Old buildings left me in awe

When is something considered old? In fashion it might be three months. When it comes to cars and trucks, it could be 10 years.
A home might be considered old when it has been around for 50-60 years. A person might be considered old at age 70 or 80.
Buildings in Canada could be considered old from age 40 to age 125. By our standards, much of historic Germany, Austria, and Hungary must be ancient.
After travelling for two weeks up the Rhine and then down the Danube, I gained a new appreciation for the age of buildings.
Our guide in Cologne spoke of buildings not being considered old until they were at least 200 years of age. When she spoke of the Cologne Cathedral, one of the most visited sites in Germany, I learned it took almost 600 years to complete and some of the parts of this historic building dated back to 1248.
The building was not completed until 1880. And it took 11 years following the Second World War to restore the structure after it had been struck by 14 direct hits.
I wonder if we would place the same efforts on some of our historic buildings in Canada.
The repairs and maintenance to the building are ongoing. My wife and I learned—and saw—the immense effort by all the towns and cities along our journey to preserve their historic buildings.
Prior to World War I, Vienna had been a cultural hub in Europe, competing with Budapest as the cultural capital. Following the First World War and the collapse of the Austrian Hungarian Empire, Vienna became its own city-state.
The bombings and the vicious fighting during the latter stages of the Second World War devastated Vienna heavily. Many of the historic buildings were destroyed in the bombardment and painstakingly were reconstructed after the war.
Today, as you walk through the city centre square, past the Vienna Opera House, the castles, and the apartment homes and offices that originally were built in the 1840s one begins to understand the grandeur of the city in those times.
Today the city square is a World Heritage site, as are many of the towns along the Rhine and the Danube.
Moving on to Budapest, a city that I doubted I would choose to travel to, it also is a treasure, with its huge parliament building on the water and the shops and avenues that exist as they did in the mid-1800s.
For all these towns and cities, whether a walled-in village of 900 people grouped around an abbey such as Durnstein, Germany, or a flourishing capital like Cologne or Vienna, or Bratislava or Budapest, it does not take a lot of imagination to understand the historical culture of the region.
The history comes alive. The churches and castles speak of a time gone by. It is a point of pride for the citizens of those communities to tell you the stories of their towns and villages.
They don’t gloss over the issues of the 1930s and 1940s. They tell the bad with the good, and let you know that they will never let that happen again.

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