Stuttgart Stories and Tips

Karlsruhe

About 1 hour from Stuttgart, on the road to Strasbourg.

This is one of the strangest towns I’ve been to. Directly opposite the main station is a large park with a zoo. As I walked past it towards the town centre, the ostriches came out of their sheds to investigate me, and the deer started, and ran away. The town itself is very quiet. Wide empty avenues, disturbed only by the gentle trundling of trams, arranged in a grid pattern overlaid with curved streets whose exact centre is in the private study of the Margrave of Baden, in the enormous Schloss which now houses the Badisches Landesmuseum. The museum is equally large, and fills the palace. Check the plans carefully, because some rooms are only accessible from certain staircases. In any other town, this museum would have been split up into a number of smaller specialist museums – there are many collections, most of very high quality, and uniformly well-displayed – enigmatic Cycladic figurines, with long supercilious noses; a small Egyptian temple; rare Phoenician figures. There are several rooms devoted to a history of the region over the last couple of centuries, up to the 1980s, copiously illustrated with popular pictures and items. I found the treatment of the Nazi period moving. And still more: the state rooms of the palace, a collection of Turkish booty from the 17th century, an exhibition on the influence of Tutankhamen on modern culture. You will need the comfortable café on the ground floor before you have finished. There are also many other museums in town, which I didn’t have time to visit. I would like to go back to Karlsruhe again, with more time to spend.

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