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Travel

Germany's Top Five

From Chinese fireworks on Lake Constance in Germany's south to a Chancellor-approved tall ships festival in the North Sea port of Bremerhaven, DW-WORLD shows you the biggest festivals in Germany this week.

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Elephants take to the skies at the Borken Balloon Fest

"Love and the Bodensee are international," says a traditional folk song from the German-Swiss-Austrian Lake Constance region, the home of the legendary Constance Seenachtfest, held this year on August 13. The festival, which is famous for its dazzling fireworks display and illumination of the Bay of Constance, was first celebrated in 1507 to impress Emperor Maximilian, in town for an Imperial Diet. Since World War II, Constance has joined up with its Swiss sister city Kreuzlingen to form a larger and truly international summer party. This year's event will be highlighted by Chinese pyrotechnicians who have designed a special show of fireworks set to music.

Tanz im August Internationales Tanzfestival Berlin

The world premiere of Luc Dunberry's DON’T WE will be performed at Berlin's Tanz im August international dance festival.

Dance enthusiasts won't want to miss out on the 17th annual Tanz im August festival, held from August 11th to the 30th in Berlin. During the 20-day event, visitors will have a choice of 24 different productions in 12 different venues. More than just a series of performances, the festival has become a rendezvous for the international dance community and includes installations, films, lectures, discussions, and book presentations, all focusing on modern dance. The festival contributes to Berlin's status as a capital city not just of the German federal government but for the art world as well.

Ever since September 19th, 1783, when the French noblemen Joseph and Ettienne Montgolfier sent the first hot air balloon passengers -- a sheep, a duck, and a rooster --aloft, humankind has held a fascination with this first form of human flight, ballooning. These days, ballooning fans from Germany and abroad meet at the annual Borken Balloon Festival, also known as the Zippo Cup International Montgolfiade, held in the pastoral, green countryside of North Rhine-Westphalia's Münsterland. The four-day festival fills the sky with gently drifting, comical shapes, such as colossal barns, massive bees, titanic bottles, as well as more traditional blimp-shaped balloons.

The Rheingau region near the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers has been producing noble wines since Roman times. One of the best opportunities to sample a wide selection of the two basic types of wine, Riesling and Spätburgunder, is at the annual Rheingauer Wine Week in the Hessian state capital, Wiesbaden. The festival, held from August 12th to the 21st, boasts the longest wine bar in Germany with 110 stands open until midnight on the weekends. The traditional wine queen, ambassador of the local wineries, will pass her crown to the next wine queen in the presence of wine royalty from the last 30 years. Wine not?

Windjammer Leuchtturm von Bremerhaven

The tallship Alexander von Humboldt sails by the historical lighthouse of Bremerhaven in 1998. The Humboldt will attend the International Windjammer festival.

Set sail for Europe 's largest square-rigger festival, held from August 10th to the 14th in Germany's traditional harbour city, Bremerhaven. Over 200 windjammers and nearly 100 other sailing vessels will convene on the river Weser at Sail Bremerhaven 2005, bringing more than 5,000 crew from 26 nations with them. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, patron of the event, will appear on Sunday, also to honor the 50th anniversary of the founding of the post-war German armed forces and navy, the Bundeswehr and the Deutsche Marine. For the tall ships parade on Sunday, over 1,000 boats of all types are expected to participate, making it the largest sailing event in German history.

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