Celebrations across Germany have marked the country's Day of Unity, with tens of thousands drawn to the main ceremony in Stuttgart. Among those present were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck.
Some 400,000 people took part in the official reunification celebrations on Thursday in Stuttgart, which began with an ecumenical church service led by the country's top Catholic and Protestant clerics.
The rest of the day was devoted to German cultural exhibits and entertainment around Stuttgart.
Every year on October 3, a different city plays host to the official Day of German Unity celebrations to mark the peaceful unification of the former East and West Germany in 1990.
President Gauck (pictured above) officially opened the festivities with a speech at the Stuttgart's Liederhalle convention center. He referred to Germany's leading role in the international community in his comments.
"Our country is not an island," Gauck said. "We should not be under the illusion, that we can be spared from political and economic, ecologic and military conflicts if we don't take part in finding their solutions."
Gauck qualified this, however, by saying there was a balance to be sought.
"I would not want Germany to start taking on a larger role in order to patronize other countries. But then I also would not want Germany to seek only a minimal [international] role just to avoid showing solidarity or taking risks," Gauck said.
mz/hc (dpa, AFP)