Wednesday, August 12, 2009

die Basilika in St. Johann

[ St. Johann's Basilica ]

The tour began with viewing from the bus windows, and would later become a walking, guided tour. From the bus we drove past some of the industrial parts of the city. I came to find out that Saarbr
ücken began as an area that specialized in steel production and coal mining. When that industry died out, creating a crisis in the 60's, the city had to reinvent itself. It moved to automobile distribution [ironically another industry now in a crisis]. In fact GM and Ford both have branches in or near the city. The joke in Saarbrücken related to cars is the fact that the most popular selling brand is French [say it with an accent just for fun now - the Peugeot, ooh lala]. In fact, there are even Polizei cars that are of this French brand, even when the German auto industry is renowned for its efficiency. Smart cars are also very popular here, and I heard from the other Americans that the smart cars in America are actually not as efficient as their European counterparts because of changes in American measuring standards (weight I think.)

[the very elaborate door with engravings of Biblical stories.]

After a little more around the city, and seeing the border to France, the walking tour began downtown. It actually started in a part that I had seen and been to many times, but there was a lot of background information I didn't know about the area. We started at the Basilica of St. Johann, which is a large and very beautiful baroque style Catholic Church in Saarbrücken. It was built in the 1750's and has been under very large reconstruction projects, along with an exterior of local sandstone.

[ a sculpture of a bible outside ]

[ Candles in remembrance of parish members who were victims of WW1 and WW2 - I am beginning to feel the impact that the wars still have on the area and how much they are still a conscious part of society here.]

The church was very beautiful, and definitely ornate inside. It also had a very elaborate organ in the back. It is a church that I hope to visit in a week, or very soon for a mass. Actually, when talking to Eva later in the day, Lutz and her actually attended mass there over the weekend. She said they were the only young adults there. She has a feeling as well that the upcoming generation has a lot less of a connection to religion. I think both of us agreed that being avid churchgoers weekly is difficult, we see planned to go together and see a mass soon.

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