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Darmstadt Travel Guide

Waldspirale, Darmstadt (© Antonio DeCristofaro - iStockphoto.com)
Waldspirale, Darmstadt.

Introduction

Darmstadt is the historical capital of the County of Hessen-Darmstadt, then the Grand Duchy of Hesse from 1806. It is one of few German cities which does not lie close to a river, lake or coast.

Darmstadt was dubbed "city of science" thanks to its celebrated Technical University and the numerous aerospatial and engineering centres, such as ESOC, EUMETSAT and GSI.

Russian chapel in Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt (© clearlens - Fotolia.com)
Russian chapel in Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt.

Attractions

The artists' colony of Mathildenhöhe was a major hub for the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) movement between 1901 and 1914. Some of their works can be seen at the Museum Künstlerkolonie.

The Russian Chapel in Mathildenhöhe was built in 1894 as a private chapel by the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, whose wife Alexandra was born in Darmstadt.

Darmstadt's ducal residence houses the Schlossmuseum. Opposite stands the Hesse State Museum, one of the oldest museums in Germany, particularly noted for its natural history collections.

One of Germany's, and indeed Europe's most outlandish piece of architecture is the Waldspirale ('forest spiral'), a colourful residential building complex designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and completed in 2000. Located in Darmstadt's Bürgerparkviertel, the complex contains 105 apartments and looks like a modern version of the house of cake and confectionery in Hansel and Gretel, with a dollop of Arabian Nights atmosphere. The buildings have green roofs, and all the windows (over one thousand of them) are uniquely shaped.

Town Hall on the Market Square, Darmstadt (photo by Kadellar - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)
Town Hall on the Market Square, Darmstadt.

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