Esslingen am Neckar enjoyed a meteoric rise from small market town to an Imperial City during the Middle-Ages, and the wealth of history is still there to see and discover. Entrenched in the beautiful surroundings of the Neckar Valley, visitors can explore the many vineyards and affluent palaces, and medieval castles in the nearby vicinity. Hohenneuffen Castle in the village of Neuffen (40 km) is one of the region’s major attractions, and despite its minor role in World War 2, thankfully did not bring destruction to the area. Therefore, visitors can still enjoy the awe-inspiring and sometimes humbling feel of town life in the Middle Ages.
Location: Largest city in Baden-Wurttemberg
The former imperial city if Esslingen am Neckar is situated on the banks of the Neckar River in the region of Baden-Wurttemberg in southern Germany. Surrounded by sweeping vineyards and miles of lush green scenery, the city is easily reached from all directions. The closest major city is Stuttgart, 14 km north-west of the city centre.
Business: Global players in manufacturing
Given its illustrious past, Esslingen is the proud home to some of Germany’s best known companies. Luxury car manufacturer Daimler AG has several locations here, whilst one of the world’s leading pneumatic companies, Festo, employs over 2,800 locals. Another global player stationed here is Eberspächer GmbH, who supply heating and exhaust systems to car manufacturers all over the world.
Culture: Hilltop castles and recent history
One of the major attractions for visitors to Esslingen is the astonishing Hohenneuffen Castle, built atop a rocky outcrop in the foothills of the Swabian Alb. The castle looks over the small town of Neuffen, 40 km south. Another draw is the moving Ebershaldenfriedhof Jewish cemetery, where 34 victims of the KZ Hailfingen-Tailfingen concentration camp are buried. A further 80-plus bodies are also buried here, but their names remain unknown. Since the city is home to some of Germany’s oldest timbered houses, a walk through the centre is also worthwhile.
Activities: Explore the dark past of the city
The former imperial city has a dark history, and visitors are encouraged to embark on a historical tour to learn about the rise and fall of the powerful families that have staked a claim to the region. For the less faint of heart, how about a wicked horror tour where you can hear gruesome tales of murder victims, culprits, and executors. The late Gothic churches of the Church of Our Lady and the Church of Dionysius are also worth a visit. A trip to any of the local vineyards is a mouth-watering and enjoyable treat for wine lovers.