The Volkspark, or people's park, is not really off the beaten path, but it's away from the city center a bit and can be hard to find. But it's such a nice little park that it shouldn't be overlooked when visiting KL on a nice, sunny day! The park fills up on the weekends with runners, bike riders, picnics, the frisbees come out, the soccer balls come out -- it's a fun place, but quiet enough to bring a book. The park has a nice smell, lots of aromatic flowers and plants.
To get there from the city center, you need to walk a bit. From the market place (called Stiftsplatz), walk down Bismark Street until it ends at B-37. Stay on the north side of B-37 and walk across the street and you'll see a small dirt path going into the woods. It comes out in the park.
"Welcome to my Kaiserslautern page!"
Hi, I live in Kaiserslautern, in the German state of Rheinland Pfalz. We're about an hour southwest from Frankfurt by car -- and also very close to the French border (Paris is just 2.5 hours away on the new fast train! :)
Kaiserslautern is a small city, but a great place to live! Locals complain of a lack of culture here. And true, there aren't a lot of museums, but there is a very nice theater -- the Pfalz Theater -- and lots of nice parks and quiet places to walk around on a nice day. There's enough culture nearby anyway...
And unlike a lot of cities in Europe, it's also easily affordable to live in the center of the city here. Rent and real estate are at a fair rate compared with wages.
Kaiserslautern is a very welcoming city. People here are very friendly to Auslanders (foreigners) like me.
Kaiserslautern is known around Germany mostly for 2 things, football and the university.
The technological university here, called "Technische Universität Kaiserslautern" in German. There are more than 9,000 students studying in fields such as architecture, biology, mathematics and economics.
The climate here is pretty good, although I complain that it rains too much. Kaiserslautern is surrounded by small hills, and is west of the Rhine River Valley, on the edge of the German Pfalz forest. The climate changes much of the time (making it difficult sometimes to plan ahead outdoor events), but the area does enjoy many pleasant days with reasonable temperatures. The winter is short and mild with some snowfall. The summer is generally warm and comfortable, with few hot days.
Wine tasting and hiking/biking are very nice things to do in the area. We're lucky here to be situated between the Mosel valley and Rhine valley wine areas -- some of the finest wines in the world are grown and produced very close by!
Kaiserslautern was a host city for the 2006 World Cup, and football is very popular here. The local team is #1 FCK, and they play at Fritz Walter Stadium here -- named after one of Germany's best football players, who is from this area. More info on Fritz Walter can be found on Wikipedia at the following URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Walter_(footballer,_1920)
Kaiserslautern received its name from the favorite hunting retreat of Emperer Frederick Barbarossa, who ruled the diverse lands of the Holy Roman Empire from 1155 until 1190. The Lauter was then an important river that made the old section of Kaiserslautern an island in medieval times.
The symbol of the city is a red and white shield-shaped coat of arms, with an open-mouthed carp on it. This was reportedly the favorite dish of Frederick Barbarossa. He was a powerful ruler, controlling lands from the North Sea to Sicily. Ruins of his original castle can still be seen in front of the Rathaus (City Hall).
Although Kaiserslautern's name and city symbol came out of the 12th Century, its history dates back much further. As early as 800 BC, a prehistoric settlement can be traced here.
By 250 B.C. Romans occupied the area. In the 5th or 6th century AD, the Germanic tribe called Franconians settled in the area. The area's first fortress or castle was built in 622 A.D. by a Frankish monarch, located in the Erfenbach-Siegelbach area.
When Frederick Barbarossa built his castle in the area now called Kaiserslautern (1152-1160), he also built one in nearby Landstuhl to guard the western approach to Kaiserslautern. This second castle was built atop the sheer Nanstein cliff and is still called Nanstein Castle.
Emporer Rudolph von Habsburg gave the town its charter in 1276. St. Martin's Kirche (church) was built from 1300-1350 for an order of Monks. Today, in the courtyard of the church a section of the original city wall still stands.
In 1519, Franz von Sickingen became the owner of Nanstein Castle. He became a Protestant, and in 1522 Nanstein was a stronghold for local nobles favoring the Reformation which Martin Luther had begun in 1519. Sickingen and the local nobles began their battle against the Archbishop of Trier, but the attack was unsuccessful, and they retreated to Nanstein. Nanstein was then besieged by German Catholic princes. Sickingen died after the castle surrendered, and the Protestant nobility of the Pfalz were subdued by the Catholic princes.
Count of the Palatinate, Johann Casimir, came to Kaiserslautern during the Thirty Year War (1618-1648). Harsh Spanish occupation for 10 years (1621-1632) was ended when Protestant Swedish armies liberated the area. But in 1635 Croatian troops of the Austrian emperor's army entered Kaiserslautern and murdered 3,000 of the 3,200 residents. The city was plundered for three days. It took Kaiserslautern about 160 years to repopulate itself.
The trouble did not end with the peace of Westphalia in 1648. The French repeatedly invaded and occupied the area, residing in Kaiserslautern from 1686-1697. The entire Pfalz/Palatinate area was the scene of fighting between the French and German troops throughout the 18th century. In 1713, the French destroyed Barabrossa's castle and the city's wall towers. From 1793 until Napolean's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the area was under French administration.
As France declined in power after 1815, Kaiserslautern and the Palatinate became a Bavarian province until 1918.
World War II had a major effect on Kaiserslautern with more than 60% of the city bombed and destroyed by allied aircraft. Of the 20,000 homes, 11,000 were destroyed or damaged.
The economy was slow until 1952 when construction for newly established garrisons of Allied troops brought money to the area. Kaiserslautern annexed several surrounding villages in 1969 and now its population is approximately 100,000.
So anyway, I hope you find everything you're looking for on my page. There are lots of good restaurants and I've listed a lot of them in my tips. I unfortunately don't have any hotel tips for you though -- I live here! :) But if you have any questions about my city or the surrounding area, ask away! It's very nice here and I'm happy to help...
I first went to K town when my sister was stationed there in 83. I have been back 4 times since then. Since the Wall came down and the US army pulled back. There are empty spots in Kaiserslaturn. One place that catered to the army in tourist stuff called Harry's is gone. They had some real nice stuff that was made special for them. I spent more time downtown the last time I was there. The first several times I was there I had my own wheels so I missed a lot a found when i had to use local transportation. K town has an excellent bus/trolley system.
Looking at a lot of German towns that were bombed, you can't tell it now. And it is not new and modern, it is what you go to europe to see.
"It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it!"
The Wein Strasse (wine street) is actually about a 45 minute drive east from Kaiserslautern, and extends from Neustadt up through Bad Durkheim, and all the way to the A6 Autobahn. It's a great place to spend a Saturday or Sunday. The wine is good, the scenery is beautiful and the people are friendly.
We visited a few wine makers and did some hiking. It was a lot of fun!
This photo shows the number of wines we sampled. I liked the Portugueser (Sp?) red wine the best.