Some 6 million people are expected to this year’s Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer party that runs from September 20 to October 5 in Munich, Germany.
Munich mayor Dieter Reiter opened the city’s annual Oktoberfest with the traditional call of “Ozapft is” to the delight of thousands who had managed to get a place in the main beer tent on September 20.
According to Oktoberfest website, on weekend the tents often close before 11 AM, because of overfilling. During the week the tents are normally open until afternoon.
This year’s Oktoberfest runs from September 20 to October 5 in Munich
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a horse race. In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September.
The locals in Munich fondly refer to Oktoberfest as “die Wiesn” because of its location, Theresienwiese, which was named after Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
The main highlight of the Wiesn events and an important must-see is the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade. The parade happens every year on the first Wiesn Sunday.
Other important events are the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Official Tapping of the Keg, the Oktoberfest Mass , “Böllerschießen” (handheld canon salute) in front of the Bavaria statue and – this year- an agricultural festival.
Southern and eastern German cities are on high alert as heavy floodwaters swell rivers including the Elbe.
In Halle, an appeal has gone out to residents to help reinforce flood defenses while Dresden is preparing for water levels 5 m higher than normal.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised 100 million euros ($130 million) in emergency aid for flood-hit areas.
Meanwhile, river levels in Prague have begun to fall, say the Czech authorities, as floodwaters move north.
Overnight, flood barriers on the River Vltava in the south of the country were raised, releasing a torrent of water.
However, Prague’s flood defenses appear to have held, and the risk of severe flooding in the city centre seems to be receding.
The city of Regensburg has declared a state of emergency, while in the state of Saxony – which includes Dresden – officials were warning of higher water levels than during the record floods of 2002.
The bodies of two people, a man and a woman, were found separately around the southern town of Guenzburg. At least seven people have died in the Czech Republic and two in Austria after days of heavy rain.
Hungary has also declared a state of emergency. Floodwaters on the Danube are expected to peak there on Thursday.
Southern and eastern German cities are on high alert as heavy floodwaters swell rivers including the Elbe
Germany has drafted in the army to help with flood defences.
In the Bavarian town of Passau, floodwaters reached a level not seen since the 16th Century, but have now begun to recede.
Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the worst affected regions on Tuesday, flying over Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia by helicopter.
She promised 100 million euros in immediate aid, of which 50 million euros will go to Bavaria.
In the Czech Republic, a nationwide state of emergency is still in force. Water levels are expected to peak in the north later on Tuesday.
Around 3,000 people have been forced to leave their homes across the west of the country.
As a precaution, Prague’s metro system and central sewage treatment plant were closed, metal flood defenses were erected and sandbags built up along the banks of the Vltava.
The Charles Bridge – normally packed with tourists – was shut and tigers at the city’s zoo were tranquilized and moved out of an enclosure thought to be at risk.
A system of nine dams called the Vltava Cascade was found to be dangerously full, and the floodgates were opened at 20:00 local time on Monday night.
North of Prague, further downstream, the River Elbe is rising to levels approaching those seen in 2002, the last time Europe experienced similar floods.
Seventeen people were killed in the Czech Republic in August 2002 and the cost of the damage across the continent was estimated at 20 billion euros ($26 billion).
Main roads in many areas of central Europe have been closed and rail services cut. Thousands of homes are without power.
In Austria, the meteorological service said two months of rain had fallen in just two days.
Adolf Hitler’s tea house, placed on the top of a Bavarian mountain, has become one of the most visited sites in Germany.
German Tourism authorities announced that over 300,000 people visited the tea house in a year. This is nearly 30,000 up on last year.
The tea house on the peak of the Kehlstein Mountain was built for Hitler as a 50th birthday gift by Nazi party secretary Martin Bormann in 1939.
Adolf Hitler’s tea house, placed on the top of a Bavarian mountain, has become one of the most visited sites in Germany
Hitler’s Berghof home on the mountain was destroyed by the Allies in bombing raids and after WW2, but the tea house survived and became a tourism attraction in peacetime.
According to officials, most visitors to the mountain are Americans followed by Britons; combined they make up 85% of the people who came to see where Hitler ate cream cakes with his mistress Eva Braun and snoozed in chintz chairs as the world war he started raged.
Germans make up just a small proportion of visitors to the “Eagle’s Nest” tea house.
For 20 euros (about $30) , visitors to the house 6,000 feet up are rewarded with spectacular views and can get refreshments from the privately run restaurant, including roast pork with dumplings and cabbage, salads and sandwiches, that operates in summer months inside it.
There is even a gift shop.
Visitors access the tea house on a bus via a serpent-like mountain road called the Kehlsteinstrabe and enter a golden brass lift built into the mountain side, itself accessed via a tunnel through the granite.
The Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest in English) is built in a chalet-style taking 13 months to construct.
The tea house was finished in the summer of 1938 before it was presented to Hitler a year later, but he only made a few visits to the chalet partly due to his fear of heights.
After the war, the retreat place was used by the Allies as a military command post until 1960 when it was handed back to the State of Bavaria.
The new tourist attraction is 1834m above sea level and is perched on a rock wall having cost 30 million Reichsmarks to build (about $180 million today).