889 and converted into a museum, which houses priceless treasures including the original, hand-written manuscripts for the the Moonlight Sonata, Pastoral Symphony and Coriolan Overture. Visitors can also admire the great composer's instruments, including a viola, grand piano, console from Remigiuskirche's organ and quartet instruments.
The Arithmeum pays tribute to the rise and development of mechanical machinery that existed before the technological age. This mathematics museum in the heart of Bonn exhibits a unique collection of calculators and mathematical machinery. Bernhard Korte, the founder of Arithmeum included pieces of his own private collection to those at the museum bringing in a total of 1200 pieces that were used extensively before the age of computers. The calculators here include some of the biggest and most complex thus drawing a vast number of students and enthusiasts of mathematics to the museum.
Botanische Garten der Universität Bonn is an oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of the city. The original gardens were re-landscaped in 1819 and still bear the typical English elements that were the flavor of the day in the early 19th Century. Visitors can admire a host of exotic plants ranging from Amazonian water lilies to orchids from the tropical rain forests. The giant North American trees are particularly striking.
The Bonn Art Society, which manages Bonner Kunstverein, was founded in 1963. The aim of the founders and patrons of the society was to create a forum for contemporary art and artists. Local people's interest in contemporary art is aroused not only by the exhibitions, but also by discussions, video screenings, seminars and lectures. A lending library consisting of art books is attached to the exhibition room. The art can also be hired for a fee, per picture for two months.
Elector Joseph Clemens began building the Poppelsdorf Palace in 1715. The most conspicuous building on the west end of the Poppelsdorf Allee, it was finished by Clemens' successor Clemens August in the year 1753. Poppelsdorf Palace, which stands on a square plot, reminds one of French and Italian architecture with its four wings and round arched courtyard. Various builders, some of them famous, like Robert de Cotte and Balthasar Neumann, have left their mark here. In 1818 the castle was used to house the natural sciences collection of the university, which is still located there today. Instead of a park, the Botanical Gardens surround the palace, which are particularly worth seeing.
This neo-classical building, which contains one of Germany's most important Zoological collections, was built at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Alexander Koenig Research Museum, with its preserved animals and exhibits, offers an exciting afternoon for families. Over 3000 animals are on display in their natural surroundings. From local birds to exotic mammals and huge skeletons of extinct ostriches, it's all here. The bird collection has 70,000 exhibits and is particularly extensive. The egg collection is just as important and unique. The corridor to the vivarium is also impressive, as a few living reptiles are on display.
The Haus der Geschichte (History House) of the Federal Republic of Germany is a must for all. Post 1945 German history is portrayed here in an interesting manner -with text captions, historical objects and photos illustrating historical events. The information here is not restricted to politics, the visitor also learns interesting facts about the history of society, art, culture as well as the economic situations. Technical aids such as screens, listening posts and info-drawers make the visit a relaxing journey through Germany's recent history. You can sit on one of the original seats from the plenary chamber to observe parliamentary debates from the fifties and sixties.
The famous Kreuzbergkirche is located on Stationsweg in Poppelsdorf. A place of pilgrimage stood on the site before the Elector Ferdinand allowed the Baroque church to be built there in 1627. The entry-way was first added under Elector Clemens August. The well known builder Balthasar Neumann designed the splendid stone steps which lead to the altar. The church was renovated for around two million Marks in the middle of the nineties, and the partly lost original decoration from 1750 was restored.
The Post Tower dominates the Bonn skyline. Visible for kilometres around, it is the tallest building in the city. This modern marvel is an impressive construction, towering at 162 metres, affording stunning views of the city and the river Rhine. The gleaming glass and metal façade, designed by renowned architect Helmut Jahn is especially captivating during sunset when the warm glow is brightly reflected, in a mesmerizing tribute to modern architecture. Just a short walk from the popular public park, Rheinaue; it is a must-see while visiting the city.