Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

The Majesty of Bonn: Germany’s Capital Before Berlin

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

If you’ve ever wondered what the capital city of Germany was before Berlin, the answer lies in the charming and historically-rich city of Bonn.

The Rise of Bonn as the Capital

From the dawn of the German Empire in 1871 until reunification in 1990, Bonn proudly held the title of Germany’s capital. This decision was made primarily due to geopolitical factors resulting from the division of Germany after World War II.

Being located in the western part of the country, Bonn was chosen as the provisional capital due to its proximity to the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.

The Historical Significance of Bonn

Bonn has a rich history that dates back over 2,000 years. It was originally founded as a Roman settlement, known as “Bonna,” and served as a regional administrative center. Over the centuries, it evolved into a prominent city with cultural, political, and educational influences.

One of the most iconic figures associated with the city is Ludwig van Beethoven. The famous composer was born in Bonn in 1770, and his birthplace is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.

Transitioning from Berlin to Bonn

After World War II, Germany found itself divided into two separate entities: the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Berlin, the former capital of the German Empire, shared a similar fate and became divided between the two states.

With the establishment of the German Federal Republic, it was decided that Berlin would remain the capital of both West Germany and East Germany. However, due to the tense Cold War climate, the capital of West Germany was temporarily moved to Bonn.

This decision not only ensured a safer location away from the potential conflict zone but also helped to prevent one single city from becoming the center of Germany, fueling concerns about potential dominance.

Bonn as a Political Hub

During its time as the capital, Bonn witnessed significant political activities. The German government, known as the Bundestag, had its seat in Bonn, along with various federal ministries and agencies.

With a population of around 300,000 at its height, Bonn’s infrastructure and services were tailored to support the governmental institutions that called it home.

Bonn’s Legacy

While Berlin regained its status as Germany’s capital after reunification, Bonn left a lasting legacy. The city’s time as the capital was marked by progress, reforms, and rebuilding after the devastation of World War II.

Many landmarks and institutions of historical importance are scattered throughout Bonn. The Museum Mile, for example, is a collection of important museums located in close proximity, including the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany and the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Bonn is also home to several renowned research institutes and universities, which continue to contribute to the city’s intellectual and cultural vibrancy.

Exploring Bonn Today

If you plan to visit Bonn, you will find a city that effortlessly blends its rich history with modern amenities. The Beethoven House and Museum should be on top of your list, allowing you to delve into the life of the musical genius.

Bonn’s picturesque Rhine promenade, lined with cafes and restaurants, offers a beautiful setting for a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to visit Poppelsdorf Palace, which houses the Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens.

Furthermore, Bonn is known for hosting various annual events and festivals, such as the Beethoven Festival, attracting music enthusiasts from around the world.

Conclusion

While Berlin is undoubtedly the capital of Germany today, Bonn played a crucial role in the country’s history as its capital for many years. From its Roman foundations to its political significance during the Cold War, Bonn continues to be a captivating destination for those interested in exploring Germany’s past.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free