Stuttgart lies in the Neckar Valley and is the capital of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany. Since the nineteenth century it has been one of Germany’s industrial powerhouses.
Stuttgart derives its names from a Stuotgarten (stud farm) established in AD 950 by Duke Liudolf of Swabia. By 1160 the area was emerging as a trade centre. The town flourished after becoming the residence of the Counts of Württemberg in the fourteenth century and won city status in 1321. In 1495 it became the capital of the Duchy of Württemberg and from 1805 was the capital of the Kingdom of Württemberg.
Stuttgart suffered badly during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), losing half its population. To celebrate the end of a devastating famine in 1818, King Wilhelm I inaugurated the annual Cannstatter Volksfest (beer festival). In the nineteenth century the Industrial Revolution and, in 1871, the arrival of Gottlieb Daimler’s automobile transformed Stuttgart into a key industrial centre. Having been decimated by Allied bombing raids in the Second World War, the city was largely rebuilt after 1945.
Stuttgart is renowned for producing motor vehicles and electronic equipment. It is the headquarters of industrial giants including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Bosch, Hewlett Packard and IBM. Other important industries include research and development and publishing. Stuttgart is also a major banking hub, with the second largest stock exchange in Germany, and is one of Germany’s centres for wine-production and brewing.
The city is linked by motorway to Munich and Singen and has an international airport (Flughafen Stuttgart). The main railway station is Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. Local transport within the city is provided by the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses and Straßenbahn (trams). There is also an inland port.
Places of Interest
Schlossplatz (Royal Square) is the old central square of Stuttgart. Many of its surrounding buildings, dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, were damaged during the Second World War but have been sympathetically rebuilt or restored. Sites of historic interest around the square include the Siftskirche (a Gothic church), the Altes Schloss (a renaissance castle) and the Königsbau (the King’s Building).
Stuttgart is home to a renowned city ballet, the State Opera and a Philharmonic Orchestra. Among its many fine museums is the Stuttgart State Gallery, which contains an extensive collection of fourteenth- to twentieth-century works by masters including Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Dalí, Matisse and Picasso.
The Mercedes-Benz and Porsche Museums, located behind the headquarters of the car manufacturers;
The Wilhelma Gardens, created for King Wilhelm I in the middle of the nineteenth century as a Mauritian garden. They are the sole zoological-botanical gardens in Europe and home to over 8,000 animals encompassing a thousand species;
The ‘Green U’, a series of gardens and parks shaped in the form of a U;
Cannstatt Volksfest, the annual Stuttgart Beer Festival, and the second largest of its kind in the world;
The Fernsehturm Stuttgart, the world’s first TV tower.