Saarbrücken shifted six times between France and Germany since the late 17th century. Powerhouse of the industrial revolution, it is now a quieter place with a few good museums, art galleries and Baroque monuments.
The city's focal point is the Sankt Johanner Markt (St. John's Market), encircled by a network of narrow shopping streets. That's where you'll find the Baroque St. John's Basilica, the Stadtgalerie (a contemporary art gallery), as well as the highest concentration of old buildings and restaurants. A few hundreds metres north is the Neo-Gothic Rathaus (town hall), with its clock tower.
Immediately south of St Johanner Markt lies a park in the embankment of the Saar River, with the State Theatre and the Saarland Museum, the city's most important museum, which has collections ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
Cross the Alte Brücke (old bridge) to reach the other southern bank of the Saar. You will emerge on the Schlossplatz (palace square), where stands the imposing white palace known as Schloss Saarbrücken. It was built as the residence of the local rulers, the Counts, then Princes of Nassau-Saarbrücken. Destroyed, restored and extended several times, the present structure blends mostly baroque and neoclassical styles and houses the Saar Historical Museum, concentrating chiefly on the region's history in the 20th century. Right next door is the archeological Museum of Early History and Prehistory.
Also on Schlossplatz, inside the Altes Rathaus (old town hall), is the Adventure Museum, an eclectic collections of ethnic art collected by globetrotter Heinz Rox-Schulz in Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America.
500m northwest of the Schlossplatz stands the graceful baroque Ludwigskirche, designed by the same architect as the palace, Friedrich Joachim Stengel. It is considered to be one of the most important Protestant churches in Germany.
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