Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photo of the Week: Kepler was Published Here

This is an original printing house from the early modern era in Nuremberg, Germany. As the city was 97 percent destroyed by allied bombing in World War Two, most of the "Old Town" is actually reconstructed (ironically using the Nazis' documentation as a reference). Walking through the town, however, it's possible to spot some of the older buildings.

They don't look new. Though they are repainted and well-kept, the original buildings have a certain rustic quality that is unmistakable when they are viewed next to the postwar ones.

While I was on a bus and walking tour, I saw this building as we passed it and asked my guide about it. She told me that, yes, it is an original building from the 1500s, and was actually a printing house. It was where the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler first published his theory of a heliocentricity, meaning that the sun was the center of the solar system.

Popular belief at the time, backed by the Catholic church, said Earth was the center of the universe, and Kepler's challenge of that was one of the great advances in astronomy.

As we walked away, it occurred to me that the house was not even a side note to the regular tour, and made me appreciate just how much has happened in some of these cities.

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