Debrecen (Alternative spellings used in English include Debreczen and Debrcczinis the second largest city in Hungary after Budapest. Debrecen is the regional centre of the Northern Great Plain region and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar county. The city was first mentioned by the name "Debrezun" in 1235. 

Before Hungarians founded Hungary a number of different tribes lived in the area. The town came into existence after some of the small villages of the area (Boldogasszonyfalva, Szentlászlófalva and Debreczun) merged. It experienced rapid development after the middle of the 13th century. In 1361 Louis I of Hungary granted the citizens of Debrecen the right to choose the town's judge and council. This provided some opportunities for self-government for the town. By the early 16th century Debrecen was an important market town. King Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, as part of a treaty with Serbian ruler Stefan Lazarević, gave him the opportunity to rule Debrecen in September 1411. A year after Lazarević's death in 1426, his role was taken over by his successor, Đurađ Branković. Between 1450 and 1507, it was a domain of the Hunyadi family, a Hungarian noble family from the Middle Ages.

Csonka Templom 
During World War II, Debrecen was almost completely destroyed, 70% of the buildings suffered damage, 50% of them were completely destroyed. A major battle involving combined arms, including several hundred tanks (Battle of Debrecen), occurred near the city in October 1944. After 1944 the reconstruction began and Debrecen became the capital of Hungary for a short time.  The citizens began to rebuild their city, trying to restore its pre-war status, but the new, Communist government of Hungary had other plans. The institutions and estates of the city were taken into public ownership, private property was taken away. This forced change of the old system brought new losses to Debrecen; half of its area was annexed to nearby towns, and the city also lost its rights over Hortobágy. In 1952 two new villages – Ebes and Nagyhegyes – were formed from former parts of Debrecen, while in 1981 the nearby village Józsa was annexed to the city. The newly built blocks of flats provided housing for those who lost their homes during the war. In the following decades Debrecen was the third largest city of Hungary (behind Budapest and Miskolc), and became the second largest in the 1990s when the population of Miskolc decreased. 

Csokonai Theatre 
Modern day Debrecen is one of the most vivid and undiscovered cities in Hungary: this city is a unique and outstanding whirlpool of a dynamic cultural and intellectual heritage and of an effective and successful economic life. The centuries’ old traditions and the most recent technical and scientific innovations enhancing each other make Debrecen a nationally and internationally renowned city. From a number of excellent art exhibitions, folk programs to many sports and leisure events. The outstanding collections of the local museums, the historical monuments of the city or the various and imposing programs of local folk traditions enchant all visitors who wish to explore the marvels of Debrecen: choir festivals, folk festivals, carnivals, breath-taking exhibitions, fairs offer their programs and goods for the visitors. At the same time Debrecen, which is a university centre, is also a place for conferences and scientific meetings, and this serves the active and organic cooperation of the city’s economic, scientific, educational and cultural life.

                                                        Debrecen’s Top 5:
  1. The Great Reformed Church. The Protestant Great Church or Great Reformed Church  is probably the best known building in the city of Debrecen. It stands in the city centre, between Kossuth square and Calvin square. It is the symbol of the Protestant Church in Hungary, and it is because of this church that Debrecen is sometimes referred to as "the Calvinist Rome". With a ground space of 1500 m² it is the largest Protestant church in Hungary. It also has the largest bell of all Hungarian Protestant churches. The Great Church was built between 1805 and 1824 in neoclassical style.
  2. Csonka Templom (Small White Church). Built in 1600, with some additions in 1727 (a brass globe). The Hungarian name Csonka means truncated since the bastion like top of the tower, was initially meant to be a dome that kept of falling of due to winds.
  3. Saint Anne’s Catholic Cathedral.  was built between 1721 and 1746. In the niches next to the doors on the left we can see the statue of Saint Stephen, while on the right his son Prince Saint Imre. The main altar-piece represents the patron saint of the church Saint Anne teaching Maria, while the oldest altarpiece represents the founder of the Piarist order, Saint Joseph Calasanzi. The carvings and statues of the altars are from the 18th century. The wall paintings on the ceiling and underneath the windows show frescos and stucco ornaments representing saints of the Árpád dynasty.
  4. Csokonai Theatre.   An outstanding piece of Romantic architecture, built in 1865. The building adorned with statues recalls the great figures of universal and Hungarian theatrical life, and is one of the centres of the cultural life of the city to this day. Its façade is decorated by the statues of Melpomene and Terpsichore, the muses of tragedy and dance, alongside statues of six famous Hungarian poets who were connected to the theatre. Above the proscenium arch is a painting by Debrecen artist Károly Telepy (1828-1906) commemorating the prominent actors of the early days of Hungarian theatre who also performed in Debrecen.  By the early 20th century, following the addition of new boxes, it seated 600 people. The theatre has housed an opera company since 1952.
  5. Déri Museum.  One of the richest cultural historical collections in Hungary can be found in the neo-baroque building of the Déri Museum. The greatest attraction of the fine art collection is Mihály Munkácsy's Christ Trilogy. The three grandiose paintings are called Christ before Pilate, Calvary and Ecce Homo. In front of the building of the Déri Museum the four world-famous statues of Ferenc Medgyessy can be seen, which were granted the Grand Prize of the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937. Permanent exhibitions include The history of Debrecen from the 13th century until the Reform Era, The art of Mihály Munkácsy, the Déri-collections, Birds of Our Region and the World of Minerals.
    Déri Museum 



Dijon is a city in eastern France, and is the capital of the Côte-d'Or département and is the historical capital of the region of Burgundy. Population (2008): 151,576 within the city limits; 250,516 (2007) for the greater Dijon area. Dijon began as a Roman settlement called Divio, located on the road from Lyon to Paris. Saint Benignus, the city's patron saint, is said to have introduced Christianity to the area before being martyred.
This province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th until the late 15th centuries and Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power and one of the great European centres of art, learning and science. The Duchy of Burgundy was a key in the transformation of medieval times toward early modern Europe.

Dijon has one of the best preserved medieval centers in France. It is easy to walk and see the sites, with lots of pedestrianised streets. You can sample some of France's finest cuisine and drink great Burgundy wines at dinner or at one of the many wine bars in town. Dijon offers many cultural activities, including a wealth of museums and annual festivals to keep the tourist busy, including the L'Été Musical (Musical Summer), a classical music festival in June.Dijon boasts a large number of churches, notably Notre Dame de Dijon, St. Philibert, St. Michel and Dijon Cathedral. The city has retained varied architectural styles from many of the main periods of the past millennium, including Capetian, Gothic and Renaissance. Many still-inhabited town houses in the city's central district date from the 18th century and earlier.

Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons (Burgundian polychrome roofs) made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green, yellow and black and arranged in eye-catching geometric patterns. Dijon was largely spared the destruction of wars such as the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and the Second World War, despite the city being occupied. Therefore, many of the old buildings such as the half-timbered houses dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries (found mainly in the city's core district) remain intact.

Dijon is home to many museums, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon in part of the Ducal Palace (see below). It contains, among other things, ducal kitchens dating back to the mid-15th century, and a substantial collection of European painting from Roman times through contemporary art.

Dijon is famous for its mustard: the term Dijon mustard (moutarde de Dijon) designates a method of making a particularly strong mustard relish. This is not necessarily produced near Dijon, as the term is regarded as genericized under European Union law, so that it cannot be registered for protected designation of origin status. Most Dijon mustard (brands such as Amora or Maille) is produced industrially and over 90% of mustard seed used in local production is imported, mainly from Canada. In 2008, Unilever closed its Amora mustard factory in Dijon. Dijon mustard shops also feature exotic or unusually-flavored mustard (fruit-flavoured, for example), often sold in decorative hand-painted faience (china) pots.

As the capital of the Burgundy region, Dijon reigns over some of the best wine country in the world. Many superb vineyards producing vins d'appellation contrôlée, such as Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin, are within 20 minutes of the city center. The town's university boasts a renowned oenology institute. The road from Santenay to Dijon, known as the route des Grands Crus, passes through an idyllic countryside of vineyards, rivers, villages, forests, and 12th century churches.

The city is also well known for its crème de cassis, or blackcurrant liqueur, used in the drink known as "Kir", a mixture of white wine, especially Bourgogne aligoté, with blackcurrant liqueur, named after former mayor of Dijon canon Félix Kir.

                                                        Dijon’s Top 5:
  1. Cathedral of Saint-Benigne.   Dedicated to Saint Benignus of Dijon, is a Roman Catholic cathedral, and national monument of France. Originating as the church of the Abbey of St. Benignus, it became the seat of the Bishopric of Dijon during the French Revolution, and has been the seat of the succeeding Archbishopric of Dijon since the elevation of the former diocese in 2002. The present Gothic cathedral was built between 1280 and 1325, and was dedicated on 9 April 1393. The first church here was a basilica built over the falsely reported sarcophagus of Saint Benignus, which was placed in a crypt constructed for it by Saint Gregory of Langres in 511; the basilica over the crypt was completed in 535. This building became the centre of a monastic community. In 871 Isaac, Bishop of Langres, re-founded it as a Benedictine abbey, and restored the basilica at the same time. The crypt is believed to be one of the oldest Christian sanctuaries still visitable in France.
  2. Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne.  The Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy  is a remarkably well-preserved architectural assemblage The oldest part is the 14th and 15th century Gothic ducal palace and seat of the Dukes of Burgundy, made up of a logis still visible on place de la Liberation, the ducal kitchens on cour de Bar, the tour de Philippe le Bon, a "guette" overlooking the whole city, and tour de Bar. Most of what can be seen today, however, was built in the 17th and especially the 18th centuries, in a classical style, when the palace was a royal residence building and housed the estates of Burgundy. Finally, the 19th façade of the musée on place de la Sainte-Chapelle was added on the site of the palace's Sainte-Chapelle, demolished in 1802. The Palace houses the city's town hall and the musée des Beaux-Arts.
  3. Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne. Housed in a 17th-century Cistercian convent, this museum explores village and town life in Burgundy in centuries past with evocative exhibits illustrating dress and traditional crafts.  The Museum, inaugurated in 1982, is on three floors:- Ground floor: rural and Burgundian ethnographical heritage at the end of the 19C. - First floor: daily life in Dijon from the end of the 18C to the Second World War (reconstruction of 10 trades). - Second floor: a gallery devoted to characteristics of Burgundian life plus a reading room and an audiovisual room. 
  4. Place François Rude (also known as Place du Bareuzai) is a central square with beautiful traditional houses, a fountain with a sculpture, with an old carousel, and a lot of cafés and bars. Popular among locals on summer days.
  5. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is an art museum, located in the Palais Ducal and has a permanent exhibition of medieval art. On the upper floor, there are lots of paintings by local artists and Flemish painters. The museum sometimes hosts temporary exhibitions with works from local artists. The most famous part of the museum is the Guard Room with tombs, though currently closed until 2013 for renovation. On last floor there is more recent art like Picasso, Monet or Courbet.

    Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne 


Donetsk or Donets’k is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius River. Administratively, it is a centre of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the larger economic and cultural Donets Basin (Donbas) region. Donetsk is a major economic, industrial and scientific centre of Ukraine with a high concentration of companies and a skilled workforce.

Donetsk was founded in 1869 when the Welsh businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines in the southern part of the Russian Empire at Aleksandrovka. The town initially was given the name Hughesovka (Yuzovka). By the beginning of the 20th century, Yuzovka had approximately 50,000 inhabitants, and had attained the status of a city in 1917. The main district of "Hughezovka" named English Colony. The British origin of the city reflected in its layout and architecture.

In 1924, under the Soviet rule, the city's name was changed to Stalin. In that year, the city's population totaled 63,708, and in the next year — 80,085. In 1929-31 the city's name was changed to Stalino. The city did not have a drinking water system until 1931, when a 55.3 km system was laid underground. In July 1933, the city became the administrative center of the Donetsk Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1933, the first 12 km sewer system was installed, and next year the first exploitation of gas was conducted within the city. In addition, some sources state that the city was briefly called Trotsk—after Leon Trotsky—for a few months in 1923.

In the beginning of World War II, the population of Stalino consisted of 507,000, and after the war - only 175,000. The Nazi invasion during World War II almost completely destroyed the city, which was mostly rebuilt on a large scale at the war's end. It was occupied by Nazi Germany between 16 October 1941 and 5 September 1943.

The territory of Donetsk at the time of the Nazi German occupation consisted mainly of a Jewish ghetto, in which 3,000 Jews died, and a concentration camp in which 92,000 people were killed. During the war, a collective responsibility system was enforced. For every killed German soldier, 100 inhabitants were killed, and one for every killed policeman.

In 1945 many forced labourers, young men and women aged 17 to 35, were interned into reparation servitude from the Danube Schwabian communities Schwowe of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania (the Batschka and Banat) and worked under extreme hardship to rebuild Stalino and to labour in its mines. Many died from disease and malnutrition.

During Nikita Khrushchev's second wave of destalinization in November 1961 the city was renamed Donetsk, after the Seversky Donets River, a tributary of the Don in order to distance it from the former leader Joseph Stalin.

In 1965, the Donetsk Academy of Sciences was established as part of the Academy of Science of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1970, Donetsk was recognised by UNESCO as the cleanest industrial town of the world. Donesk was granted the Order of Lenin in 1979.

After experiencing a tough time in the 1990s, when it was the centre of gang wars for control over industrial enterprises, Donetsk has modernised quickly in recent years, largely under the influence of big companies.

                                                        Donetsk’s Top 5:
  1. Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus  Originally built in the late 1800s it was destroyed by the Soviets during the 1930s, and rebuilt from scratch, with construction only finishing a few years ago.
  2. Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after A. Solovyanenko was established in 1932 in Lugansk on the basis of fit-up theatre of Right-bank Ukraine. Since 15 March 1932 the theatre was transferred to Donetsk theatre group. The first season opened on September 1, 1932 with opera Prince Igor composed by Alexander Borodin. On April 12, 1941, the Theatre opened the season in the new theater building by premiere of Mikhail Glinka's Ivan Susanin. On August 7, same year, the premiere of the first ballet performance Laurencia by Alexander Crain was held.
  3. Forged Figures Park was opened in 2001 and is one-in-a-kind object. International Smithcraft Festival takes place in the park every year. The most impressive masterworks remain in the city as a gift expanding the number of park’s “residents”
  4. Donbass Palace 5-star hotel in the center of Donetsk is the only Ukrainian hotel to join The Leading Hotels of The World, Ukraine's leading business hotel according to the World Travel Awards Association. It was built in 1938 upon the project of Shuvalova and Rechanikov. During the Nazi occupation of Donetsk Gestapo headquartered in the former hotel; the building was partially destroyed during the war time. The hotel was opened after the reconstruction in 2004.
  5. Statue of Artem (Fyodor Sergeyev) This imposing six metre statue on Artema Street is a tribute to one of the Soviet’s most celebrated politicians and adopted son of Joseph Stalin. He died in the Donets Basin in 1921.



Counting nearly 600,000 inhabitants, the city alongside the ancient German trading route (the "Hellweg") is one of the biggest cities of the Federal Republic of Germany and the economic and cultural centre of Westphalia. Dortmund was founded as "Throtmani" around the year 880. Called "Dorpmunde" throughout the Middle ages, it was one of the richest and most important cities of the Hanseatic League for a long time. Coal, steel and beer guaranteed economic prosperity beyond the middle of the past century. In the course of structural change, however, new branches like IT, micro systems technology, logistics, communications- and media technology have re-shaped Dortmund's corporate landscape.

Like almost no other German city, Dortmund has seen enormous change in recent years. The former "steel city" developed into a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis, acquiring renown all across Europe as an innovative location for technological development. 

Dortmund is known as Westphalia's "green metropolis." Nearly half the municipal territory consists of waterways, woodland, agriculture and green spaces with spacious parks such as Westfalenpark and the Rombergpark.

Whether you prefer a major opera or a jiving jazz session, award-winning theatre performances or typical regional cabaret, progressive media art or 18th and 19th century art collections, independent cinemas or gambling. Art enthusiasts and culture-mongers can choose from a multifaceted selection of attractions and events. Regardless what you’re in the mood for, Dortmund will not be boring for you.
If you're interested in industrial culture, hard work has always distinguished the Dortmunders and their city. Steel, beer, and coal made Dortmund famous around the world. But today no miner can be found underground any more and the blast furnaces have closed down. Nevertheless, you can still feel the presence of times past, since the famous production sites from former times have new roles: they are simultaneously monuments, museums, and stages.
The centre of the city is series of shopping malls with impressive stores from everything from clothing and shoes to books and media to electronics or jewelry, stretching along the Hellweg, the Rheinoldi-Church in its center, the Thier-Gallerie is also becoming very popular, it is Dortmund's first mall and one of the largest privately financed buildings in Europe.


A local delicacy in Dortmund is a "Salzkuchen mit Mett" or a "Mettente". The "Salzkuchen" is a bagel-like, caraway spiced roll with seasoned mincemeat and onions. The "Mettente", a smoked sausage, normally comes with spicy mustard. Both are commonplace in the pubs or   Bierhäuser  around the city.  

Dortmund can claim one of the biggest Christmas markets in Germany, with over 300 stalls packed around a gigantic Christmas tree creation that stands 45 metres tall – reputed to be the biggest in the world. Made up of 1,700 individual fir trees, its 13,000 lights bathe the Christmas proceedings in a seasonal glow. Every day there is a colourful show programme by the Alter Markt Theatre Company and a puppet or magic show to keep the children happy.

                                                        Dortmund’s Top 5:
  1. The U-Tower. or Dortmunder U is a former brewery building in the city of Dortmund. Since 2010 it serves as a center for the arts and creativity, housing among other facilities the Museum Ostwall. It was the first skyscraper of Dortmund, built in 1926-1927. The high-rise Union Brewery used this building for the fermentation and storage of their products. In 1994 the brewery and all its surrounding buildings were closed and demolished, only the Dortmund U-Tower was spared due to having landmark status. In January 2008 the Dortmund U-Tower was decided to be redeveloped as a flagship project for the "Ruhr 2010 - Cultural Capital of Europe". Today it counts to one of Dortmund's central places, in which creative catering and event facilities are offered.
  2. Reinoldikirche. The Protestant St. Reinoldi-church is, according to its foundation date, the oldest extant church in Dortmund. It is dedicated to Saint Reinoldus, the patron of the city. The church was built as a palatinate church in the Ottonian era. The present building is a late Romanesque church with a late gothic quire. The St.-Reinoldi-church was built from 1250 to 1270, and is located in the centre of the city, directly at the crossing of the Hellweg (a historic trade route) and the historic road from Cologne to Bremen. Efforts to complete the tower of the St.-Reinoldi-church were renewed in 1443. After its completion in 1454, it was 112 m tall and was referred to as the "Miracle of Westphalia". The polygonal spire was renovated the first time in 1519. On 24 June 1520, the copper roofing was completed, and on 27 July the spire was added. The apex of the church was now about seven metres higher. In 1661, the tower collapsed after being damaged during an earthquake. The foundation for the new tower was laid 1662, and the building was completed 1701, with a baroque ornament on the top.
  3. Haus Dellwig In 1988 a local museum was founded in Haus Dellwig. This historic moated castle, which was first mentioned as early as the 12th century, has been owned by the City of Dortmund since 1978. The exhibits include a complete kitchen, a sitting room and various workshops (bakery, hairdressers, butchers, laundry, saddler, shoemaker's workshop and carpenters).
  4. Dortmund Opera House.  opened in 1966 and formally operated by the Theater Dortmund. The first opera house of Dortmund of 1904 had been destroyed in World War II. The new opera house was designed by architects Heinrich Rosskotten and Edgar Tritthart. The design separates the functions stage and technical rooms in the Bühnenhaus (stage house), dominated by straight lines, from the hall for the audience under a thin-shell structure roof.
  5. The Florianturm. (Florian Tower, Florian for short) is a telecommunications tower and landmark of the city. It is named after St. Florian, the patron saint of gardeners. The Florianturm is the TV tower of Dortmund and was built in 1959 as an attraction for a federal horticultural show with a height of 219.6 metres. At the time it was briefly the highest freestanding structure in Germany. The tower was constructed similarly to a high concrete chimney. It consists of a reinforced concrete tube, which tapers off as it rises, reaching a height of 129.75 metres. At 130.6 metres there is a building part with two floors. On the lower floor there are operation rooms and on the upper floor at 137.54 metres there is a revolving restaurant. At 141.88 metres and 144.7 metres there are two observation decks.


Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area. Although Dresden is a relatively recent city of Slavic origin, the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes ca. 7500 BC. Dresden's founding and early growth is associated with the eastward expansion of Germanic peoples, mining in the nearby Ore Mountains, and the establishment of the Margraviate of Meissen. Its name etymologically derives from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaningpeople of the riverside forest. Dresden later evolved into the capital of Saxony.

The Semperoper 

Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendour. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre. A controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II killed thousands of civilians and destroyed the entire city centre. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German communist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche. Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centres of Germany.

After the Second World War, Dresden became a major industrial centre in the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) with a great deal of research infrastructure. Many important historic buildings were rebuilt, although the city leaders chose to reconstruct large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons, but also to break away from the city's past as the royal capital of Saxony and a stronghold of the German bourgeoisie. However, some of the bombed-out ruins of churches, royal buildings and palaces, such as the Gothic Sophienkirche, the Alberttheater and the Wackerbarth-Palais were razed by the Soviet and East German authorities in the 1950s and 1960s instead of being repaired. Compared to West Germany, the majority of historic buildings were saved.

The historical centre of Dresden is located on the left bank of the Elbe, at the peak of a graceful river bend. Protected for centuries by mighty fortifications, the Saxon capital developed splendour and activity. Even today the buildings from the Renaissance, baroque and 19th century determine the Elbe front and the face of our city. Viewed from the opposite bank or from one of the Elbe bridges Dresden presents itself at first glance as a cultural city of European rank.

In spite of it's traumatic war years, the Old City part of Dresden has preserved or regained much of it's historic past. The most famous symbol of reconstruction in the city centre is the Dresden Frauenkirche Church, the magnificent baroque dome, which dominates the cityscape. Many important cultural institutions are situated along the Old City-side of the Elbe banks: from the Old Masters Picture Gallery to the Green Vault, the treasure chamber of the Saxon electors and kings.
Dresden Castle

The area of the new part of the city between the Elba and Albertplatz has been transformed into the most popular place in Dresden. Filled with 4 or 5 storey buildings of the 18th century,  along Keningstrasse. At first sight this street may seem quite dull, but look  deeper and you'll find beautiful gangways and cozy courtyards with good cafes and restaurants. There are also a lot of boutiques, galleries, antique shops and a mall theatre. If you want to do some shopping,  go to Hauptstrasse. At the Alkmarkt and Pragestrasse in the ancient part of the city  you'll find department stores and shopping centres.

The majority of national dishes that are offered to visitors in restaurants of Dresden belong to the Saxony kitchen. Roast beef is the most popular local meat. Meat here is thoroughly marinated in vinegar and spices before cooking, so it has its unforgettable aroma. For first course the most popular local delicacy is, without a doubt, potato soup.  Anyone with a sweet tooth will love the wonderful local dish - Eierschecke - a delicious cake with cream cheese and raisins. 
 Quarkkäulchen curd is the most popular dessert among locals. In addition to the restaurants that serve traditional cuisine, you will find high quality  French, Spanish, Italian and even Turkish restaurants. The vast majority of trendy establishments are located in Neustadt. A walk here will be of a great interest to every lover of good food.


                                                        Dresden’s Top 5:
  1. The Dresden Frauenkirche  literally Church of Our Lady, is a Lutheran church, built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II. It has been reconstructed as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies. The reconstruction of its exterior was completed in 2004, its interior in 2005 and, after 13 years of rebuilding, the church was reconsecrated on 30 October 2005 with festive services lasting through the Protestant observance of Reformation Day on 31 October. Once a month, an Anglican Evensong in English is held in the Church of Our Lady, with clergy sent from St. George's Anglican Chaplaincy in Berlin.  Since re-opening, the Church of Our Lady has been a hugely popular tourist destination in Dresden. In the first three years after the re-opening, seven million people have visited the church. The project has inspired other revitalization projects throughout Europe.
  2. The Katholische Hofkirche  is a Roman Catholic Cathedral. Previously the most important Catholic parish church of the city, it was elevated to cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen in 1964. It is located near the Elbe River in the historic center of Dresden. The Hofkirche stands as one of Dresden's foremost landmarks. It was designed by architect Gaetano Chiaveri from 1738 to 1751. The church was commissioned by Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland while the protestant city of Dresden built the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) between 1726 and 1743. The Elector decided that a catholic church was needed in order to counterbalance the protestant Frauenkirche. In the crypt the heart of King August the Strong is buried along with the last King of Saxony and the remains of 49 other members of the Wettin family as well as people who married into the family, such as Princess Maria Carolina of Savoy, wife of Anthony of Saxony. The church was badly damaged during the war and was restored during the mid-1980s under the East German regime. Today it is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen.
  3. Dresden Castle is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden. For almost 400 years, it has been the residence of the electors (1547–1806) and kings (1806–1918) of Saxony. It is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque to Neo-renaissance. Today, the residential castle is a museum complex that contains the Historic and New Green Vault, the Coin Cabinet, the Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and the Turkish Chamber. It also houses an art library and the management of the Dresden State Art Collections. Most of the castle was reduced to a roofless shell during the war. The Heraldic, Jewel, Silver and Bronze Rooms were all destroyed. However, the collections survived, having been moved to safety at Königstein Fortress in the early years of the war. For the first 15 years after the end of the Second World War, no attempt was made to rebuild the castle, except to install a temporary roof in 1946. Restoration began in the 1960s with the installation of new windows and has occurred rapidly since then. The castle's restoration is due to be completed in 2013
  4. The Semperoper is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (Saxon State Opera, Dresden) and the concert hall of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden (Saxon State Orchestra, Dresden). It is located near the Elbe River in the historic center of Dresden. The opera house was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841. After a devastating fire in 1869, the opera house was rebuilt, partly again by Semper, and completed in 1878. The opera house has a long history of premieres, including major works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
  5. The Zwinger (Der Dresdner Zwinger) is a palace, built in Baroque style. It served as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court. The location was formerly part of the Dresden fortress of which the outer wall is conserved. The name derives from the German word Zwinger (outer ward of a concentric castle); it was for the cannons that were placed between the outer wall and the major wall. The Zwinger was not enclosed until the Neoclassical building by Gottfried Semper called the Semper Gallery was built on its northern side. Today, the Zwinger is a museum complex that contains the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery), the Dresden Porcelain Collection (Porzellansammlung), the Armory (Rüstkammer) and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments).
    Der Dresdner Zwinger 



Dublin is the capital and most populous city of Ireland. The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name Dubh Linn, meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and at the centre of the Dublin Region.
The Spire

Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century, and was briefly the second largest city within the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe, with the population exceeding 130,000. The vast majority of Dublin's most notable architecture dates from this period, such as the Four Courts and the Custom House. Temple Bar and Grafton Street are two of the few remaining areas that were not affected by the wave of Georgian reconstruction and maintained their medieval character.

Dublin grew even more dramatically during the 18th century, with the construction of many famous districts and buildings, such as Merrion Square, Parliament House and the Royal Exchange.The Wide Streets Commission was established in 1757 at the request of Dublin Corporation to govern architectural standards on the layout of streets, bridges and buildings. In 1759, the founding of the Guinness brewery resulted in a considerable economic gain for the city. For much of the time since its foundation, the brewery was Dublin's largest employer. 

Dublin Castle

Dublin entered a period of stagnation following the Act of Union of 1800, but remained the economic centre for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, the new parliament, the Oireachtas, was located in Leinster House. Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State, and later the Republic of Ireland.

Dublin is a popular shopping destination for both locals and tourists. The city has numerous shopping districts, including Grafton Street, Henry Street, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Jervis Shopping Centre, and the Ilac Shopping Centre. Luxury shops on Grafton Street include Boodles, Brown Thomas and its sister shop BT2. Brown Thomas also houses several boutiques such as Hermès, Tiffany's, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Dublin is also the location of large department stores, such as Clerys on O'Connell Street, and Arnotts on Henry Street.

The city retains a thriving market culture, despite new shopping developments and the loss of some traditional market sites. Several historic locations, including Moore Street, remain one of the city's oldest trading districts. There has also been a significant growth in local farmers' markets and other markets. In 2007, Dublin Food Co-op relocated to a larger warehouse in The Liberties area, where it is home to many market and community events. 

Dublin has a vibrant nightlife and is reputedly one of Europe's most youthful cities, with an estimate of 50% of citizens being younger than 25. There are many pubs across the city centre, with the area around St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street, especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street, having the most popular  nightclubs and pubs. The best known area for nightlife is Temple Bar, south of the River Liffey. The area has become popular among tourists, including stag and hen parties from Britain. It was developed as Dublin's cultural quarter and does retain this spirit as a centre for small arts productions, photographic and artists' studios, and in the form of street performers and small music venues.  The areas around Leeson Street, Harcourt Street, South William Street and Camden/George's Street are popular nightlife spots frequented by the locals. 

The greatest party of them all is Saint Patrick's Day, a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world. You can find more information at

To counterbalance the city's hedonistic nightlife, Dublin has more green spaces per square kilometre than any other European capital city, with 97% of city residents living within 300 metres of a park area. The city council provides 2.96 hectares (7.3 acres) of public green space per 1,000 people and 255 playing fields. The council also plants approximately 5,000 trees annually and manages over 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of parks.


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                                                        Dublin’s Top 5:
  1. The Guinness Storehouse. At Guinness Storehouse you’ll discover all there is to know about the world’s most famous beer. A dramatic story that begins 250 years ago and ends…where else - in the Gravity bar with a complimentary pint of the black stuff. This £30million visitor experience brings to life one of the world's most iconic brands. Located at the heart of St. James’s Gate Brewery, the seven floors are designed around a central glass atrium mirroring the shape of a pint of Guinness. Floor by floor, visitors take a surprising journey through the past, present and future of the world’s greatest beer. They discover the ingredients, the process, the time, the craft and the passion that goes into every pint.
  2. Dublin Castle. was, until 1922, the seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800–1922). Upon establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the complex was ceremonially handed over to the newly formed Provisional Government led by Michael Collins. 
  3. Temple Bar. Some of Dublin's best night spots, restaurants and unusual shops line these narrow, cobbled streets running between the Bank of Ireland and Christ Church Cathedral. In the 18th century the area was home to many insalubrious characters-Fownes Street was noted for its brothels. It was also the birthplace of parliamentarian Henry Grattan. Skilled craftsmen and artisans, such as clockmakers and printers, lived and worked around Temple Bar until post-Emergency (post-war) industrialisation led to a decline in the area's fortunes. In the 1970s, the CIE (national transport authority) bought up parcels of land in this area to build a major bus depot. While waiting to acquire the land in this area to buildings needed, the CIE rented out, on cheap leases, some of the old retail and warehouse premises to young artists and to record, clothing and book shops. The area developed an "alternative" identity and a successful lobby by local residents persuaded CIE to drop their plans. As more cynical Dubliners put it, the area became the city's "officially designated arts zone". But while the new investment and planning may have added a slight air of contrivance, it's still an exciting, atmospheric and essentially very young place. 
  4. Saint Patrick's Cathedral or more formally, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Patrick is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland which was founded in 1191. The Church has designated it as The National Cathedral of Ireland. It is the larger of the Church's 's two cathedrals in the city and is the largest church in Ireland with a 43 metre (140 feet) spire. The other cathedral, Christ Church, is the diocesan cathedral of the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Since 1870, the Church has designated St Patrick's as the National Cathedral for the whole island, drawing chapter members from each of the twelve dioceses of the Church of Ireland.
  5. The Spire of Dublin. One of Dublin's newest monuments is the Spire of Dublin, or officially titled "Monument of Light". It is a 121.2 metres (398 ft) conical spire made of stainless steel and is located on O'Connell Street. It replaces Nelson's Pillar and is intended to mark Dublin's place in the 21st century. The spire was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects, who sought an "Elegant and dynamic simplicity bridging art and technology". During the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into the sky. The base of the monument is lit and the top is illuminated to provide a beacon in the night sky across the city. 
St Patrick's Cathedral



"Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik"
George Bernard Shaw 1929

Dubrovnik is situated in Southern Dalmatia, the most beautiful part of the Adriatic coast. Rich vegetation, beautiful lakes, rare islands, white pebble beaches and the crystal clean sea, all make this region to an unforgettable experience for every visitor traveling through Croatia.

File:Dubrovnik-shelling-91-92.jpgIt's hard to believe now, but less than 20 years ago, Dubrovnik was a ghost town as the remains of the Yugoslav Peoples Army shelled the city during the seven month Siege Of Dubrovnik. According to the Red Cross, 114 people were killed and 56% of the buildings sustained some level of damage as 650 artillery hits were recorded. In May 1992, the Croatian Army lifted the siege and the rebuilding began, adhering to UNESCO guidelines. As of 2005, most damage had been painstakingly repaired to it's former glory and, only on close inspection, can new mortar be seen and the slightly brighter red of new roof tiles evident. A chart close to the city gate shows the extent of the damage.

There is no disputing the breathtaking beauty of Dubrovnik. As you enter the walls through the Pile Gate, you are immediately awed by the sheen from the limestone paved floors worn to look like marble through generations of visitors. As you enter The Stradun, Onofrio's Large Fountain looms in front of you, originally constructed in 1438 by Italian architect Onofrio Della Cava and part of the city's water mains which brought water from the Dubrvacka river some 12km away. The fountain is a main meeting point for visitors and usually surrounded by thirsty travellers serenaded by the city's one note busker on his home made instrument of torture!

The Old Town is very compact and very easy to walk from one gate to another or one wall to the opposite. The Stradun or the main street through the centre of the city is an ideal place to sit in an outdoor cafe people watching or enjoy a light al fresco meal 
Tip: move away from the Stradun if your budget is tight!. Random, unannaounced mini carnivals appear on the Stradun, during our stay, a group of pirates took to the street and a gaggle of photographers surrounded a leggy model in a wedding dress on the steps of a church.

There are, however, many different, colourful back streets to discover filled with cafes, restaurants and local shops which will keep you going for a number of days. Each street brings it's own delights with lacemakers on street corners and artists shops dotted between the inevitable gift and souvenir shops.

A takeaway pizza slice shop, followed by a coffee shop followed by a cake shop means you can enjoy a complete meal while on the move (by far the most economical method)

You must, of course, climb the city walls and take the 2km walk.. I would highly recommend early morning or later in the afternoon as the heat can be stifling although refreshment stops are regular. There are so many things you can only see from on high, like the basketball court hidden within a school yard or a private swimming area at the foot of the walls, school choirs can be heard rehearsing through open windows and small courtyard gardens are dotted around. There is also still evidence of unrepaired war damage and neglect. Make sure you have your camera to hand as the walls will give you some of the greatest views you will ever see.

One of Dubrovnik's famed attractions used to be its cable car - built in 1969 - which rose up to the top of Mount Srd above the city, giving visitors a chance to take in some (even more) spectacular views of the Old Town and the shoreline. Sadly, the cable car was completely destroyed during the war in the early 1990s and was never repaired...until 2010. The service has now been fully restored with entirely new equipment and is sure to be a must-do for visitors once again. A journey to the top of Mount Srd takes only 3 minutes, and once there you can take in the views whilst enjoy a snack, or something more, at the cafe or restaurant at the top.
Also at the top of Mount Srd, and also newly opened, is the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence which, though its various exhibits, shows how Dubrovnik defended itself during the 1991-95 war.

We stayed outside the City, in the little seaside resort of Cavtat. There were many advantages, not least the cost of everything was so much cheaper and made our break affordable. One of the unexpected bonuses to staying here was taking the water taxi from the city to the resort, a bargain at roughly £12 each and a great way to see the city and its walls. the alternative is the bus which comes in via the high mountain road, Tip: be careful where you get off the bus, you need to look out for where you can see the city from above and walk down, if not, you will be taken to the new, harbour side of the city which is a good day out in itself but miles away from the old city.

Dubrovnik’s Top 5:
  1. The City walls . The City walls were originally constructed in the 10th century, considerably fortified in 1453 and, following damage and repair after the shelling in the 90's, are complete to walk all the way round. The old town has fortresses at it's four corners, which are the Minceta Tower, Revelin Fortress, St John's Fortress and Bokar Bastion.
  2. Stradun/Placa. The Stradun, also called Placa, runs through the centre of the old town from Pile Gate to Ploce Gate. Originally a marshy channel seperating two settlements, the limestone pavers were laid in 1468 and run for 300 metres. Both ends of the Stradun are marked with 15th century fountains, The Large Onofrio's at the Western end and The Small Onofrio's in the East.
  3. Sponza Palace. Constructed in 1522, a survivor of the 1667 earthquake, the palace has had a variety of uses over the centuries, includingwhere the Republic of Ragusa minted it's currency. Currently it houses the city archives upstairs whilst the ground floor is used for exhibitions during the summer festivals. It also houses a permanent exhibition named "Memorial Room of the Dubrovnik Defenders", a memorial to those citizens who lost their lives during the war between 1991 and 1995.
  4. Church of St Blaise. A Baroque church, built between 1705and 1717, which features a silver statue of the Dubrovnik patron saint on the altar holding a model of the city, brought out each year during The Festival of St Blaize. The stained glass windows of the church are relatively recent, having been added in the 1970's.
  5. Franciscan Monastery. Includes a calming cloister from 1360, the main part of the Monastery was destroyed in the earthquake of 1667 and rebuilt. The Monastery contains what is though to be the oldest apothecary/pharmacy in Europe dating from 1316-17 . 
            All photographs by Tony & Michelle Bonson 2011


Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. Düsseldorf is an international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. 

When the Roman Empire was strengthening its position throughout Europe, a few Germanic tribes clung in marshy territory off the eastern banks of the Rhine River. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the odd farming or fishing settlement could be found at the point where the small river Düssel flows into the Rhine. It was from such settlements that the city of Düsseldorf grew.
Dusseldorf Harbour

Culturally, Düsseldorf is known for its academy of fine arts, its influence on early electronic music (Kraftwerk) and its large Japanese community. As a city by the river Rhine, Düsseldorf is a stronghold for Rhenish Carnival celebrations. Every year in July more than 4.5 million people visit the city's Largest Fair on the Rhine funfair.

As the seventh most populous city in Germany by population within city limits and an urban 
population of 1.5 million, Düsseldorf is one of the country's five global cities. The Mercer's 2009 Quality of Living survey of cities with the highest quality of life ranked Düsseldorf sixth worldwide and first in Germany.

Düsseldorf is well known for its Altbier, a hoppy beer which translates as old [style] beer, a reference to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top-fermenting yeast like British pale ales. Over time the Alt yeast adjusted to lower temperatures, and the Alt brewers would store or lager the beer after fermentation, leading to a cleaner, crisper beer. The first brewery to use the name Alt was Schumacher which opened in 1838. The founder, Mathias Schumacher, allowed the beer to mature in cool conditions in wooden casks for longer than normal, and laid the foundation for the modern alt - amber coloured and lagered. The result is a pale beer that has some of the lean dryness of a lager but with fruity notes as well. 

Basilica of St Lambertus
Traditional meals in the region are Rheinischer Sauerbraten (a beef roast and sometimes horse marinated for a few days in vinegar and spices served with gravy and raisins ) and Heaven and Earth (Himmel und Äd) (black pudding with stewed apples mixed with mashed potatoes). In winter the people like to eat Muscheln Rheinischer Art (Rhenish-style mussels) as well as Reibekuchen (fried potato pancake served with apple sauce). Also a special meal: Düsseldorfer Senfrostbraten (Steaks roasted with Düsseldorf mustard on top).

Together with the French city of Dijon, Düsseldorf is known for its mustard served in a traditional pot called "Mostertpöttche", which was eternalised in a still life by Vincent van Gogh in 1884.

Shopping is a must in Düsseldorf - and shopping in the Old Town has its unique flair. Unlike the exclusive shopping boulevard Kö, the Old Town not only invites fashion victims but also bargain hunters to enjoyable shopping sprees. Numerous boutiques offer trendy fashion at a reasonable price as well as original or stylish jewellery. You will find quaint boutiques and specialist shops round the delicatessen market on Karlsplatz and in numerous arcades and lanes.

                                                        Dusseldorf’s Top 5:
  1. Düsseldorf-Hafen means the harbour of Düsseldorf. More than that, Hafen is the name of the Düsseldorf district in which the habour is located. For decades the harbour has been an area of workers, industry and trade. But after the Mannesmann company had discontinued its tube production in Düsseldorf, parts of the central harbour lost their reason for being (another harbour is in Düsseldorf-Reisholz). As a result the eastern part of the harbour started to be redeveloped. Mainly third sector businesses were attracted to move to the Hafen: media companies, but also fashion and design offices. One of the first new residents to the so-called Media Harbour was Westdeutscher Rundfunk with its current affairs TV and radio studios. There is also Düsseldorf's local radio station, Antenne Düsseldorf, in the harbour. CNN used to have an office there. One of the largest cinemas of Düsseldorf is in the Hafen. The Landtag (State parliament) of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Rheinturm are situated right next to the harbour. The Hafen district itself contains some spectacular post-modern architecture, most famously three twisted constructions by Frank Gehry. Other than that there are many restaurants, bars, and a few clubs, which make the Hafen a prominent lifestyle district.
  2. Kaiserswerth is one of the oldest parts of the City. It is in the north of the city and next to the river Rhine. It houses the Deaconess's Institute of Kaiserswerth where Florence Nightingale studied.  The Kaiserpfalz (temporary seat of the Holy Roman Emperor) was built in 1045. In 1062, the archbishop of Cologne, Anno II, kidnapped the underage German King Heinrich IV from here and in this way obtained the unofficial regency of the Holy Roman Empire. At this time the island's name changed from Werth to Kaiserswerth. In 1174, Friederick I Barbarossa moved the Rhine customs collection to Kaiserswerth. The eastern branch of the Rhine around the island silted up connecting Kaiserswerth to the east bank of the river. In 1273, the emperor pledged Kaiserswerth to the Archbishop of Cologne forming a de facto enclave within the Duchy of Jülich-Berg.
  3. The Rheinturm  is a 240.5 metre high concrete telecommunications tower. Construction commenced in 1979 and finished in 1981. The Rheinturm carries aerials for directional radio, FM and TV transmitters. It stands 174.5 metres high and houses a revolving restaurant and an observation deck at a height of 170 metres. It is the tallest building in Düsseldorf. The Rheinturm was inaugurated on 1 December 1981. It contains 7,500 cubic metres of concreteand weighs 22,500 tons. Before October 15, 2004, when an aerial antenna for DVB-T was mounted, it was 234.2 metres high. The observation deck is open to public, daily from 10:00 to 23:30. As a special attraction, there is a light sculpture on its shaft which works as a clock. This sculpture was designed by Horst H. Baumann and is called Lichtzeitpegel (light time level). The light sculpture on the Rheinturm is the biggest digital clock in the world.
  4. Basilica of St Lambertus. This symbol of Düsseldorf was built in 1394, but the unusual shape of the roof of Sankt Lambertus came about only in 1815. After a fire, the spire had to be re-built; the wood got warped a short time later, and created the famous twist in the roof. According to popular belief, it will straighten itself out again when a virgin gets married in Lambertuskirche. The altar of the basilica holds a shrine with reliquaries of the St. Apollinaris, the city patron. Incidentally, it is his memorial day that is the original reason of the Düsseldorf fair.
  5. Rheinturm
    Schloss Benrath is a Rococo maison de plaisance, erected for the Elector Palatine Charles Theodore by his garden and building director and garden supervisor,Nicolas de Pigage. It was begun in 1755, and by the time it was completed in 1770, some elements of Neoclassicism were detectable in its interior finishing. Two symmetrical wings flank the central corps de logis. The Museum for European Garden Art was founded in the east wing of Benrath in 2002. The west wing houses a museum of natural history. Changing exhibitions and concerts of music are presented in the main building, which is only sparsely furnished. The ensemble at Benrath has been proposed for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

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