Karlsruhe is the youngest of the cities in the Upper Rhine Valley: it was only founded in 1715. The neoclassical city is still young and dynamic to this very day. A centre of progress evolved during the last 300 years around the magnificent residential palace which was built by the margrave of Baden.
Karlsruhe leads the way especially in technology and communications; it is globally recognised as a media city and a centre for the arts. This city in the green lies in the northern part of the Upper Rhine Valley, between the Black Forest, the Vosges Mountains and the mountains of the Palatinate.
A unique combination of technology and media art
Karlsruhe has contributed a lot to the communications society we live in today: Heinrich Hertz experimented with electromagnetic waves at the technical college more than 100 years ago - without the results of his research we would not be able to make a phone call or listen to the radio. Karlsruhe was where Germany’s very first e-mail was received from overseas. And this is also where the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) is at home, a cluster of research centres linked to the university after the example of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT. No wonder that you can also find the world’s first and only museum for interactive art here: The Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM). It is not only computer nerds who can enjoy the experience of media art up close in the former munitions factory’s enormous inner courtyards. The whole family can marvel at, try out and be fascinated by what is possible in the world of digital art to their heart’s content. The Museum for Modern Art, which also belongs to the ZKM, presents tendencies in European and American art from 1960 to today. For those with an affinity more towards the traditional a visit to the Badisches Landesmuseum can be recommended, which is located within the palace, or the Staatliche Kunsthalle, where art from Greco-Roman antiquity to classical modernism is exhibited.
Cosmopolitanism and liberalism in Baden
The reason that Karlsruhe is so progressive can probably be found in its cosmopolitanism: The city was built without walls, open to friends and guests - at a time where other cities still hid behind their fortifications. The margrave of Baden, Karl Friedrich, had the vision of a city in which the roads would emanate from his magnificent palace and lead out into the world. The city caused a sensation as the Fächerstadt, the fan-shaped city, and was the model for the layout of several other new cities, among which Washington, D.C. would probably be the most famous one.
The layout of the city can still be easily recognised today. The tower of the palace offers views along all the roads - inviting you for a stroll down the splendid shopping boulevards, or for endless walks among the green avenues within the spacious Park Forest. A small pyramid was erected in the bustling marketplace - the margrave’s tomb and the city’s landmark.
Residence of justice
Margrave Karl Friedrich ensured the inhabitants of his young residential city privileges that would yet still have to be fought hard for in other parts of Europe: He granted them freedom of religion and equality before the law - elements that are nowadays taken for granted in a modern constitutional state. Therefore it is not by chance that the highest courts of Germany, the Federal Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, work from here. Or that one can walk down a Democracy Street, pass the Constitutional Pillar or the Fundamental Rights Square. Karlsruhe has become a residence of justice.
Leisure, pleasure and high-tech at every turn
The bustling high-tech metropolis offers a varied program all throughout the year: Open-air festivals, multimedia spectacles or street festivals - and yet you can also unwind fantastically here as well. The composure of the people of Baden is proverbial; everyone is very laid back. Feasting and savouring is possible at any time and everywhere. At each street corner one can find a café, a restaurant or a Brasserie; a little bit of French flair seems to be shimmering through everywhere.
The city has more than 800 hectares of public parks and green spaces. It cares for a magnificent palace garden, a botanical and a zoological garden. Countless little islands of tranquillity in an otherwise very lively city. Anyone looking for more nature can take the tram to quiet Black Forest villages or down to the Rhine in order to enjoy the summer retreat in the alluvial forests of the Rheinauen. Yes, here one takes the tram to get away from it all - the Karlsruhers have even thought up a special technical feature for their mobility. The tram-train-system, internationally known as the Karlsruher Modell, is a system in which the trams can also ride the wider gauge of the railway lines without the passengers having to change transportation. Medial Karlsruhe offers technical finesse at each and every turn.