Karlsruhe - Become a Fan of Benz’s Birth City
Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city states. Gateway to the Black Forest and close to the Rhine, Karlsruhe was one of Europe’s first planned cities over 300 years ago. Its nickname “Fan-Shaped City” reflects the elegant design, with 32 streets radiating out from the palace like the rays of the sun.
The town surrounding the Palace became the seat of two of the highest courts in all of Germany, The Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice. Karlsruhe is considered the “house of justice” in all of Deutschland, a role taken over from Leipzig after 1945.
Not to worry, the town isn’t teeming with criminal types. In fact, Karlsruhe is a relaxing sort of place, with some of the warmest weather in the entire country. Visitors enjoy more than 800 hectares of public parks and you’ll often see residents enjoying the sunshine or one of two beautiful botanic gardens. The municipal Botanischer Garten is part of the Palace complex, while the Botanischer Garten der Universitat is lovingly maintained by the local university.
Inside, Karlsruhe is home to the Museum of Natural History, the Baden State Theater as well as plentiful theaters and galleries. The State Art Gallery, built in 1846 by Heinrich Hubsch, displays works spanning six centuries. Covering France, Germany and Holland, this newly renovated art house is one of the most important museums in Baden-Wurttemberg. Discover the unique ZKM, a leading edge-museum dedicated to new technology and media. This gigantic culture factory combines media art with painting, sculpture and photography.
Innovation has always been at Karlsruhe’s center. Both Carl Benz, the inventor of the automobile and Baron von Drais, the inventor of the bicycle, were born here. Benz studied at the local university and his wife Bertha ended the world’s first long distance car journey here (she started the ride in nearly Mannheim.)
Did you know the first German email was sent from Karlsruhe to the USA in 1984? It was also in Karlsruhe that streetcars ran for the first time on rail tracks with two different sets of regulations.
Which brings us to the train. Thanks to ICE, you can travel with a German Rail Pass from Karlsruhe to many cities in Germany. You can also take the TGV from Karlsruhe and be in Paris in less than three hours. Quick, efficient and environmentally friendly, we even think that Benz himself would approve.