IN PICTURES: Rosenmontag Carnival celebrations go ahead despite storm

There are bound to be a few hangovers today after revellers partied hard for Rosenmontag, the highlight of the carnival season, despite gusts and rain. Here are some of the best pictures.

IN PICTURES: Rosenmontag Carnival celebrations go ahead despite storm
The AfD's Björn Höcke is depicted as a baby being held by Nazi minister Joseph Goebbels in the Düsseldorf Rosenmontag parade. Photo: DPA

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets in cities including Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz and other towns throughout Germany.

SEE ALSO: Storm threatens carnival celebrations across western Germany

Rosenmontag traditionally represents the highlight of the carnival season, with schools closed and parades in several cities across Germany. The day also features the Rosenmontagszügen (Rose Monday Trains), a parade of intricately designed floats with a cheeky focus on political satire.

Despite a storm dubbed “Bennet” that led to partial cancellations of Rose Monday festivities, the mood could not be dampened.

SEE ALSO: Fasching: Tracing the roots of south Germany's 'dark carnival'

The Mainz Carnival Association estimated that about 450,000 people followed the parade along the roadside – slightly fewer attendees than usual, reported German broadcaster, Tagesschau.

Below, a participant braves the rain to take part in the 68th Rosenmontag procession in Mainz. (Photo: DPA)

Organizers in Düsseldorf said the number of visitors to their parade was around 600,000. In Cologne, where the parade was given the go-ahead at the last minute due to the weather situation, the number of visitors was thought to be higher than last year. However the festival committee there did not provide an estimate.

SEE ALSO: 10 words you need to know at Cologne's Carnival

Below, a float in Cologne depicts Brexit. (Photo: DPA)

Carnival parades were cancelled in several places because of the weather, including in Bottrop and Hattingen in the Ruhr area, and in Fulda and Seligenstadt in Hesse. In many other cities the parades started later. Augsburg cancelled an open-air party on the Rathausplatz due to strong gusts.

Below, Karneval enthusiasts don waterproof clothes to take part in the parade. Photo: DPA

SEE ALSO: From Cologne to Cottbus: Where to celebrate Carnival in Germany

Meanwhile, during the procession in Aachen, a 24-year-old man fell out of a window and landed on a spectator. Both were seriously injured and rushed to hospital.

Trump, AfD and Brexit popular targets of ridicule

As is always the case, carnival float organizers didn't hold back when it came to targetting the world's politicians. The most popular target was – once again – US President Donald Trump.

Once again, the Düsseldorf parade proved to be particularly political and provocative.

In Düsseldorf the Trump figure held his protective hands over a depiction of the Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman with a blood-soaked chainsaw as a “dirty angel” – a nod to the murder of the Saudi government critic and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Photo: DPA

The central theme in Düsseldorf was right-wing populism – with a focus on Italy, Poland and in Germany. One float, which was kept secret until the parade beginning, showed the Thuringian Alternative for Germany (AfD) boss Björn Höcke with Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

Höcke was depicted as a baby in diapers, as Goebbels held him up, like a father held his son. The motif was hidden under a tarpaulin until the start of the procession.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May was shown in a bad light at the parade in Düsseldorf, as this DPA photo shows.

It wasn't all about ridiculing politicians, though. The environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg was shown in another float in Düsseldorf with the motto: 'finally doing something about the climate catastrophe'.

Photo: DPA

The centre-right CDU's Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was slammed over a carnival joke ridiculing intersex people at an event last week, was shown in an embrace with the centre-left SPD leader Andrea Nahles in another float in Düsseldorf, as this DPA picture shows. The float was a nod to the grand coalition (known as GroKo) that includes both parties.

SEE ALSO: Merkel successor slammed over intersex toilet joke

Across Germany now the clean up is underway after the Carnival.

Today is known in Germany as Fastnacht (fast night), the final day of Karneval. However, there is no fasting – there is lots of eating and drinking. Its the equivalent of Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Pancake Day.

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Ancient Jewish settlement to be brought back to life in Cologne

No city north of the Alps has been home to Jews for as long as the Roman settlement of Cologne. A recently discovered Jewish quarter is now being brought back to life.

Ancient Jewish settlement to be brought back to life in Cologne
The site of the construction in Cologne. Photo: DPA

If you are a tourist walking through the centre of Cologne, sooner rather than later, you'll come across a construction site located in the very best position, in the middle of the town hall square.

At the beginning of this millennium, the people of Cologne dug into the earth directly in front of their historic city hall and found a treasure from another millennium: the Jewish quarter.

Complete with a dance hall, a hospital, a bakery and a synagogue, the quarter contains the ruins of a settlement from the Middle Ages. It is a city within a city, a miniature world of houses huddled together. 

Of course, all that is left is ruins – one needs a bit of imagination to picture how the whole thing once looked. But experts from Germany and abroad agree: there's nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

Ancient tradition

No other German city has been associated with Jewish history for so long as Cologne. 

The first documented Jewish community dates back to the year 321, making it the oldest north of the Alps. 

But in 1349, the neighbourhood was destroyed and its inhabitants were murdered or expelled. Local Christians blamed Jews for the outbreak of the plague.

Currently, a museum is being built over the site on the town hall square. It will be a parallel world underground: visitors will be able to relive life in the Jewish quarter in the era of knights and minstrels on a 600-meter-long trail. The trail also visits the governor's palace from Roman times, which was rediscovered in the 1950s. 

The museum is called MiQua after the name for the Jewish ritual bath, Mikveh.

Exhibits will include artifacts found during the excavations; among them is a crescent-shaped, gem-set gold earring from the 11th century. 

The researchers also discovered a tablet dating back to the Middle Ages with the inscription “yt in ys neyt anders.” This could be translated as “Et is wie et is” (It is as it is) – a classic Cologne saying. 

The museum is scheduled to open in 2024, but through the panorama windows on the third floor of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, also located on Rathausplatz, one can already follow the progress of construction work.

This year Jewish life will be celebrated across the country – the anniversary year '1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany' will be celebrated nationwide. 

Hamburg is organising a themed week entitled 'More than Little Jerusalem'; in Nuremberg the photo exhibition 'Germany's Emigrants' will be opened; and in Herxheim in Rhineland-Palatinate the play Judas by Lot Vekemans will be staged.

READ MORE: 9 hilarious gifts Judaism gave the German language