Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany. The city lies at the centre of a densely populated area, surrounded by a ring of smaller towns. This area called Stuttgart Region has a population of 2.7 million. Stuttgart's urban area has a population of roughly 1.8 million, making it Germany's seventh largest. With over 5 million inhabitants, the greater Stuttgart Metropolitan Region is the fourth-biggest in Germany after the Rhine-Ruhr area, Berlin/Brandenburg and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main.
Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (some of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the 'cradle of the automobile'. Stuttgart has the status of Stadtkreis, a type of self-administrating urban county. It is also the seat of the state legislature, the regional parliament, local council and the Protestant State Church in Württemberg as well as one of the two co-seats of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
Stuttgart itself was probably founded around 950 AD shortly before the Battle of Lechfeld by Duke Liudolf of Swabia, one of the sons of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I the Great. The town was used for breeding cavalry horses in fertile meadows at the very centre of today's city, although recent archaeological excavations indicate that this area was already home to Merovingian farmers.
A gift registry from Hirsau Abbey dated around 1160 mentioned 'Hugo de Stuokarten', confirmation of the existence of the Stuttgart of today.
Between this time and the 14th century, the settlement was owned by the Margraves of Baden and the Württemberg towns of Backnang and Besigheim.
Around 1300, Stuttgart became the residence of the Counts of Württemberg, who expanded the growing settlement into the capital of their territory (Territorialstaat). Stuttgart was elevated to the status of city in 1321 when it became the official royal residence. The territory around Stuttgart was known as the County of Württemberg before the counts were elevated to dukes by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1495, when Stuttgart became the Duchy capital and Ducal residence.
In the 18th century, Stuttgart temporarily surrendered its residence status after Eberhard Ludwig founded Ludwigsburg to the north of the city. In 1775, Karl Eugen requested a return to Stuttgart, ordering the construction of the New Castle.
During the revolution of 1848/1849, a democratic pan-German national parliament (Frankfurt Parliament) was formed in Frankfurt to overcome the division of Germany. After long discussions, the parliament decided to offer the title of the German emperor to King Frederick William IV of Prussia. As the democratic movement became weaker, the German princes regained control of their independent states. Finally, the Prussian king declined the revolutionaries' offer. The members of parliament were driven out of Frankfurt and the most radical members (who wanted to establish a republic) fled to Stuttgart. A short while later, this rump parliament was dissolved by the Württemberg military.
By 1871 Stuttgart boasted 91,000 inhabitants, and by the time Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile in a small workshop in Cannstatt, the population had risen rapidly to 176,000.
In 1871, as an autonomous kingdom, Württemberg joined the German Empire created by Otto von Bismarck, Prime Minister of Prussia, during the unification of Germany.
At the end of the First World War the Württemberg monarchy broke down: William II of Württemberg refused the crown – but also refused to abdicate – under pressure from revolutionaries who stormed the Wilhelm Palace. The Free State of Württemberg was established, as a part of the Weimar Republic. Stuttgart was proclaimed the capital.
In 1920 Stuttgart became the seat of the German National Government (after the administration fled from Berlin, see Kapp Putsch).
During the period of Nazi rule, Stuttgart held the "honorary title" Stadt der Auslands deutschen (City of the Germans living outside of the Reich).
During World War II, the centre of Stuttgart was almost completely destroyed in Allied air raids. Some of the most severe bombing took place in 1944 carried out by Anglo-American bombers. The heaviest raid took place on 12 September 1944 when the Royal Air Force bombed the old town of Stuttgart dropping over 184,000 bombs including 75 blockbusters. More than 1000 people perished in the resulting firestorm. In total Stuttgart was subjected to 53 bombing raids, resulting in the destruction of 68% of all buildings and the deaths of 4477 people.
The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Stuttgart in April 1945. The French 5th Armored Division, French 2nd Moroccan Infantry Division and French 3rd Algerian Infantry Division, began their drive on Stuttgart on 18 April 1945. Two days later, the French forces coordinated with the US Seventh Army for the employment of US VI Corps heavy artillery to barrage the city. The French 5th Armored Division then captured Stuttgart on 21 April 1945, encountering little resistance. The French army occupied Stuttgart until the city was transferred to the American military occupation zone in 1946.
Wine-growing in the area dates back to 1108 when, according to State archives, Blaubeuren Abbey was given vineyards in Stuttgart as a gift from 'Monk Ulrich'. In the 17th century the city was the third largest German wine-growing community in the Holy Roman Empire. Wine remained Stuttgart's leading source of income well into the 19th century.
Stuttgart is still one of Germany's largest wine-growing cities with more than 400 hectares of vine area, thanks in main to its location at the centre of Germany's fourth largest wine region, the Württemberg wine growing area which covers 11,522 hectares (28,470 acres) and is one of only 13 official areas captured under German Wine law. The continuing importance of wine to the local economy is marked every year at the annual wine festival ('Weindorf').
Stuttgart also has several famous breweries such as Stuttgarter Hofbräu, Dinkelacker, and Schwaben Bräu.
- The Stiftskirche Stuttgart (Collegiate Church) is an inner-city church. It is the main church of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg (Evangelische Landeskirche in Württemberg) as well as the parish church of the evangelical (Lutheran) inner-city church district of Stuttgart. Structures of a small Romanesque church from the 10th and 11th centuries could recently be traced as having been exactly in today's church outline. In 1240, a stately three-naved church with two towers is built in the Romanic style, apparently by the Counts of Württemberg who from around that time are residing in the nearby Old Castle. From the end of the 13th century a double tomb is preserved in today's South tower chapel. It contains the remains of Ulrich I, Count of Württemberg and his second wife, Countess of Württemberg, Agnes von Schlesien-Liegnitz (both died in 1265). With Stuttgart the new residence of the rulers of Württemberg, a new Gothic chancel was built from 1321 to 1347. To it was added a Late Gothic nave in the second half of the 15th century by Ulrich V. In 1500, a coloured, later (from the 19th century) golden pulpit was added.With the adoption of the Lutheran Protestant Reformation in Württemberg in 1534, all pictures and altars are removed from the naves, pewage and a gallery is added. The tombstones are moved to the interior of the church.
- The Old Castle (German: Altes Schloss) is located in the centre of Stuttgart. It dates back to the 10th century. The first castle dated back to around 950 when Stuttgart was a settlement for breeding horses. In the 14th century it became the residence of the sovereign Counts of Württemberg. In the 16th century dukes Christopher and Ludwig ordered it to be converted into a Renaissance castle. Moats around the castle were removed in the 18th century. In 1931, the castle was severely damaged by a fire and before it could be reconstructed it was damaged by bombing in the Second World War. The castle was finally renovated in 1969. Today the Old Castle is home to the Württemberg State Museum. King Charles I of Württemberg and his wife Olga are buried beneath the castle church. The inner courtyard houses a monument to Eberhard I. The Old Castle stands adjacent to its replacement, the New Castle, which was built in the late 18th century. On the Karlsplatz side of the Old Castle is a museum dedicated to the memory of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg a former resident of Stuttgart who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944.
- The New Palace (German: "das Neue Schloss", which may also be translated as New Castle) is a building which stands on the south edge of Schlossplatz, the central square in Stuttgart, Germany. The castle is built in late Baroque style. From 1746 to 1797 and from 1805 to 1807, it served as a residence of the kings of Württemberg. (At other times, the Ludwigsburg Palace, a few miles to the north was the favoured residence of the royal family). The palace stands adjacent to the Old Castle. The castle was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War and was reconstructed between 1958 and 1964. During this time most of the inside of the castle was also restored and the building was used by the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament. Today it is used by the State Ministries of Finance and Education. Public tours of the building are only permitted by special arrangement. Schlossplatz stands next to two other popular squares in Stuttgart:Karlspatz to the south and Schillerplatz to the south west. The future German President, Richard von Weizsäcker was born in the New Castle on April 15, 1920.
- The Mercedes-Benz Museum is an automotive museum housed in Stuttgart, Germany. Stuttgart is home to the Mercedes-Benz brand and the international headquarters of Daimler AG. The current building, which stands directly outside the main gate of the Daimler factory in Stuttgart, was designed by UN Studio. It is based on a unique cloverleaf concept using three overlapping circles with the center removed to form a triangular atrium. The building was completed and opened on 19 May 2006. Previously, the museum was housed in a dedicated building within the factory complex and visitors had in recent decades been transported from the main gate by a secured shuttle. The building's height and "double helix" interior were designed to maximise space, providing 16,500 square metres (178,000 sq ft) of exhibition space on a footprint of just 4,800 square metres (52,000 sq ft). The museum contains more than 160 vehicles, some dating back to the very earliest days of the motor engine. The vehicles are maintained by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center of Fellbach. The museum provides visitors with free audio tours in a variety of languages. In 2007 the museum was visited by 860,000 people.
- The Staatstheater Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Theatre) are a multi-branch-theatre with the branches Oper Stuttgart (Opera Stuttgart), Stuttgart Ballet (Stuttgarter Ballett) and Stuttgart Drama Theatre (Schauspiel Stuttgart) in Stuttgart, Germany. Designed by the noted Munich architect, Max Littmann, who won a competition to create new royal theatres, the building was constructed between 1909 and 1912 as the Königliche Hoftheater, royal theatres of the Kingdom of Württemberg with a Grosses Haus and a Kleines Haus. In 1919 the theatres were renamed the Landestheater, and later, theStaatstheater. The Small House was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War and, today, the site is occupied by a new Kleines Haus designed by Hans Volkart, which opened in 1962.