Sunday, December 4, 2011

A New Look at Germany's Postwar Reconstruction

By Romain Leick, Matthias Schreiber and Hans-Ulrich Stoldt

It was a curious procession that wound its way up the Fockeberg in the eastern German city of Leipzig in May. The participants pushed strange wheeled contraptions up the 153 meter (500 foot) hill, climbed into them and shot back down again. The event was the 19th Prix de Tacot, an annual soap-box derby that sees daredevil teams race weird and wonderful vehicles to the delight of thousands of spectators. The race has several events and a number of special prizes, including the "'Long Live Yuri Gagarin' Special Award," which this year went to a team calling itself "Stag Party." A rolling beer-garden umbrella was among the sights.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is the venue where the Prix de Tacot takes place. The Fockeberg wasn't created by glacial erosion or tectonic movements. Rather, the hill was created entirely from rubble leftover after the bombing of Leipzig during World War II. It is a soap-box derby on the ruins of the Third Reich.
There are similar man-made hillocks in many other German cities. Mönchengladbach, for example, has the Rheydter Höhe. Its counterpart in Frankfurt is dubbed "Monte Scherbelino" (a faux-Italian pun meaning "Shard Mountain"). And Stuttgart's Grüner Heiner is particularly popular among model airplane enthusiasts.
The residents of Berlin lovingly named the piled-up remains of their destroyed houses, factories and churches "Monte Klamotte" ("rag mountains"). One of them, the Teufelsberg ("Devil's Mountain"), is the second-highest point in the German capital, at almost 115 meters (380 feet) above sea level. 

 more about Germany:

The streets of central city of Aachen, Germany

The pedestrian streets of Bochum central city

Metroradruhr: Germany's Ruhr Valley Inter-City Bike Sharing

Abandoned residential units in Dessau, Germany

Potsdam On Three Euros A Day

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