Showing posts with label Wilhelma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wilhelma. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rosenstein Palace and Park on the Neckar

Rosenstein Palace (© Copyright 2012)
Rosenstein Palace, or Schloß Rosenstein in German, is the former country seat of Wilhelm I, second and longest reigning king of Württemberg. Yet, it is no longer really in the country. The city of Stuttgart has grown so, that Rosenstein today is well within the greater urban area. It is presently home to the State Museum for Natural History of Stuttgart, but upon its completion in 1829 and grand opening in 1830, Rosenstein was the favorite residence of King Wilhelm and is where he died in 1864. It remained one of several royal residences until 1918, when Württemberg became a Free State (republic) and joined the Weimar Republic. In 1919, following Word War I, its furnishings and paintings were sold at public auction.

Autumn at Rosenstein Palace  (© Copyright 2012)

The small palace sits on a bluff once known in German as Kahlenstein, or "bare rock", as there was little if anything growing there. When the palace was planned, the name was changed to Rosenstein, or "pink rock". Rosenstein Palace overlooks a bend in the Neckar River, which winds its way through the district of Stuttgart known as Bad Cannstatt. At the time of Wilhelm I's reign, Bad Cannstatt was an independent town before uniting with Stuttgart in 1905. Even today, Bad Cannstatt is still proud to call Rosenstein Palace its own.

Excursion boats on the Neckar River just below the palace.  (© Copyright 2012)

Court architect Giovanni Salucci designed the palace in the second half of the 1820s.  He was to design the Wilhelmspalais in the center of Stuttgart shortly thereafter. The classic design on the outside of the palace is still visible today despite the drastic changes to the interior following its devastating fire during the Second World War. 

Rosenstein affords not only a view of the Neckar River and the old town of Bad Cannstatt, but also the Wilhelma Zoo. The zoo was originally built as a private pleasure park and retreat by King Wilhelm where he could entertain all sorts of private guests. Exotic plants and animals were brought there as well. The moorish style of the buildings found within the park echoes that of the Alhambra in Spain. A number of those structures, used for a variety of personal functions in the king's day, still stand. The zoo and gardens are definitely worthy of a visit.

Rosenstein Park, which surrounds the palace, is filled with stately chestnut trees which fill the grounds in autumn with abundant quantities of their beautiful fruits which many Stuttgarters love to collect. In the fall, the colors of the trees mixed with maples and other species provide a beautiful walk, run or bicycle ride for visitors. In the summer months, the lawns are nice for picnics as well. 

The palace is part of the greater Stuttgart Schloßpark system which begins in the middle of the city at the New Palace, or Neues Schloß. The distance between the two palaces is a very nice walk through beautiful, tree-lined allées dating back almost 200 years. 

One of the legacies of King Wilhelm I was the establishing of the Royal Württemberg State Railways. Toward the end of October 1845, the first railway line was in operation between Bad Cannstatt and Untertürkheim, where the Rotenberg is located (see previous "Rotenberg am Neckar"). Soon after, a tunnel was dug directly under Rosenstein for the train which was to go into the city of Stuttgart. The tunnel is disused today, but the sealed entrance can still be seen following a little walk just below the main path between the palace and the river. A new tunnel has since been constructed not far from there.

Very close to the Rosenstein, also within walking distance, is the smaller Villa Berg, later home to King Wilhelm I's heir, King Karl I, and his Russian wife, the well-remembered Queen Olga. Two of the cities numerous mineral spas can also be found directly to the east of the palace grounds. The famous Cannstatter Wasen, or fair ground, is also within close walking distance.
In 1877, some years after King Wilhelm's death, King Karl I opened Rosenstein to the public to view the collection of paintings his father had purchased for the palace many years before. In addition to the art and furnishings of the palace, the gardens contain some interesting and beautiful plants and trees such as Sequoia as well as the rose garden which was created during the reign of King Karl.

Sequoia on the grounds of Rosenstein Palace  (© Copyright 2012)

Rose garden in late spring  (© Copyright 2012)

Rosenstein may not be a grand or opulent palace as many might expect a king's home to be, but it is stately nonetheless. Many foreign visitors to the city do not often make their way to the palace as there are no roads or parking lots leading up to it. It is all on foot with street car or local train stations and platforms within walking distance. Exploring the palace park on foot particularly from spring through autumn combined with the Wilhelma Zoo down the hill is certainly worth the effort.
One of two lions guarding the south entrance to the palace  (© Copyright 2012)

Rosenstein Park in the fall   (© Copyright 2012)