Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bad Cannstatt - a suburb of spas

Bad Cannstatt boasts a very long history dating all the way back to 98 A.D., when the Romans founded it as Canstat ad Neccarum, or Cannstatt on the Neckar. It was one the largest of the Roman settlements in southern Germany in what is today the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Today it is an integral part of, and the largest and oldest district in, Stuttgart, the modern-day capital of the state. 

Old Town of Bad Cannstatt's church tower on a late summer afternoon.


I lived in Bad Cannstatt for almost five years before moving over to Karlsruhe. The photos I have here depict the historical parts of the town (now suburb) which I found most interesting. To be very honest, the Old Town area of Bad Cannstatt, which is situated directly on a bend in the Neckar River, could use a very good sprucing up. Except for several very good restaurants, the Old Town needs a major facelift which could, in my opinion, help to create a much more marketable and very attractive tourist area. Still, that does not mean you shouldn't visit! As you will see in my photographs, there is much to see. I just made a point of not including the "stuff" that I don't want you to see. And, I haven't even included all the good things here; there is still much more left for you to discover on your own!


Shutter-framed windows in a small courtyard near the City Church

There is much that does go on in this district located on the NNW fringe of the original city limits of Stuttgart (It was annexed to Stuttgart at the beginning of the 20th century). The Cannstatter Wasen takes place along the river near the Old Town; Rosenstein Palace, former home to Württemberg's longest reigning monarch and today Stuttgart's Natural History Museum, is situated on the hill above the river directly across from the Old Town; beautiful vineyards on the slopes above the Neckar River; and a variety of neighborhoods of various centuries which combined with the oldest standing building in the district together make a span of over 500 years of architecture. 

The main street which runs past the Rathaus in the background.

If you should ever visit, do not allow the local transportation hub of Wilhelmsplatz to cause you to turn around and leave. There is no other way to describe it: it's ugly. But the Old Town is meters away and from there, anyone who is willing to explore all the back streets and to even take the time to bike or hike along the river paths in the direction of Hofen, you will not be disappointed. The vineyards and places to taste wine when in season are most definitely worth it. 

The Neckar as it approaches the small town of Hofen, located on the edge of Bad Cannstatt
Vineyards line much of the river.

Tourist boats are moored on the river's banks below the Old Town and an afternoon sailing up the Neckar towards Ludwigsburg on one of them would most definitely be an enjoyment. 

Tour boats docked beneath Schloß Rosenstein direct across for the Old Town in Bad Cannstatt

It would be wrong of me to forget to explain why Bad Cannstatt is a Bad, or "spa" town. A town may not bear that "title" without having one. The city is well-known for its mineral-water baths and spas. The district alone has several, the oldest of which was begun in 1825 by King Wilhelm I of Württemberg. König-Karl-Straße, the street from Wilhelmsplatz on which the number 2 streetcar runs in the direction of Neureut, will take any biker or pedestrian right by the beautiful park and historical spa itself. A stone's throw away from the spa, you can easily find where in the early 1880s Gottlieb Daimler worked on the engine for the first automobile. The local police thought he was counterfeiting money!


The first Kursaal, or "Spa Salon", otherwise known as the "Pump Room" when first built.
Its royal patron, King Wilhelm I, is honored in front. He also lived in Bad Cannstatt, though Stuttgart was his capital.

(Left) Mr. Daimler's workshop.  



(Right) The second photo shows what he ended up with.
The frozen Neckar River as it passes the Cannstatter Wasen, home to the Volksfest

The Wilhelma warrants its own blog page, and it will indeed have one when I get around to it. The Wilhelma was the private pleasure retreat and zoo of King Wilhelm I of Württemberg, who built it in the Moorish style of the Alhambra, but named it after himself: "Wilhelm-a". Get it? Alhambra? --> Wilhelma? Right, I thought at first it was named after a lady. Ha! Oh well, despite him being pretty bad tempered to his own family, I reckon the old king had a sense of humor in an egocentric sort of way. But hey, he was the king, right? The Wilhelma is extremely popular to visit - and absolutely worth it! It is probably the most elegant zoo you will ever visit.


Above, you can see one of the beautiful terra-cotta walls surrounding the Wilhelma. The zoo, situated below the 19th-century-king's favorite residence of Schloß Rosenstein along the Neckar River, is open to the public and a must-see for its array of animals and the buildings that grace its extensive grounds.


View from my old neighborhood in Bad Cannstatt
The vineyards are just beginning to turn green
in the spring sunshine.

Same vineyard as taken from the bridge in winter
             
  
Autumn colors before the harvest.













Now you know how they cut the grass between the rows of grape vines. 
(You should see the driver clinging to the wheel as he drives uphill!)



And the summer view from my hill
This was without a doubt one of my most favorite views in all of Stuttgart


Turning around in the same spot from which I took the photograph above this one, the Neckar River can be seen making it was through Bad Cannstatt. Stuttgart city is in the far background almost invisible. The Old Town of Bad Cannstatt is not visible but it sits on the left bank of the river past the high white train trestle in the middle of the photo.

Late autumn evening along the Neckar

Rathaus and City Church in the center of Bad Cannstatt's Old Town.
On market day, there is a wonderful open-air fresh-produce and flower market in the square behind the Rathaus


The Rathaus in the late afternoon


Roof line of the houses on the Market Street before a storm


Side street in Bad Cannstatt. Part of the old city wall can be seen dividing 
the two houses. The one on the leftwas built within the wall. The one on 
the right was built a bit later. It was common for homes or other structures 
to use the city wall as a wall in their own building as well.


One of my favorite houses in Bad Cannstatt, located up against the inside of the old wall.
A bit of the stonework can be seen on the far-right of the photo.


A late 19th century mansion located very near the Old Town.  
Restoration was recently finished in 2012.


I don't know if this building still serves as an inn, but the sign is still there in any case.


One of a number of very good restaurants to be found in Bad Cannstatt.
The 1618 date denoting the high-water mark of a flood from long, long 

ago can be seen chiseled into the stonework of the building.
"Zickle" means "little goat" in Swabian.


An example of Fachwerk, or half-timbered
structures still in Bad Cannstatt.


Technically still in the Old Town, but located outside of where the wall
was and next to the river,  I can only say that I just like the green 

wooden porch!


City church (Stiftskirche) bell tower





Local coffee shop - one of many


Lot's of young families with children live in the Old Town 


This is part of the oldest building in Stuttgart: the Beginen Klösterle, 
built in 1463The Beginen (Beguine) were an order of lay-nuns 
dating back to the Middle Ages


Today, this beautiful building, restored in 1983, is now a restaurant,
but the inside of the building has changed very little.
The chapel is still located on an upper floor.


Note the joints and patterns of the building. Perhaps it was enlarged/widened long ago?


Last but not least, I must say that I, a born chocoholic, would be amiss if I did not inform you, dear reader, that the Rittersport chocolate bar was first produced in Bad Cannstatt. Today, the factory and chocolate museum are located south of Stuttgart, but Bad Cannstatt does take pride in being the home of automobiles and chocolate: unlike alcohol, two things which can go together.

There is indeed much to see in Bad Cannstatt, so I guess I could say, "Just see it!"


Close-up of the bell tower.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Night (and day) at the Opera


   
Stuttgart Staatsoper




Großes Haus von der Staatsoper


101 years ago in 1912, the Royal Court Theater, Königliches Hoftheater, designed by Max Littmann, was opened with a performance of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos before King Wilhem II and Queen Charlotte of Württemberg. 









When the Court Theater, today known as the State Opera,  opened, it consisted of two theater houses: the opera (shown above), Großes Haus (Large House) and the theater, or Kleines Haus (Small House). The theater was completely destroyed during the bombing of Stuttgart in 1944. 








The opera was one of only a few pre-war opera houses throughout all of Germany that actually survived destruction in the Second World War. Most everything which one sees  when visiting today is just as it was at its opening in 1912. When this writer was there recently, the interior of the theater itself looked as though the royal pair had just left the room. 








Today, the Stuttgart Staatsoper is home to the world-famous Stuttgart Ballet, of which the renowned John Cranko was not only its founder but also choreographer in the 1960s.








The larger of the two theaters, the Opera, seats 1,404 guests. The crowned royal box is still as it was during the monarchy, which ended in 1918. 

A photo of the new post-war theater, or Kleines Haus, is not shown here simply because the photographer refuses to waste time on it. He just can't "make peace" with this particular, umm, (What does he call it, hideous?) structure which replaced the original beauty. Berliner Platz (see previous post of same name) one can adapt to, but this one? Uh-uh. 











The Stuttgart Staatsoper is situated in the center of the city beside the palace gardens and next to the Landtag building (State Legislature) of the German Federal State of Baden-Württemberg.







Stuttgart Staatsoper in springtime. A corner of the Landtag building is on the right.





Monday, June 17, 2013

University of Tübingen (Universität Tübingen) - an ancient tradition of learning


As I make my way out of Stuttgart (with return visits to be expected), I have found myself south of the city seeing other parts of this southern-most federal state in Germany - besides Bavaria next door, of course. This part of the state is the heart of Swabia (or Schwaben), where a dialect is spoken that not all in other parts of Germany may completely understand - certainly I don't - but of course, I am not a native speaker of German. 

I found this ancient university a very special place. There is just way too much to photograph and post. I have chosen only a few of the shots I have taken. You will need to visit this place yourself to get the full effect and see some of the other angles that are missing in this posting.

It, like so much else in Germany, is worth the visit!



The University


The University of Tübingen, known formally as Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, is one of Europe's oldest institutes of higher learning. Founded in 1477 by Count (later Duke) Eberhard "the Bearded" of Württemberg, the school was opened with four faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine, and Philosophy. More faculties were added over the centuries. 




Market Square



Tübingen was the first German university to establish a university hospital in 1805, housing it in what is the university's oldest structure, dating back to 1478. This same building is still in use by the hospital today. 26,000 students from across the Federal Republic of Germany, Europe, and many corners of the world make up its diverse student body. 




Ornate facade of the Tübingen Rathaus (City Hall)




View of the roof facade of the Rathaus. 



View of the Rathaus balcony



Half-timber joists found in so many of the medieval structure found in Tübingen
Fountain in the Market Square





Rathaus as seen from one of the many narrow streets











One of two smaller tributaries which flow directly through the city of Tübingen into the
Neckar River below the city




View of the Wilhelmsstift to the left




Schloss Hohentübingen


The center of the university "town" of 90,000 is still most reminiscent of the Middle Ages. Tübingen lies on and above the Neckar River, making its way up the hill toward the castle-fortress above the city. There, one will find Schloß Hohentübingen, begun in 1078, which is also used today as the university museum - a must-see for any visitor to Tübingen.



Square outside of the Castle entrance



Entrance to Schloß Hohentübingen




Details of the entrance gate to the castle
         









Schloß Hohentübingen




In the Castle courtyard









From the Castle




View of the Neckar River as taken from the Castle of Hohentübingen
looking in the direction of the Schwäbisch Alb




A "Stocherkahn", or punt, unique to Tübingen on the Neckar River




The beautiful allée that runs the length of Neckarinseln (Neckar Island)
 which is located in the middle of the Neckar River directly below the castle,
Schloß Hohentübingen