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Old July 15th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #1
Nightsky
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Darmstadt (incl Hundertwasser bldg) - Nightsky’s trip to central Germany

I visited Darmstadt as part of my Frankfurt visit. I dropped off the train in Darmstadt on my way to Heidelberg, mostly to visit Hundertwasser's Waldspirale in the north part of the city, but also to see how the city, rarely heard of, looked like. I found it a bit dull in its city center because of the modern buildings that arose after the bombings, but its citizens seemed nice and helpful and there are some nice historic buildings, such as the Ducal Palace, and parks in the center. It is very busy in the city center, especially at Luisenplatz, with a lot of people going anywhere in this very populated German region. There seem to be many dull areas in the city, but the north part, however, there the Hundertwasser building is, is very nice with a mix of top modern apartments buildings, alleys and old jugend buildings. Darmstadt also has nice gardens in Mathildenhöhe and Rosenhöhe with jugend residences and a botanical garden, but I didn't have time to visit. It is rumoured that the castle named Frankenstein and inspired Mary Shelley's novel is situated close to Darmstadt.

BÜRGPARK DISTRICT IN NORTH DARMSTADT – THE AREA AROUND HUNDERTWASSER’S WALDSPIRALE:

In the north part of Darmstadt, not so far from the city center, the famous U-shaped Waldspirale by Hundertwasser, a surreal jugend residential building in many colours is located. This area is very nice with a mix of top modern apartments buildings, alleys and old jugend buildings.


Waldspirale means "Wooden Spirale". The legendary Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed it, and to my surprised I found out it was completed as late as in 2000. All windows and handles are unique. It has 12 floors at its highest point and it contains 105 apartments.


Waldspirale is a lot less touristy then Hundertwasser's buildings in Vienna. Probably because Darmstadt doesn't have many tourists and it is located in the outskirts.












The inner courtyard has a playground. The building is shaped like the letter "U".








Waldspirale in HDR.

Other quarters in the area:


























More photos and text from my visit to Darmstadt:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Darmstadt.html
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Old July 15th, 2010, 05:59 PM   #2
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MITTE - CITY CENTER

At a first glance, I found it a bit dull in its city center because of the modern buildings that arose after the bombings - totally 35 bombings took place
during WWII between 1940 and 1944, but its citizens where extremely helpful when asking for directions and there are some nice historic buildings,
such as the Ducal Palace, and parks in the center. It is very busy in the city center, especially at Luisenplatz, with a lot of people going anywhere in
this very populated German region. There are many immigrants and independent people in Darmstadt. In Darmstadt you can find such diverse architecture stylesas modernism, baroque, jugend and deconstructivism.


Luisenplatz, the largest square and center of the city. A major transport hub for trams and buses. It is a bit dangerous place to dwell, as it is hard to know where a tram Ludwigsäule, a 33m tall red stone column right at Luisenplatz that was erected in 1944 commemorating Ludwig I, grand duke of Hesse. More of Luisenplatz:














The Ducal Palace (Schloss) was the residence of the counts of Hesse-Darmstadt, later as Grand Dukes of Hesse by the grace of Napoleon. Its current look was established in the 18th century. The counts also owned the so called Castle Frankenstein on the Langenberg above the city, that inspired Mary Shelley on her novel.







Ducal Palace.


There is a sign to the left that says "Bike parking forbidden"!


Ernst-Ludwigs-platz. Der Weisse Turm, the white tower, had a photo exhibition. The large department store is Galeria Kaufhof, that can be found in larger German cities.


Der Weisse Turm is 40m tall.


Marktplatz with Altes Rathaus in the background. The building to the left is one of the few older buildings left unfortunately hidden, behind scaffolds.


Friedensplatz with Hessian Landemsmuseum and another Ludwig I statue.


Friedensplatz with Haus der Geschichte. The former theater fro 1819 is now a Hessian museum.






St Elisabeth Kirche, the tallest church in Darmstadt. A catholic church. Unfortunately I didn't go close to the church, I only saw it from the tram.


Darmstadtium Congress Center, a striking modern building in deconstructivist style. It was built in 2007 and is impressive inside.

More photos and text from my visit to Darmstadt:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Darmstadt.html
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Old July 16th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #3
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nice and neat city.
the first building is kinda odd but I like it.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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Darmstadt looking a very nice, pleasant city; the architecture style is also great
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Old July 16th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsky View Post
It is rumoured that the castle named Frankenstein and inspired Mary Shelley's novel is situated close to Darmstadt.
Some guy claimed back in the 70s that Mary Shelley had visited this particular castle in Darmstadt before writing the book - however she was never actually in Darmstadt, just had a short stop at Gernsheim harbour about 20 km west of it while passing down the Rhine between her main stops at Mannheim and Mainz in 1814.

There are three castles named Frankenstein plus - in Mary Shelley's times - four towns and a district with that name in Germany. The book itself was later written in Cologny in Switzerland.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 02:07 PM   #6
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^Interesting.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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WEST CENTRAL:

In the west central part of Darmstadt is the main station located.


Hauptbahnhof, the jugend Main Railway Station from 1912.











NORTHERN OUTSKIRTS:



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Old July 16th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #8
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Cool!! Nice architecture!!
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Old July 17th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #9
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Nice city!
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Old July 17th, 2010, 02:37 AM   #10
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Very interesting and lovely!
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Old July 17th, 2010, 06:47 AM   #11
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Darmstadt is an interesting town. Only 15minutes from Frankfurt on the fast trains and about 35minutes or so on the slower suburban trains. With such connections it is a popular place to live within the metropolitan area around Frankfurt, though the southern towns in this metro area are generally considered less attractive that the northern ones.

I first visited Darmstadt several years ago on a blistering hot Sunday and pretty much hated it then. Never visit German cities on a Sunday, they are as dead as a ghost town and being such a hot day it was even worse. It just looked dry, dusty and deserted. I swear I saw some tumbleweeds roll down the streets.

But I gave it another chance a few years later on a week day and found it much more pleasant. It was very lively and there has been some renovations done like the new market hall in an old building in the city center and the recently renovated train station.

The main platz is a bit chaotic as described, with trams going down the middle and looks cluttered but it's ok, though it seems the old tower in the center has a viewing platform it was closed. The old castle is also pleasant though a university now, which I suspect means it was quite damaged in the war and the interior is probably quite government functional. Overall I liked the town and have been back a few times. I have a friend who lives there and when I last visited for a few drinks the town was heaving with activity. It did help that there was a summer festival, but one big difference to nearby Frankfurt was that there was security going into and out of the festival area, something we just don't have in Frankfurt, our's are completely open.

Oh, the last time I popped into Frankfurt was late last year. I was after a new laptop and the biggest laptop shop in Frankfurt was on the Zeil and had terrible service. Every time I visited it, it was almost completely empty of customers. So, after seeing an ad for the laptop I was after in the shop in Darmstadt I hopped on the s-bahn and bought it there. Unlike the Frankfurt shop, the Darmstadt one was filled to the brim with customers, the service was friendly and I walked out with my new laptop. Since then, the Frankfurt shop closed. Amazing, so much smaller a city than Frankfurt but so much busier a shop.

Hmmm, I also have been to that Frankenstein Castle many years back for a corporate dinner where they did indeed make a big deal about being the inspiration for the book, but I have no doubt that in reality it probably had little relationship other than the same name.

One of the best things about Frankfurt is the many towns and cities that surround it and form it's metropolitan and commutable area. Places like Wiesbaden, Mainz, Bad Homburg, Bad Nauheim, Darmstadt etc are wonderful alternative places to live but still an easy commute into the big city, yet they have quite a self contained feel to them.
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Old July 17th, 2010, 06:16 PM   #12
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Interesting architecture over there! Waldspirale is great! Reminds me of Gaudi.
The city looks like a nice place to liven indeed. Thanks for sharing.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 01:18 PM   #13
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Thanks for the extensive replies. I will make threads of other cities in the area as well, as Mainz, Wiesbaden and have made one for Heidelberg. At a first glance I thought Darmstadt looked a bit grey, but found out it was a friendly city with a lot of activity going on and some nice palaces. But I think the north part is the nicest, even without Waldspirale. Btw, I also thought Waldspirale reminds of Gaudi, like most of Hundertwasser's works.
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