I thought like me you might like to read a little of the history of Karlsruhe, especially as its history and its unusual layout are so intertwined.
The city takes its name from Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach. Karl Wilhelm built a retreat here in what was then forest – this retreat was to become the Schloss and the forest, Karlsruhe. The name of the city means in fact, Karl’s Rest, because it was indeed his place of rest and relaxation. At that time the name “Karl” was spelt with a “C” as can be seen on the monument in my photo (taken at the junction of Erbprinzenstraße and Karl Friedrichstraße).
Karlsruhe became the capital of Baden-Durlach from 1715, following a dispute between Karl Wilhelm and the citizens of his previous capital, Durlach, and remained so until 1771, and thereafter was the capital of Baden until 1945.
The city was planned with the tower of the palace (Schloss) at the centre and 32 streets radiating out from it like spokes on a wheel, or ribs on a folding fan – the German nickname for Karlsruhe is Fächerstadt or "fan city". Almost all of these streets survive today.
The city centre is the oldest part of town and lies south of the palace in the quadrant defined by nine of the streets. The central part of the palace runs east-west, and there are two wings of the palace, each at a 45° angle to the centre, so that they point south-east and south-west, i.e. parallel with streets at the ends of the quadrant defining the city centre.
Some famous people associated with Karlsruhe:
~ It is the birthplace of Karl Benz (1844–1929), inventor of the automobile and founder of Benz & Co.
~ In the late 1880s, Professor Heinrich Rudolf Hertz discovered electromagnetic waves at the University of Karlsruhe
~ Reinhold Frank, a German lawyer who worked for the resistance in Nazi Germany, ran a law practice in Karlsruhe.
~ Oliver Kahn, goalkeeper of Bayern Munich and former goalkeeper of the German national football team was also in the city in 1969
~ VirtualTourist was invented when J.R. Johnson met Tilman Reissfelder at a symposium at Karlsruhe’s Technical University.