Christian Travelers Guides

Christian Travelers Guides

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Berlin the unlikely destination for tourists ...

Berlin is a great place to visit, yet somewhere that few people think about when planning a European vacation. So let's begin by blogging about Berlin with a short history.

During the 12th century, the Citadel Spandau was built by the margrave, or count, of Brandenburg as a frontier post against the Slavs. Soon two towns, Cölln and Berlin, grew up on the banks of the Spree. In 1307 the towns merged as Berlin-Cölln and joined the Hanseatic League. In 1415 Count Friedrich Hohenzollern (1372 – 1440) became the Kurfürst (elector) of Brandenburg. Fifty-five years later, Berlin became the official residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty, which was eventually to rule the whole of Germany. The elector Joachim II (1505 – 71) converted to Lutheranism (1539). A generation later Johann Sigismund converted to Calvin­ism (1613), although most of his subjects remained Lutherans, thus laying a foundation for religious tolerance. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 48), Berlin changed hands numerous times, suffering extensive damage, losing half of its population. In 1640 Friedrich Wil­helm (1620 – 88), known as the Great Elector, became the ruler. With the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the city’s economy slowly revived, and in 1675 Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg defeated the Swedes at the battle of Fehrbellin, thus securing Prussia’s independence. In 1685 the elector invited 6000 French Pro­testant refugees, known as Huguenots, to settle in Berlin, making almost a fifth of the population French. This wise act stimulated the economy and laid the foundation for Prussia’s future greatness ....

More next week

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