Regions and Cities of Germany
- Lower Saxony
- North Rhine Westphalia
- Frisian Islands
- Harz Mountains
Stuttgart, probably the "greenest" city in Europe, is situated in an exuberant valley filled with vineyards and dense woodland, very close to the Black Forest. The city is also one of Germany's main wine producing cities and its many health resorts and mineral spring spas form part of an irresistible attraction to those seeking to relax and get away from it all. Stuttgart enjoys a more temperate climate than the rest of Germany although winters can get very cold anyway.
Stuttgart's inhabitants are great music fans; evidence is the fact that the city's first event of the year is the Eclat Festival of New Music, dedicated to avant-garde composers, which takes place between January and February each year. A little later the Swabe version of Carnival, the Fasnet, is celebrated with its participants dressed up as witches and ghosts, with wooden masks, a clear indicator of the pagan origin of this celebration.
Another important musical event is the Jazz Open Festival held in July, where great jazz celebrities play out in the open. Other typical celebrations in Stuttgart pay tribute to the spirit of Bacchus, such as the Weindorf, a 10-day-long festival (held between late August and early September) in which hundreds of wine makers show off their wares and products; or the Cannstatter Volksfest, which with time has become THE event of the year: a 16-day-long beer festival that is only surpassed by the Oktoberfest in Munich.
The city's sights are innumerable; between the walks, visits to museums and spas, a visitor could stay here for months without managing to cover even a part of all the things this city has to offer. Here are some of the most interesting options for when it comes to sightseeing in this beautiful city.
The Mercedes-Benz and Porsche car museums are must see items on any car enthusiast's itinerary. Here you will find the history of these two car giants portrayed in the various models manufactured throughout the years on display. Another museum worth visiting is the Staatsgalerie, housing an impressive collection of medieval and modern art (the Steegmann collection is of particular interest, with works by Picasso, Giacometti and Klee), although the most important aspect is the building itself, a postmodernism master piece designed by English architect James Stirling. Construction of the building was finished in 1984, and combines geometric abstraction with classical references to the Roman influence in the region.
The Bad Cannstatt mineral baths have attracted visitors to this city since the early 19th Century, a time in which members of European royalty were seeking recreational and relaxing destinations, what today is referred to as spas. Nowadays the most important health spas include the MineralBad Cannstatt and Mineralbad Leuze; both have hot and cold water baths, saunas and swimming pools.
Stuttgart's main square, the Schlossplatz, is one of the principal meeting places for the city locals and also offers an intensive course in architectural styles. Architecture of the 1950's with the Olgabau (offices of the Dresdner Bank); Art Nouveau with the Kunstverein, which houses the municipal gallery of art and the Württemberg Art Society; or the late Barrocan style of the Neues Schloss (New Palace), former residence of monarchs Frederick I and William I and currently housing the Ministries of Finance and Culture; this building was destroyed by bombing raids in World War II and reconstruction finished in 1968.
Across from the Schlossplatz is the Schillerplatz, named in honor of playwright and poet Friedrich Schiller, whose statute stands in the middle of the square. Toward the southeast is the Stiftsfruchtkasten, an old wine deposit, crowned with a statue of Bacchus, where presently the Museum of Musical Instruments stands. This museum is flanked by two historic buildings: on one side the reconstructed Stiftskirche, with its two gothic towers and on the other, a Renaissance-style building housing the Alte Kanzlei, or Old Chancellery. Crossing the tunnel towards the east leads you to the Altes Schloss, or Old Palace, from there Eberhard's statute can be seen; Eberhard was the first Duke of Württemberg and founder of Tübingen University.