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Bonn was the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (previously, West Germany) and lies on the river Rhine some 20 km south of Cologne. The city remains a popular choice for large-scale exhibitions and conferences. Bonn is best known culturally as the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. Population 315,000.


Bonn's beginning dates to between 13 - 9 BC when Romans began building roads, bridges, and fortresses at a location known as "Bonna". One well documented event was the maryrdom of two Thebaean legionaries. The Thebaean Legion was an all Christian legion, which refused to worship the emperor as a god. As punishment the Thebaean Legion's commander, Mauritius was executed in St. Moritz as were many other Thebaean legionaries including Cassius and Florentius, Bonn's patron saints, who were martyred at the location of the present-day Münster basilica.

After the Romans left the town had a very tumultuous history. Bonn has been destroyed and pummeled on so many occassions that it nearly became a pastime. Norman invaders were the first to burn the town to the ground in 881 and again in 892. In 1198 King Philip of Swabia and Duke Heinrich von Brabant layed siege to Bonn. In 1244 Konrad von Hochstaden, archbishop of Cologne ordered Bonn to be fortified. The reasons for fortrification may have been for the Archbishop's protection as he had apparently begun fighting with Cologne's leaders and often resided in Bonn after the dispute. In 1288 under Sigfried II von Westerburg the archbishopric was transferred from Cologne to Bonn, which has since been transfered back to Cologne.

In 1582 Archbishop Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg converted to Calvinism and refused to give up his position as elector. In February of 1583 Waldburg married and was in April of the same year excommunicated by Pope Gregory XIII. After the Truschessian War Gebhard fled to Strassbourg, but not before Bonn felt the rapture of Bavarian troops, who blew up the Godesberg (the archbishop's residence) with 1,500 pounds of gun powder. While the town survived the Thirty Years war Bonn was completely destroyed in 1689 as a result of the War of the Grand Alliance.

In December 1770 Bonn's most famous son, Ludwig van Beethoven, was born on Bonngasse. Bonn is probably best known as Beethoven's birth place and this fact is well advertised by the city despite Beethoven's vehement disgust towards his hometown. Beethoven spent some time in Vienna hoping to study with Mozart, but after his mother's death he was forced to return to Bonn for five years to raise his two younger brothers since his alcholic father was unable to. In 1792 Beethoven returned to Vienna never to have returned to Bonn.

Get in

By air

The closest airport to Bonn is the Cologne-Bonn (German: Köln-Bonn) airport [27] (IATA: CGN, ICAO: EDDK). The airport handles far more air cargo traffic than passengers, but since the airport has become the hub for a few low-cost air carriers such as Germanwings and TUIfly the airport has seen a nearly two-fold rise in passenger traffic. From outside of Europe the airport is a very well kept secret - airlines will often offer on par or better rates to CGN than some of Europe's larger airports like Gatwick, Heathrow, or Charles de Gaulle. Several flights from New York City cost as low as $400 round trip.

From the airport, take the 670 airport bus to the middle of Bonn city. It leaves every 20-30 minutes from near the taxi stands at the airport. You can also take a train from the airport to Bonn-Beuel, which is the other side of the river from Bonn city (Zentrum).

By train

  • Bonn Hauptbahnhof, Am Hauptbahnhof 1, +49 / (0)228 / 715324 (, fax: +49 / (0)228 / 715324).

Get around


  • Das Bonner Münster, Gerhard-von-Are Straße 5, +49 (0)228 / 98 588 - 0 (), [1]. Hours: Church: 7:00 - 19:00. Cloister: 9:00 - 17:00. A beautiful basilica, in Bonn's city center. Only Bonn Information or the Bonner Münster Foundation are permitted to arrange guided tours to the basilica. The "Bonn Information" organization can arrange for non-German tours.
  • Kreuzbergkirche, Stationsweg 21, (), [2]. In summer: 09:00 AM – 18:00 PM. In winter: 09:00 AM – 17:00 PM. Visit of the Holy Staircase: 09:00 AM – 17:00 PM. The church is a beautiful example of baroque architecture. Today, the church serves as both a church and a German language and culture school, but is probably best known for the "Heiliger Steige". The church was erected in 1627/1628 on the orders of the archbishop to replace an older chapel. In 1746 Elector Clemens August von Bavarian donated the "Heiliger Steige", or holy staircase, which, according to legend has pieces of the cross the crucified Jesus set into the stone. Small brass crosses on the second, eleventh, and last steps mark the spots where the pieces of the cross are supposed to be set.
  • Deutsche Welle World Headquarters and Radio, Kurt-Schumacher-Straße 3, +49/(0)228/ 429-2538 (, fax: +49/(0)228/ 429-2040), [3]. Tours leave Mon. - Fri. at: 10:00 & 14:00. Deutsche Welle (Also known simply as DW) is Germany's international media outlet and is now housed in what was supposed to be the German parliment's home. After the German government decided to move the building was taken over by DW to become its world headquarters and home to its radio operations. Tours are conducted in German, however, tours can be conducted in English, French, Spanish, or Portugese when requested in advance. DW asks that anyone wishing to take a tour reserve at least two months in advance and may require you to be with a group of 6 - 20 persons, however, they may arrange an exception if contacted. Tours last an average of two hours. Tours are free.

The former capital

  • Palais Schaumburg, Adenauerallee 139/141. Until 2001 the was used to house the office of Germany's chancellor and the chancellor's cabinet. Today, the building is used as a secondary headquarters for the chancellor.
  • Villa Hammerschmidt, Adenauerallee 135. Between 1951 - 1994 the Villa Hammerschmidt served as the residence of the German President, however, since the relocation of the German government to Berlin the building serves as a secondary residence for the president.

Museums and Galleries

  • Beethoven-Haus, Bonngasse 18-26 (Take trams (62 or 66) or buses to Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz / Beethoven-Haus), +49 228-98175-0 (, fax: +49 228 98175-26), [4]. April 1 - October 31: Mon. - Sat.: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sundays & holidays: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. November 1 - March 31: Mon. - Sat.: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays & holidays: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed New Year's Day, Carnival-Thursday, the Monday preceding Ash Wednesday, Carnival-Tuesday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and from 24 to 26 December, New Year's eve. The birthplace of the great composer is now a museum dedicated to his life and work. Somewhat ironically Bonn advertises their hometown son despite Beethoven's vehment hatred for his hometown. With a competent docent this museum is well worth the visit and is more interesting than Mozart's Geburthaus in Salzburg.
  • August Macke Haus, Bornheimer Straße 96 (U-Bahn stop: Bonn West), +49 (0)228 / 65 55 31 (, fax: 49 (0)228 / 69 15 50), [5]. Hours: Tues - Fri. 2:30 - 6:00 pm. Sa, Sun, & holidays 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. August Macke a leading member of Der Blaue Reiter, a famous expressionist group, lived in this house with his wife, Elizabeth, for a few years and produced over 400 works in the top floor studio. Admission (regular/reduced): Adults: €3.50 / €2.50, Children: €2.50/ €1.50.
  • Haus der Geschichte, Willy-Brandt-Allee 14, +49 (0)228 / 91 65-0 (, fax: +49 (0)228 / 91 65-302), [6]. Tue - Sun 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Closed on December 23, 24, and 31. The museum is open with limited hours during the Christmas season. A interesting explanation of German history. Exhibitions are presented in German only, but guidebooklets with English translations are available for a couple Euros, and guided tours for school groups conducted in english are available free of charge when prebooked. Free admission for individuals. Tour groups with a guide €35..
  • Kunstmuseum Bonn, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 2 (Museumsmeile. U-Bahn stop: Heussallee. Bus 610 will also stop at Heussallee), +49 (0)228 / 776260, [7]. Tues. – Sun.: 11am - 6 pm, Wed.: 11am - 9 pm. Closed on Mondays; Februrary 23 and 27;, December 24, 25, and 31.. Admission: Adults: €3. Students, Children (over 6), and Bonn-Card holders: €1.50. Family ticket: €6..
  • Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4, +49 (0)228 / 9171-0, [8].
  • Deutsches Museum Bonn, Ahrstraße 45 (U-Bahn stop: Hochkreuz/Deutsches Museum Bonn), +49 (0)228 / 302-255 (, fax: +49 (0)228 / 302-254), [9]. Tues. - Sun.: 10 - 18. Closed Mondays; Thursday before Fat Tuesday; Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday); Good Friday; May 1; December 24, 25, and 31.. Admission: Regular: €4, Children (6 years+): €2.50, Family ticket: €7.
  • Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Adenauerallee 160, +49 (0)228 / 9122 211 (, fax: +49 (0)228 / 9122 212), [10]. Hours: Tue., Thurs. - Sun.: 10:00 - 18. Wed.: 10.00 - 21. Closed most Mondays (except on legal holidays); Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve. Zoological museum. Admission: Regular: € 3, Discounter (Seniors, students): €1.50.
  • Aegyptisches Museum, Regina-Pacis-Weg 7 (University of Bonn. U-Bahn stop: Universität / Markt), +49 (0)228 / 739710 (, fax: +49 (0)228 / 737360), [11]. Hours: Tues. - Sun.: Noon - 18. Closed Mondays and holidays. The University of Bonn administered Egyptian Museum. Admission: Adults: €3.50, Students and Children (7 years+): €2.50, Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children): €9.



  • Beethovenfest, +49 /(0)228/ 2010 345 (, fax: +49 /(0)228/ 2010 333), [12]. A month long music festival with numerous concerts held in Bonn and aroung the Siebengebirge region. Many international musicians are showcased during the festival.
  • Rhein in Flammen, [13].
  • Pützchens Markt, [14].
  • R(h)einKultur, [15]. one of the biggest open-air festivals, entrance free

Music & Theatre

  • Bonner Kammerchor, (), [16]. An amateur chamber choir made up of roughly forty members. The choir occasionally hosts free shows.
  • Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Wachsbleiche 1, +49 /(0)228/ 45 49 3-0 (, fax: +49 /(0)228/ 45 49 3-25), [17].


  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (Universität Bonn), [18].



  • Bierhaus Machold on Heerstrasse, near the corner of Wolfstrasse, Altstadt (Old City). Food from 17:00-23:00. [28]. Excellent German food and good beer in a nice pub. Beer garden in summer. Try the Jägerschnitzel! 7-15 EUR for mains.
  • Soup in the city a small bistro, where you get soups and salads, hand made and really good. Also fruit juices and baguettes. You can eat for 4-8 EUR. Open: Monday - Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 12 a.m. tp 4 p.m. Web (only german) [29]
  • Ristorante Caminetto (Römerstrasse 83) a very nice and delicious italian restaurant in the heart of the city of Bonn, where you get a selection of the finest wines and meals of the region of Piemont You cannot eat for 4-8 EUR, but it is really good food. Open: Monday - Saturday 12:00 - 14:30 and 18:00 - 23:00 Web [30]



  • Schokoladen, Münsterstrasse 7, Bonn, [20]. Schokoladen is located close to the central station . This small café offers excellent chocolate-based drinks. Fresh made with melted chocolate and milk you can enjoy it hot, cold or mixed with coffee or other drinks. You can also have a chocolate fondue there with fresh fruits and cookies.
  • Cafetiero, Mauspfad. Best Latte Macciato in the town, but open only during the day.
  • Einstein Cafe, Mauspfad. The Einstein Cafe boasts excellent espresso, comparable to Starbucks. One of the few branches of the Berlin-based chain outside of Berlin.
  • Café Blau (blue), Franziskaner Strasse. : Mainly visited by students, this café is located in the entrance hall of a public swimming pool. It is kind of "cult" to go there, even the food is not so good.
  • Brasserie, Remigius Platz (near Marktplatz). : Large café, brasserie, restaurant. Good brunch on sundays.
  • Café Fassbender, Corner Sternstrasse and Dreieck. Café Fassbenderthey is known for its cake. It is a pastry shop and a café. Often very crowded. It is a great location for elderly people to visit.
  • Café Göttlich, Mauspfad. Cozy café with some of the best espresso in town.
  • Fiddler's Irish Pub, Frongasse 9, Bonn-Endenich. Fiddler's is an Irish Pub that serves traditional Irish fare. Events such as weekly Karaoke and Pub Trivia are popular with the student crowd. As a bonus for travelers, a good percentage of the staff will be native English speakers as well.

Clubs and Discos

  • BLOW UP, Rathausgasse 10. Dive bar. Speciality is funk and 60's. It can get smokey and very hot when crowded.
  • Carpe Noctem, Wesselstrasse 5, 53113 Bonn, [21]. Underground rock club with young patrons. Has occasional student parties boasting free entry and half-price drinks. If the club is packed, it will get uncomfortably hot. Dress light.
  • Drei Raum Wohnung, Boeselagerhof 15, 53111 Bonn - Innenstadt. Loosely translates to "Three Room Apartment". Very interesting joint with two completely different atmospheres depending on where you are. The ground floor is a stylish lounge with mixed drink specialties that caters to the slightly older theater crowd. The basement has an open dance floor, cheap beer specials and a live DJ. The basement also has a "bedroom" and "living room" with seating to get away from the dance floor for a rest. The real crowd shows up here late with the dance floor usually not filling up until after 23:00.


  • Auerberg Galerie Design Hotel, Kölnstrasse 360-364, +49 (0)228 1848-0 (fax: +49 (0)228 1848-1825), [22].
  • Best Western Premier Hotel Domicil [31]
  • Bildungsstätte Haus Venusberg e. V. [32]
  • Derag Hotel Kanzler, Adenauerallee 148, +49 (0)228-68 44-0 (, fax: +49 (0)228-68 44-160), [23].
  • Dorint Sofitel Venusberg [33]
  • Hilton Bonn, Berliner Freiheit 2, +49-(0)228-72690 (fax: +49-(0)228-72697005), [24].
  • Steigenberger Grandhotel Petersberg [35]
  • Tagungs- und Bildungshaus CJD Bonn [36]
  • Youth Hostel Bonn Venusberg [37]



  • Hotel Eden, Am Hofgarten 6, +49 (0)228/ 289710 (, fax: +49 (0)228/ 225070), [25]. Single room: € 70 - 85. Double room: € 85 - 115.



  • Deutsche Post - main post office, Münsterplatz 17, [26]. Hours: Mon. - Fri.: 09:00-20:00. Sat.: 09:00-16:00. Closed Sundays..

Get out

  • Cologne
  • Königswinter Is the home to Drachenfels (1010 ft.), crowned by the ruins of a castle built early in the 12th century by the archbishop of Cologne, rises behind the town. From the summit, which can be accessed by the Drachenfels Railway, there is a magnificent view, celebrated by Lord Byron in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. A cave in the hill is said to have sheltered the dragon which was slain by the hero Siegfried.
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