photography, summer, travel, world

Throwback Thursday: Hermannsdenkmal (Hermann’s memorial)

This memorial is dedicated to Hermann aka Arminius (appr. 17 b.c. – 21 a.c.), the son of a chieftain of the Cherusker people. There’s not much known about him. As a child, he was taken from his parents and brought to Rome to educate him and make him a real Roman. He learned well and joined the army. As he was quite talented the Romans sent him back to the region he originated from and made him the leader of a military auxiliaries troop of locals.

After a while, he was able to persuade the locals to fight against the Romans. His troop was responsible to protect the roman army and their civil staff on their way back from the wild area east of the river Rhine back to the fortified cities east of the river Rhine, a trip the roman army did each fall to stay in the cities for winter and not in tents.

On this trip, the track was attacked by the Cheruskers and maybe also other tribes. It seems, no Roman soldier or civilian was able to escape as there are nearly no reports available.

For a few years, archaeologists are pretty sure about the place of that battle because of the found artifacts. Before, there were a few other possible places considered. Nowadays we know, this monument is not in the right place. It’s approximately 100km south of the site, where roman remains were found, which seem to be left after that crushing battle about 2000 years ago. 

On a scouting trip this summer, I used the opportunity to visit this place with my wife. We were there for the first time. It’s a small place, but with an impressive history. I’m not very happy about the look, the mood, and the appearance of the memorial. But, considering the time when the memorial was planned and constructed, I have to admit, it fits in the time. Not only in Germany these glorifying and heroizing monuments and buildings were set up. You can find similar buildings in all parts of the western world.   

While I already used parts of the text above on Monday for Monochrome Monday, I have a total of the memorial for you today. It was built from 1838 until 1875. The whole memorial is 53,46 meter high, while the statue alone has 26,57 meters. Until the Statue of Liberty in New York was built in 1886, this monument was the highest in the western world.

The memorial is set up on top of a 386 meters high hill in a way, that Hermann can look in the plains down to his feet. You reach the memorial from the back. To look in Hermann’s face, you have to pass the memorial and walk downstairs to a terrasse and turn around, like I did for this photo. Otherwise, you can already see him from the plains below. But, nowadays it’s not so easy anymore to see the memorial from the plains because the trees grew since the 19th century.

You can even climb up the memorial. Right below Hermann’s feet is a balcony surrounding the statue. You can even climb up inside the statue up to the face. I skipped climbing up the memorial because of the still unclear situation with COVID-19 at that time.

Take care!