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My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us. I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe. I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.

The price of Victory

IMG_9535Berlin’s Siegessäule – Victory Column – is another of Berlin’s monuments that has reinvented itself through the ages – from symbol of Prussian military victory in the 19th century to a favourite tourist spot today. As US Presidential candidate, Barack Obama chose the Siegessäule as the alternative spot to the Brandenburg Gate for his speech to 200,000 Berliners on July 24, 2008.

Relocation of the Victory Column

The 67m high symbol of victory originally stood in front of the Reichstag in the former Königsplatz and today’s Platz der Republik. It was relocated here, in the Tiergarten’s main roundabout by the Nazis in 1938. The Großer Stern roundabout is a central intersection from which five avenues stretch out to different directions around the compass. According to plans by Albert Speer the architect and visionary of Berlin as the new capital of the German Reich – Germania – intended to enhance the East-West axis running through the Tiergarten.

A monument to Prussia’s victory in the Franco-German war

Emperor Wilhelm I (1861-1888) who ruled and increasingly powerful Prussian State with territorial ambitions to unify Germany under Prussia, had appointed Otto von Bismarck – the Iron Chancellor – as Prussian prime minister in 1862. The Emperor presided over the unveiling of the Column of Victory on September 2, 1873 as a monument to Prussia’s victory in the Franco-German war. This ended the so-called Wars of Unification waged against its neighbours Denmark (1864) Austria (1866) and France (1871). The founding of Berlin as capital of Germany followed and the King Wilhelm I of Prussia was crowned Emperor – Kaiser Wilhelm I at Versailles in January 1871.

Architectural Elements of the Victory Column

Built by Friedrich Drake, the gilded shaft is painted with enemy canons and martial scenes in relief from. The 8.3m tall statue on the top of the column represents both Victoria, the Goddess of Victory and Borussia the allegory and Latin name of Prussia. Her face based on the sculptor’s daughter and known, in Berliner lore, as the Goldelse (Golden Else).

The column is an interesting example of allegorical representations linking German traditional mythological symbols to its imperial days.

The frieze – or outer decorative band – bearing sculpture and lettering and the mosaics are good examples. Representations include those of Germania, Father Rhine with a crown of vine leaves, the enemy Napoleon seated on a cloud and Commander General von Hartmann uniting the Southern and German States. Anton von Warner’s mosaic of 1873 portrays Germania as an allegorical image, the breast plated female warrior. Along with Victoria the winged Roman Goddess of Victory and Marianne the French equivalent Germania was an important 19th century symbol for the abstract representation of nationhood which was used to unite the disparate German princes. The newly crowned Emperor Wilhelm I’s own image could not be used and the representation of Emperor was only possible as a Latin inscription – Loco Imperatoris.

Observation deck

The monument is reachable using a pedestrian underpass. Four neo-classical temples also built by Albert Speer indicate the entrance points. This is one of Berlin’s favourite sightseeing trips with children and youngsters who appreciate the view from the observation deck following the 270 steps required to reach it via a spiral staircase. The Café Victoria and Biergarten, just next to the monument, is ideal for refreshments and a break.

Check out some additional photos here:

Victory Column

Happy Travels

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