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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nelson

Freiburg and Münster

Wir sind hier. “Hier” bedeutet Freiburg, Deutschland, ein grünes Fleckchen Land in der Mitte von Baden-Württemberg neben dem Schwarzwald. Ich bin hier, weil meine Klasse über Stustainability lernen will. Heute sind wir durch die Altstadt von Freiburg gegangen. Obwohl sie alt war, standen überall auch neue Läden herum. Die Altstadt war älter, als viele Amerikaner denken. Denn Amerikaner denken, dass das 16. Jahrhundert alt ist. Hier ist alles älter als Amerika und das 16. Jahrhundert.

Okay, das stimmt so nicht. Aber alle Gebäude, Läden und Straßen sind älter als wir denken. Am ältesten war das Münster, eine wichtige Kirche von Freiburg.

The Münster is definitely one of the oldest buildings in Freiburg. Not just from its impressive height and visible wear and tear from time, but the history within is clear and prominent. Like every other Katholisches Kirche, there is history woven and built upon throughout the structure. There are rows of names, sections for different types of worship, and a crypt for the lineage of leadership. This is built for time and age in mind, a place to grow using the past we’ve started.

When we first approached, there was a small amount of construction toward the northern part of the tower, leaving der Marktplatz even more crowded than it normally is, which I’m assuming is already pretty packed. There was an external elevator of sorts around the side of the tower pictured left. I can’t even try to describe what the reason it’s there for. So instead, I’ll just take note that it’s there and use its illustrative powers and generate a construction image for you.

Grates. Fences. Loud machines. Tall elevators. People in orange uniforms. Hard hats. Busy looking people. Fast. Careful.

Before we even step inside the cathedral, There’s a fairly large collection of figures, all sculpted from the material

underneath it. It depicts, from bottom to top, the life of Jesus Christ and the important figures that appeared in his lifetime and shortly thereafter. They looked faded, but that could mostly be from weather, time, and its proximity to sun (damage). A net was underneath it, to catch whatever might fall, or stop whatever from coming up to the sculpture. I was thinking it might have something to do with the current construction nearby, but even then why would they have a net to catch just dust from the nearby construction? Safety? Protection?

Once we walked in, it was silent. Empty pews. A single person stayed at the desk by the entrance to help guide tourists. Empty corridors. Tourists taking their camera out. Turning off the flash. Small sound of the shutter. We walked past faded tapestries, paints, broken railings, woods, dirty walls, floors; things were roped off. Things were slowly falling apart.

This is when I started to think about why on earth we were here anyway. This class is technically called “Sustainability in Freiburg.” Okay, so all about being sustainable and staying up to the best standards that are healthy for the future and for today. We need to make sure our needs our met and our future needs are met. That’s what we will be learning about throughout the entire course. In an effort to jump ahead of all things (like I always try to do on purpose in some moments and on accident in others), I started to look at this church through someone who would want to sustain this church a few years after it was built.

How could we have known that pollution was going to make the outside of our church look so bad and black if we didn’t even know of cars and further pollutants? How were we to prepare for such a dramatic thing? How were we supposed to know that the flashes that jump from cameras attack paintings and tapestries like termites, tearing the quality? How do we prepare for that sort of destruction? There are factors like these the architects and artists would be asking. And these are the sort of questions we should be asking about everything, even the factors that might not be something we think about preserving now. Each factor has its costs and needs to be interviewed on its own.

It’s hard to make an entire correlation between factors within a church and the environment, but let’s try to see what sort of damage we can do.

In the environment, we try to take care of everything around us. We have rivers, grasses, the air, and we try to take care of it as best we see possible, knowing that it gives each of us life. If we knew that one of these resources was in danger, we would want to do something about it. If we didn’t do anything about it, we might as well just call it quits. If these started to be physically polluted, that is when we would want to do something about it. We would want to purify our water like we wanted to clean the sides of the church after pollution blackens it. We would want to reestablish what it means to respect the air like how we would respect a painting, considering we can’t get the painter back to fix it and God to fix the air and grass.

Respect the turning world, and it will respect you back is our theory.

Things Noted within the church: Faded Tapestry, Paintings, Woods, Stones The Rail around the Alter was missing a Spear Outside/Inside Walls smudged in Black Webbed Nets near Entrance Coins tossed onto Roof Memorials with several Donor Names New Signs over Old Walls

This truly can’t be all of it. More to follow. As for now, I’ll finish reading what I need to for tomorrow’s class period.

Note: These entries will be both in German and English. Translate through Google at your leisure.

Viele Grüße

Nicholas Nelson

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