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Stuttgart is sometimes called the world's largest village. This is probably a bit exaggerated, but the city in the beautiful valley of the Neckar River does at times feels like a village. Just the very name of the city does not sound very urban: It is derived from Stutengarten (stud farm). Duke Liudolf of Swabia bred horses at the location where nowadays lies the Altes Schloss. In the thirteenth century this was a fairly austere castle surrounded by a moat. In the fifteenth century the dukes felt the castle was too austere and renovated it into the magnificent complex in Renaissance style that it is today. The castle houses the Landesmuseum Württemberg, which has for example a collection of precious art objects on display that were collected by the dukes. The museum also provides an interesting overview of this region's history, from the Stone Age up to the present day.
Just like the Altes Schloss, the Neues Schloss is located on the Schlossplatz, in the heart of the city, which is a hive of activity on beautiful days. The
Stuttgart's market hall is a fine example of Jugendstil style. The hall was built at the beginning of the twentieth century and is still used as a trading place for fresh produce: Fish, meat, vegetables, fruit and flowers, but also exotic herbs and spices. You can observe the hustle and bustle from the restaurant on the second floor.
The city's main art museum is the Staatsgallerie Stuttgart, which is divided into halls with old and modern art. In the Alte Staatsgallerie you can see works by for example Ratgeb, Canaletto, Memling and Rembrandt. The Neue Staatsgallerie houses twentieth century modern art, divided by different movements. Modern art can also be found in the glass cube of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. The work by the German painter and graphic artist Otto Dix forms the highlight of the collection.
Car enthusiasts will really enjoy Stuttgart's two car museums. The Austrian Ferdinand Porsche designed his first car at the turn of the century, but the Porsche factory was opened only in 1931. Brand awareness started with the production of racing cars and sports cars, like the legendary Porsche 356 Roadster. At all times, the Porsche Museum has 20 of a total of 400 racing cars on display. The Mercedes-Benz Museum is newer and also larger. Here you can find Karl Benz' and Gottlieb Daimler's first models, but also the latest models.
In 1927, seventeen architects from five countries designed a residential area for modern man. These designs have been preserved in the Weissenhofsiedlung. At the time, and still these days, the design by architect Le Corbusier received most attention. He built houses on pillars, which makes it look as if they float above the hills. This house is open to the public and part of it has been converted into a museum for architectural history.
The TV Tower that was built in the 1950s is 217 meters high. At an altitude of 150 meters there is an observation deck.
Stuttgart is situated in the center of one of Germany's main wine regions. It is highly recommended to make a trip along the different vineyards. There is also a museum of viniculture, in the former municipal wine cellar of the village of Uhlbach. This is where in the old days the grapes were pressed and in a replica of a cooper's workshop you can see how this was done. The history of wine goes back a long time and therefore this museum also exhibits drinking equipment and wine jugs from Roman times, antique wooden barrels and a large collection of old corkscrews.
Stuttgart is situated in a magnificent area where you make beautiful trips, for example through the Schwäbishe Wald or – a bit further away – the Black Forest. On the north side of that forest area lies the city of Baden-Baden, called after the hot springs that were already famous in Roman times, as they were thought to cure many diseases.
About 16 kilometers north of Stuttgart lies Ludwigsburg, which is mainly renown for its impressive, entirely white palace that Duke Eberhard Ludwig von Württemberg had built at the beginning of the eighteenth century. He was inspired by the Palace of Versailles. It was by the way not the duke's only palace; his hunting lodge and the Monrepos Palace are also worth a visit. Every summer, the city also organizes the colorful Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele.
The attractive university city of Tübingen lies 40 kilometers south of Stuttgart. Its narrow streets, steep stairs and narrow alleyways give you the impression to be back in the Middle Ages. The city is not dead though, on the contrary. The large student population makes sure of that. By this we mean of course that you can enjoy yourself in the evening and at night in the bars, cafés and discotheques.
Stuttgart is located along the A8 freeway (Munich-Karlsruhe) and the A81 (Heilbronn-Singen) and is therefore easily accessible. The city has various parking garages where you can leave your rental car. An electronic information system indicates which garage has availability. Like in many other German cities, Stuttgart's center is a so-called 'Umweltzone', where you can only drive around with a special sticker behind your windshield. Most rental cars are equipped with such a sticker.
The city's airport, Flughafen Stuttgart, is located 13 kilometers south of the center. The airport can be easily reached by rental car as it is situated right along the A8 freeway. The B27 Bundesstrasse also leads to the airport.