Kobe is a treasure trove of unique architectural and historical monuments. Many old buildings and cultural centers were completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1995 but later restored by the efforts of local residents. An incredibly beautiful 19th-century historical monument is the Ijinkan, a complex of several luxurious old mansions. Once they belonged to wealthy foreign diplomats and local merchants. Now the architectural ensemble is surrounded by a lush garden. The best time to visit this picturesque place is spring when old houses are buried in flowering trees. The mansions operate as museums, presenting interesting collections of antiques and works of art. A very symbolic place for Kobe is Meriken Park. On the territory of this park is the Kobe Port Tower, which is the main symbol of the city. A few years ago, a memorial was erected here in honor of the victims of the devastating earthquake. It would be interesting to visit the main city park in the evening. After dark, the tower and many other objects in the park are spectacularly illuminated. Every spring the park is decorated with flowers, more than 10,000 tulips alone are planted here every year. The city offers dozens of museums and galleries, and Hakutsuru is among the most unusual ones. This museum occupying a beautiful historic building decorated in the style of past years introduces visitors to sake-making traditions. Local people consider the strong rice drink to be one of their main national symbols.
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