Tag Archives: Germany

Where dragons walked

Siegfried and the dragon
Siegried slays the dragon, in an illustration by Arthur Rackham. This is one of the set of illustrations for Wagner’s Ring operas that fascinated C.S. Lewis as a boy.

An article at Wonders and Marvels suggests that the legends of medieval dragons in Germany, most particularly that of Siegfried the Dragonslayer, may arise from fossil tracks still visible in that country.

Notably, conspicuous fossil trackways of two types of massive dinosaurs are found in Germany. In 1941, the German paleontologist H. Kirchner speculated that observations of Triassic dinosaur tracks in sandstone near Siegfriedsburg in the Rhine Valley of western Germany might have been the inspiration for the legend about the dragon Fafnir’s footprints.

I share this, of course, purely for your amusement. All sensible people know that dragons survived in Europe well into the early medieval period, when they were slain by Christian saints.

Hat tip: Mirabilis.

Nazi Resort Finally Opens Though Unfinished

Hitler had the vision for a grand seaside resort on Rügen, an island in the Baltic Sea. He spent three years building it but did not complete it before turning his attention to war efforts. For years, Germans have argued about destroying vs. preserving it for history. Now, a design company has developed most of the complex into luxury condos and will preserve a portion of it as a historic memorial.

Metropole’s Manfred Hartwig told the Daily Mail, “The past is the past. Prora may have been built by the Nazis , but it was never used by them or their soldiers. Now the place is so lovely, visitors want to get back to nature and enjoy its beauty.”

NPR explains:

The resort was owned and run by the Nazis’ Kraft Durch Freude or “Strength Through Joy” leisure movement, a state-run organization designed to promote the advantages of National Socialism to the German working class. . . .

[Developer Ulrich] Busch has opened a hotel called Prora Solitaire in one of the buildings, which also includes 150 individually owned condominiums.

Busch says even in its unfinished state, the hotel boasted an 89 percent occupancy rate this past summer. The resort, he says, appeals to Germans curious about the Nazi past and those seeking to vacation closer to home, following recent terrorist attacks elsewhere in Europe.