Crusaders, luther – and even the pope

Among the 11.000 exhibitors from 188 countries on the 45. ITB, which ends this Sunday, is once again showcasing some of its religious heritage. But it's not even the countries known as typically Catholic.

Crusaders of all things. With the men from the Middle Ages, who were supposed to bring Christianity to the "infidels" by force, Israel and Romania are promoting their country at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin. At Israel's booth, a live "knight" on a horse dummy even greets guests. Some representatives of Romania at the ITB have put on white robes with crosses on them. They invite the visitors of their stand to the events, which take place on the occasion of the foundation of the Order Knights Niederlangen 800 years ago in Transylvania.

Among the 11.000 exhibitors from 188 countries at the 45th ITB. ITB, which ends this Sunday, some present themselves again with their religious heritage. But these are not even the countries known as typical Catholic countries. So this year's ITB guest country, Poland, prefers to highlight its landscapes and culinary delights rather than its church buildings. Even at a second glance, the Spanish stand does not reveal that the country has one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations, Santiago de Compostela. Instead, the large-scale posters are emblazoned with idyllic beaches and plenty of sunshine. At least Ireland praises its ancient churches and monasteries in brochures.

A German region, on the other hand, from which one would not have expected it, ostentatiously advertises its Christian roots: among the 16 federal states, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia present their sacred buildings in a way that does not at all correspond to the minority situation in which the churches there find themselves. In addition, they are profiling themselves as the heartland of the Reformation and well equipped for the commemorative year 2017, in which the Protestant Church commemorates Luther's publication of the theses on church reform in 1517. Wittenberg and Mansfeld show off their historic Luther sites at their own booths. A double of Albrecht of Brandenburg, Luther's powerful adversary, patiently answers visitors' questions in a bright red cardinal's robe.

The Pope is also represented
At the Saxony-Anhalt stand, Uta and Ekkehard, the famous donor figures from Naumburg Cathedral, are already greeting visitors from afar. In an exhibition tunnel you can even see two original casts of the sculptures. You refer to the national exhibition about the Naumburg Master, who painted the figures in the 13th century. Century created. At the end of June, it will be opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Thuringia's tourism association even already offers Pope Benedict XVI. The Saxony-Anhalt stand will probably be open to the public on 23 March. September visits. Not only the Catholics, but all of Thuringia is looking forward to the Holy Father, says a press release. At the stands of Berlin and Baden-Wuerttemberg, where Benedict XVI. is also expected, his visit, on the other hand, is not yet an ie.

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