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Berlin Bebelplatz

Berlin’s esteemed Humboldt University combines with the first independent
State Opera House and the azure dome of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral to frame the
atmospheric square known as Bebelplatz, which bore witness to a shocking
Nazi attempt to ‘cleanse’ literature. The Nazis made their dark statement
of book-burning and authoritarianism on May 10th 1933 amid the shadows of
these iconic structures. In addition to a visit being worthwhile purely for stunning, sandy-coloured architecture and central location, gracing Mitte’s prestigious Unter den Linden, the square endeavours to vindicate its history through an intriguing memorial from 1995 by Micha Ullman.

Within Bebelplatz’s cobbles, a small, square window reveals a curious site:
an empty, underground library. This understated commemoration is of the
book burning when 20,000+ books taken from the adjacent University
library were burned, under orders from Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbles,
for reasons such as content and author’s ethnicity or political/sexual orientation. Its floor-to-ceiling, simple shelves have space for every book burnt. The monument cuts an eerie image, best seen in dusky conditions to minimise reflection on its surface, but also to emphasise dramatic effect if you are so inclined!

Although not as overtly dramatic or eye-catching as many other holocaustrelated memorials, this is a striking reminder of the intolerance and barbarity that characterized Nazi regimes. Plaques nearby support the memorial’s relevance, bearing the words: ‘Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen’ (where one burns books, one ultimately burns people), haunting lines by German-Jewish author, Heinrich Heine. Crossing Unter den Linden, the commemoration is more interactive. Prestigious Humboldt University has gained its respected reputation for producing the masterful minds of 29 Nobel Prize winners but furthermore through its celebrated daily book market. The lure of bustling stalls is irresistible, making a visit essential. Hundreds of books rest on dozens of tables, waiting for prospective readers: works by Marx, Freud and even Mickey Mouse are among the finds you will unearth here. It is a place where the students, the bookish and those just keen to explore can unite. It is plausible to forget what the book market stands to remember, and that a burning pyre rose above what is now a chic, artistic tribute. Yet Bebelplatz’s monument and stalls are evidence that commemoration need not be a lavish statue, rather, the square embraces minimalistic design and purchasing books encourages you to remember in a conscious and lasting way.
(A.Stanton, J.Hyndman, S.Gleeson)

The Heart Of Madrid

The Puerta del Sol, or ‘gate of the sun’ is so named because it was once the site of  a gate which faced the east and was adorned with an image of the sun. The gate was first built in the fifteenth century, but the building now at the heart of
the square, the Real Casa de Correos, was originally built in the 18th century. At that time the square was the place to go for news and gossip, the destination of couriers all over Spain. The building, no longer the Post Office, is now the headquarters of the President of Madrid’s Autonomous Community.

The clock tower of the Casa de Correos is the famous clock all Spaniards watch on New Year’s Eve, counting down the chimes to midnight. Tradition dictates that Spaniards must eat a grape with each chime of the clock – if they are successful, this indicates a fruitful year ahead…

The Puerta del Sol is also geographically significant for the whole of Spain; a stone slab on the pavement marks Kilometre Zero, which is the official starting point for Spain’s 6 National Roads.

Also in the square is the stature of El oso & Madroño, or The Bear and the Tree, which is the official symbol of the city. The origin of the statue, and the symbol, is unclear; however, it may be as simple as an allusion to the bears in the fields around Madrid and the trees which used to grow there! It has been moved several times in its history, but now stands where it was originally intended to. It is the work of sculptor Antonio Navarro Santa Fe.

More recently the square has been the home of thousands of indignados, or  protestors, who congregated there in May 2011 during regional elections to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the government and the Spanish economy. The original camps were cleared by the police, but in late July 2011 the  quare was once more packed with tents and stalls, welcoming marchers
from all over the country. The marchers, their act a response to the country’s debt crisis and a demand for ‘real democracy’, were welcomed with the sign “Bienvenida dignidad”, or “Welcome dignity”.

Hannah Shaddock, photo: Amanda Green

Aktuelles zum Projekt Reisejournalismus in Berlin

Die Teilnehmer arbeiten während ihres Aufenthaltes in Berlin an ihrem gemeinsamen Reiseführer. In Workshops mit erfahrenen Journalisten, Layoutern und Projektmanagern erhalten sie eine Einführung in das Genre des Reisejournalismus und können erste Schreib-Erfahrungen sammeln oder ihre vorhandenen journalistischen Kenntnisse vertiefen. Die Teilnehmer arbeiten wie eine Redaktion zusammen und schaffen im Team ihren eigenen Reiseführer der online und als ebook, unter Anleitung von Spezialisten, von den Teilnehmern veröffentlicht wird.

The official capital of cool (or should that be unofficial?), Berlin is where global hipsters and history addicts rub shoulders. Whatever your taste, interests or financial budget, this quirky, vibrant and effervescent city blends the old and the new, luring you in and never letting go.
Each of the city’s distinct neighbourhoods has its own charm and character. Mitte is the tourist hot-spot with visitors flocking to Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, the mecca for every Cold War thriller aficionado. And if you have a penchant for the finer things in life, visit Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin’s majestic Prussian palace just within city limits. The young and the restless congregate in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg, where effortlessly hip bars and clubs seem to be open 24 hours a day.
From late night to the wee hours, you’re sure to find parties you won’t remember but will never forget.
Berlin is a powerful magnet for fashion, art and music and it is not hard to see why. This is a city almost overflowing with creativity. From guerilla fashion shows hosted in the U-Bahn stations to the pop-up nightclubs in the famous Pergamon Museum or East Side Gallery, Berlin is the ultimate manifestation of culture.
Loathe to forgetting its past but keen on looking towards the future, Berlin strikes a balance between self-reflection and optimism for a brighter tomorrow. This is a place where the skyline changes more often than the unpredictable weather. Today, the city has evolved into a lightning-paced metropolis where you won’t ever get bored or run out of things to see, do and drink…”

Mehr Infos zu den Projekten in Berlin, Edinburgh und Madrid bei curso24.de
Hier können Sie ein Sample des Berlin Buches anschauen oder das gesamte Buch herunterladen.
Redaktion Curso eG

Reiseführer für Edinburgh

Voller prächtiger Geschichte(n) und pulsierende Metropole – über Edinburgh könnte man einen ganzen Reiseführer füllen und hätte noch immer nicht alles abgedeckt. Genau das ist dann auch der Inhalt unserer Projekte in der schottischen Hauptstadt. Old Town und New Town verbinden auf wunderbare Weise das ganz Alte mit dem relativ Neuen. Princess Street, Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, Parlament, Holyrood Palace und Arthur´s Seat – die Achse für eine erste Recherche in der schottischen Hauptstadt könnte kaum umfangreicher sein.

Schreiben und Reisen hat in Schottland eine große Tradition und ist fest im Stadtbild und im Herzen der Bewohner von Edinburgh verankert. Das internationale Flair der Stadt hilft ebenso wie die lebendige Tradition dabei die früheren Helden lebendig zu halten. Robert Burns (1759-1796) zeichnet für das “Auld Lang Syne” verantwortlich und ihm ist der jährliche Burns-Day als spektakuläres Fest gewidmet, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) schrieb mit seinen “Waverly Novels” den ersten europäischen historischen Roman. Seine Bücher wie “Das Herz von Midlothian”, “Ivanhoe” oder “Quentin Durward” erlangten Ruhm und Anerkennung in aller Welt. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) schuf beispielsweise “Die Schatzinsel”, “Die Abenteuer des David Balfour” und “Dr. Jekyll und Mr. Hyde”, “Peter Pan” stammt von Sir James Barrie (1860-1937). Der Erfinder des Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle (1859-1930) stammt ebenfalls aus Schottland. Viele der Vorlagen wurden später weltberühmte Filmstoffe, natürlich in den vergangenen Jahren besonders wahrgenommen durch die “Harry Potter Reihe” der Edinburgh-Autorin J. K. Rowling.

Die Aufgabe ist das Verfassen eines Reiseführers, unter Anleitung erfahrener Journalisten und Layouter in Edinburgh. Schottische Mitarbeiter unterstützen zusätzlich bei der Recherche und geben einen Einblick in der wirkliche Edinburgh. Wir freuen uns auf ein gelungenes Projekt im März 2011 in Edinburgh.
Die Redaktion.