A little detour to Darmstadt, Germany!

And it is Wednesday afternoon, a walk in town and thinking of finally going to work tomorrow after the passing of my wife. Another era begins for me, maybe less posts. Not withstanding, I like to reminicent of this city in Germany a bit ok. The weather in my neck of the woods is a whopping 25C or 77F sunny gorgeous too bad but we have next Monday off again! Vive Mai en France! Thank you all for following my blog ,its a pleasure having you around.

I came to know the city of Darmstadt because my company had a branch there that reported to me accounting wise. My interactions were daily so eventually I traveled a couple times there in 2004! As I recall all my business trips with the family in a general sights views basis, they were interested on all the places I go to ,of course. Once, we decided to vacation in Germany back in 2015, I told them would be a perfect opportunity to visit this off the beaten path city, and so we did.

The story on the visit is told in my previous blog post here: Memorable Darmstadt

It had good impressions on me and later the family as well so its time to tell you again about it on a bit of history side. Here is the story ,brief.

Darmstadt is a city in the Hesse region part of the Rhine of Germany Closest cities are Frankfort Main at about 30 km and Mannheim at about 45 km as well as Heidelberg It is call the City of Science due to the proliferation of technical schools and research centers there including the technical University founded in 1877.

Darmstadt is connected to a number of major roads, including two Autobahnen the no 5 and no 67 however the main road passing west east is the bunderstrabe 26 and the north south no 3. The public transport system of Darmstadt is integrated in the RMV (the transportation authority of the Frankfort Metropolitan Area). The backbone of public transport in Darmstadt is its modern tramway network of 9 lines and a local bus service serving all parts of the city. Darmstadt is furthermore connected to the Frankfort S-Bahn train network and being served by regional bus lines. Furthermore, regional rail lines R64, R65, and R66 connect six secondary railway stations within the city. Darmstadt is connected to the Frankfurt rapid transit network by the S-Bahn line S3. Darmstadt can be easily accessed from around the world via Frankfort Airport which is located 20 km (12 mi) from central Darmstadt and connected to it via the expressway autobahn no 5 and S-Bahn rail as well as several bus lines and a direct express bus-link , Airliner.

A bit of history I like

Darmstadt was chartered as a city by the Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1330, at which time it belonged to the counts of Katzenelnbogen. When the house of Katzenelnbogen became extinct in 1479, the city was passed to the Landgraviate of Hesse , and was seat of the ruling Landgraves from 1567 to 1806, and thereafter to 1918 of the grand dukes of Hesse. The city became the capital of the princes of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1567 while the creation of the landgravat of Hesse-Darmstadt created after the death of Philip the Magnanimous. Part of the possessions of Philip the Magnanimous were ceded to Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Marbourg, Hesse-Rheinfels, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Dietz. In 1668, Friedrich Jacob Merck purchase the pharmacy of Engel and put the basis of his empire of the future Merck KgaA pharmaceutical company of today.   In 1711 the Great Landgraves Caroline of Palatine-Deux-Ponts-Birkenfeld and Johann Heinrich Merck of the mentioned family were the initiators of forming a Circle of Romantic composers such as Goethe, Herder, and Klopstock.

In 1806 after the end of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire the landgravat of Hesse-Darmstadt became the Grand Duke of Hesse and the Rhine. This Grand Duke had the protection of the Tsar of Russia, nephew by alliance to the first Grand Duke. The princes and lovers of arts made Darmstadt an intellectual and cultural capital and towards 1900, a center of the Art Nouveau movement; many institutes especially the German Academy of the Language and Poetry and the Aesthetics and Industrial Institute continues today this tradition. In 1844, the monument to Ludwig Langer was built in the square Louise (Luisenplatz) with the statue of the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. From 1898 to 1908, the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig had name 7 artists to create the colony of artists of Mathildenhöhe. His mother was a child of the Queen Victoria and his sister Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt married the Russian tsar Nicolas II to come to a tragic ending. To note, all 3 tsars having married princesses of Hesse-Darmstadt were assassinated.

In 1918, the defeat of Germany made end to the monarchy. Two sisters of the Grand Duke, the tsarine of Russia and the Grand Duchesse Elisabeth were assassinated with their families by the Russian Bolsheviks. The son of the last Grand Duke, openly against the Nazis died with his wife, his mother and the children in 1937 in a suspect airplane accident. Darmstadt was the first city in Germany to force Jewish shops to close in early 1933, shortly after the Nazis took power in Germany. Darmstadt was first bombed on in July 1940, and 34 other air raids would follow before the war’s end. Post-war rebuilding was done in a relatively plain architectural style, although a number of the historic buildings were rebuilt to their original appearance following the city’s capture on 20 March 1945 by the American 4th Armoured Division. At the end of WWII, Darmstadt was among the 112 communities where U.S. Forces were stationed. Early units stationed here included elements of the U.S. Constabulary, Air Force units and a Quartermaster School. As part of the U.S. Army’s ongoing transformation in Germany, the Darmstadt military community, by then designated as U.S. Army Garrison Darmstadt was inactivated on 30 September 2008. Even after the garrison inactivation, however, there is still one unit active in Darmstadt not showing in some official documents until much later, this is the 66th Military Intelligence Group at the Dagger Complex on Eberstädter Weg.

You can easily spent a day here on things to see and I would say as a side trip to Frankfort or even Trier near where we were base! And once in the city on foot is glorious!

The Evangelical Church, The Russian Chapel of Darmstadt, and the Saint Louis Church. Other interesting places to see are the History House of Darmstadt, the colony of artists of Mathildenhöhe , the German Center for Art Nouveau and its museum. The Prince Georges palace built in 1710 old residency of the landgraves and today housing the wonderful collection of porcelain from the Grand Dukes in which almost all were gifts of the Imperial and Royal families of Europe forming the biggest collection of porcelain coming from the Grand Ducal factory of Kelsterbach and other German and Russian factories. The Regional museum of Hesse, the Hunting museum, the city hall building built from the 16C to 18C, the column of Louis Ier of Hesse; the castle Frankenstein and the nice theater of Darmstadt.

Darmstadt

Column of Louis Ier in luiseplatz square

Darmstadt

State museum of Hesse

Darmstadt

Saint Louis Church

The Luisenplatz, the central square of the city, forms the center of the city and is the main public transport hub. Other important squares are the Marktplatz near the old city hall and the Sabaisplatz at the Mathildenhöhe. Among the most important parks are the English style Herrngarten in central Darmstadt. In former times it was part of the Royal Gardens used exclusively by the dukes of Darmstadt. Today it is a public park . The French style parks Prinz-Georgs-Garten and Orangerie, the modern style Bürgerpark or People’s Park in northern Darmstadt and the mystical Park Rosenhöhe, or Rose Heights, which also serves as the cemetery for the dukes, with two impressive mausoleum buildings in its remote parts. The Botanischer Garten or Botanical Garden in eastern Darmstadt is maintained by the Darmstadt University of Technology with a fine collection of rare plants and trees.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Darmstadt https://www.darmstadt.de/sprachversionen/english/discover-darmstadt/

Tourist office of Darmstadt: City tourist office Darmstadt

Federal govt tourist info on Darmstadt http://www.germany.travel/en/towns-cities-culture/towns-cities/darmstadt.html

Frankfort area tourism on the Mathildenhohe Darmstadt :  Frankfort on the Mathildenhohe

Enjoy the seldom visit areas of any country is a wonderful local experience and by going to Darmstadt you will feel just that, unique. Enjoy the post and remember, Happy travels, good health ,and many cheers!!!

 

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