Welcome to Germany's "fan city" - colorful and exciting Karlsruhe - a town whose wheel-like layout was the brainchild of the 18th century royal, Karl III Wilhelm of Baden. In this liberal-minded city, you can satisfy your penchant for the arts at one of its museums and theaters, or follow your wanderlust with a hike around the beautiful countryside. But Karlsruhe is not all about fun. Germany's Federal Court System is headquartered here and it is a hub for technological development. The 49th parallel runs right through the center of town. Home to the country’s two largest Internet providers, it is also dubbed the "internet capitol of Germany."
Location: A Vibrant and Vital City on Germany's Western Border
Just 15 minutes from the Rhine River flowing along its western edge, this West German city of over a quarter million inhabitants is located just a half-hour from France's eastern border. In the city's Stadtgarten, one can find a stone monument noting the fact that the 49th parallel runs through the city center. Karlsruhe is poised on the Rhineland Plain between the Black Forest, the Vosges Mountains, and the Palatinate Forest. Karlsruhe's climate, like most of Germany, is considered "oceanic" with hot summers, and mild winters.
Business: From Oil to Internet, Karlsruhe is a Commercial Center
Karlsruhe is not only regarded an important center for science and technology, it also plays an administrative function as the headquarters for Germany's Federal Court of Justice. Germany's biggest oil refinery calls the city home, and because the country's two largest internet providers - WEB.DE and schlund+partner/1&1 - are located here, Karlsruhe is known as the "Internet Capital of Germany. Many important research and development concerns are located in an area of the city's technology district, referred to as "Technologieregion." Karlsruhe Institute of Technology also contributes to the city's high-tech profile.
Culture: Karlsruhe is a Haven for Art and Outdoor Lovers
A young city by German standards, Karlsruhe was, quite literally, one man's creation. Margrave Karl III Wilhelm of Baden determined in 1715 that he needed more room, so he moved the capitol from Durlach to Karlsruhe. In keeping with Enlightenment preoccupation with order and proportion, the royal designed the city with his palace at the center, and 32 streets radiating out like a spokes on wheel. Hence, Karlsruhe's nick name as the "fan city." Many believe this design was the inspiration for the original geometric layout of Washington D.C.
Activities: See a Play, Zoo Animals, or Ride the Funicular
In addition to Karlsruhe's deep technological footprint, it is an avid patron of the arts as well. There are no less than five museums in the city, including the Badisches Landesmuseum and the Center for Art and Media Technology. Tour Karlsruhe Palace! It is the architectural anchor of the city and has its own museum. Enjoy a play or movie at the Schauburg Kino + Theater or the Badisches Staatstheater. Observe the animals at the zoo, or take the tram up to Turmberg and savor a gorgeous view of the surrounding area.