hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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The Russian cruiser Aurora is anchored in St Petersburg and currently serves as a museum ship (photo © Marcorubino / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

One shot from the Aurora

  • 16 Oct 2017
100 years ago, on the evening of 25 October 1917 (in the Russian calendar), a single blank shell was fired from the Russian cruiser Aurora. It gave the signal for the Bolsheviks to storm the Winter Palace. Was that single blank shot from the Aurora ...
All aboard the Sargan Eight Railway in western Serbia. The train is at Sargan Vitasi station (photo © Laurence Mitchell).
Magazine article

The Hills of Western Serbia

There are many visions of Yugoslavia's past. Laurence Mitchell visits the hills of western Serbia to learn how heritage and history fuel the imagination. It's a journey that starts and ends in Uzice and takes in the famous Sargan Eight narrow-gauge ...
The Ile de Bendor seen from the coast at Bandol, France (photo © Bunyos / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A glass of pastis

  • 18 Jan 2016
It's hard to say no to pastis. Especially on the island of Bendor, off the south coast of France, where pastis is the preferred drink at almost any time of day. If you are really bold, you can get away with ordering a glass of the local Bandol ...
The border museum at Schnackenburg (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The inner-German border at Schnackenburg

  • 15 Nov 2015
The village of Schnackenburg is on the south side of the Elbe right on the erstwhile border between East and West Germany. It is a place which has lived by borders and died by borders. It is an interesting case of a community which lost out in ...
The ‘temple’ of Walhalla in the Danube Valleyappeals to classical style in its homage to the German nation (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

No space for Marx
  

A mock Greek temple on a bluff above the River Danube turns out to be a good spot to reflect on what it means to be German. Walhalla is a national hall of fame - a sort of Bavarian version of the Panthéon in ...
Letter from Europe

Encounter at Hendaye

  • 23 Oct 2015
75 years ago this week, Hitler was on the move. Within just a few days, the Führer's train was in north-west France, in the Basque region and in Tuscany. But this was no holiday. On 23 October 1940, Hitler met General Franco in Hendaye. It was the ...
The new European Solidarity Centre in the Polish city of
Gdańsk (photo © Krzysztof Janczewski / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Remembering Anna
  

Anna Walentynowicz died five years ago this spring in the plane crash that also claimed the lives of many in the Polish leadership. We recall the woman who was a welder, crane driver and political activist - a woman who quietly helped shape modern ...
Colourful houses in Ærøskøbing, the capital of the Danish island of Ærø (photo © Marieke van der Horst).
Magazine article

Double act: the Danish island of Ærø
  

The Danish island of Ærø is no more than a fleck in the Baltic. Yet this beautiful island is a good place to understand Danish history. If you are ever in any doubt as to how much the sea has inflected the Danish experience, make time for Marstal, ...
Statue in Leipzig by sculptor Stephan Balkenhol showing the young Richard Wagner overshadowed by his reputation (image © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Leipzig soundscapes
  

Few European cities can rival Leipzig when it comes to musical associations. Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach had an extraordinarily productive 27 years in the city, and the roll call of great musical names continues: Clara ...
Violin maker Anton Maller’s workshop inMittenwald, Germany (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Second fiddle: music in Mittenwald
  

Anton Maller is a patient man. He has to be. Creating the perfect violin takes weeks of concentrated effort. We meet Anton Maller, a master violin maker, in his home town of Mittenwald in the Alps. Mittenwald enjoys a fine reputation for the ...
Magazine article

Zurich’s Moulage Museum
  

Duncan JD Smith, urban explorer extraordinaire, introduces us to the world of medical moulage, a technique that was used to reproduce the physical manifestations of various diseases and dermatological conditions. Welcome to Zurich’s Moulage ...
Where faith and the sea meet: devotionaland maritime bric-a-brac in La Maison de laBeurière in Boulogne (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

La Maison de la Beurière
  

Today, the steeply sloping streets behind Boulogne's Quai Gambetta no longer have the character of a closely-knit fishing community. hidden europe visits a little museum that recalls the former life of this distinctive part of the French port ...
Letter from Europe

Brussels: the past is another country

  • 28 Dec 2011
In most European capitals these young migrants make little imprint on the cultural life of the city. But as we said last week, when we wrote on the matter of Christmas markets, Brussels does thing differently. The Belgian capital has a radical ...
The Tammerkoski River with the Finlayson mills in the Finnish city of Tampere. The city boasts very well-preserved industrial heritage (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Shaping socialist history: Tampere
  

Lenin's promise that Finland would be granted her independence after the Bolshevik Revolution was first made in Tampere. This Finnish city has a fine industrial and political heritage, as we discover when we visit a museum devoted to the life and ...
Magazine article

Red Star Sofia
  

Whatever happened to the massive five-pointed red star that for many years topped the communist party headquarters in Sofia? For years, it was hidden away in a cellar, but now it greets visitors to a new museum of socialist art in the Bulgarian ...
The exhibition in the Karl-Marx-Haus in Trier very successfully brings alive a potentially rather dry topic (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

In spite of Trier

The birthplace of Karl Marx is, a little improbably it might seem, in the Moselle city of Trier. It is a place that nowadays seems irredeemably bourgeois. Yet Marx' legacy is superbly documented in Trier's ...
Letter from Europe

Dark tourism in Berlin and beyond

  • 13 Aug 2006
Many of Berlin's prime attractions evoke the darker side of the city's past. The new monument to the murdered Jews of Europe just south of the Brandenburg Gate is the latest addition to Berlin's dark tourism repertoire. Just a short walk away is ...
Letter from Europe

Jan Mayen (Norway) - scrimshaw and more in the Azores

  • 4 May 2006
Jan Mayen has no indigenous population, and the twenty or so souls who are on the island at any one time are generally staff of the Norwegian meteorological service or military personnel. This onetime whaling station became a regular stop off point ...