Darmstadt Local Customs

  • 2. Poster of burnt-out buildings in 1944
    2. Poster of burnt-out buildings in 1944
    by Nemorino
  • Leeuwenhoek and Musschenbroek (1705)
    Leeuwenhoek and Musschenbroek (1705)
    by Trekki
  • 1. Poster of the city on fire in 1944
    1. Poster of the city on fire in 1944
    by Nemorino

Most Recent Local Customs in Darmstadt

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    Wedding Tower: architectural details

    by Trekki Updated Oct 16, 2013

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    Sundial (on southern side of tower)
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    The Wedding Tower was a gift of Darmstadt's citizen to Grand Duke Ernst-Ludwig on the occasion of his marriage with Elenore von Solm-Hohensolms-Lich in 1905. The architect was Joseph Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908), who has designed the tower according to echelon gables of gothic brick buildings in northern Germany. The finished building, however, is of expressionism style.

    The tower is 48 m in height and architectonically separated into three parts:
    Grey base with entrance portal, the nearly windowless body of the tower, made of dark-red clinker and the five pinnacle top with copper foil on the top.

    On top of the entrance, sculptor Heinrich Jobst (1874-1943) has created a relief, which shows personifications of the four virtues of rulers: strength, wisdom, fairness and benevolence. The inscription below mentions the marriage and is flanked by the coat of arms of Darmstadt (the lion).

    The mosaics at the portal, gold and blue pieces, have been designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Kleukens (1878-1956, of Vereinigten Werkstaetten fuer Mosaik und Glasmalerei Puhl & Wagner - Gottfried Heinersdorff in Berlin-Treptow - associated studios for mosaic and glass painting).

    Kleukens also designed the sundial on the southern side on the tower. It shows the twelve signs of zodiac and lines of poet Rudolf Binding expressing the immortality of life.

    On the northern tower side, Albin Müller (1871-1941) has shaped a turret clock, framed with gold leaf. It shows the Christian symbols of faith, love and hope (cross, heart, and anchor).

    Location of the Wedding Tower on Google Maps

    © Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.

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    State Museum - Roman Mosaic Floor

    by Trekki Updated Oct 16, 2013

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    Old roman mosaic floor (from Bad Vilbel)

    The small archaeological exhibition in Darmstadt’s State Museum was dominated by a 7 x 5 metre mosaic floor of roman age, 175 AD. It shows Oceanus, the oldest aquatic deity of Greek-roman mythology, surrounded by several half human, half animal figures, fish and birds.

    The material used for the rich colour play in the mosaic are red and yellow pieces of brick, black, white, grey and violet marble and some blue and green glass cubes.

    This mosaic once was part of the thermal facilities the Romans have established in 2nd century in Bad Vilbel, part of greater the Frankfurt area (where today’s famous brand of sparkling water is originated). The museum page tells that the mosaic was laid inclined, so that when water was flowing it gave the illusion that the figures moved or swam.

    Status, October 2013:
    The museum is closed for renovation since more than six years. It is not yet said when it will open again and moreover no information is given which exhibits will still be there after reopening. I hope that these microscopes will be part of the future exhibition.

    Location of State Museum on Google Maps

    © Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.

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    State Museum - religious ivory carvings

    by Trekki Updated Oct 16, 2013

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    Lektionar - ivory carvings of 449 A.D.
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    Among the collection of State Museum are some wonderful ivory carvings from early medieval ages, which had been donated to Grand Duke Ludwig I in 1805 by Cologne art collector Baron von Hüpsch.

    Ivory has been used for carvings since a very long time (by Cro-Magnon man using mammoth tusks), but the real skills in carving beautiful artwork was developed by Egyptian, Greek and Roman artists.

    The ivory carving collection in the state museum consists of mainly religious objects from medieval age; diptychons, small boxes and religious book cover carvings.
    Photo 1 shows the beautiful cover of a so-called "Lektionar" (a book which contained all texts for sermon readings), dated 449 and showing consul Asturius of Rome. The book frame with gilded embossed copper and a rock crystal, however, was manufactured in late 13th century.
    Photo 2 shows an "Evangeliar" (a book with all gospels in their original form), the relief dated of early 10th century. Both objects are from St. Martin respectively St. Jakob churches in Liège, Belgium.

    Status, October 2013:
    The museum is closed for renovation since more than six years. It is not yet said when it will open again and moreover no information is given which exhibits will still be there after reopening. I hope that these microscopes will be part of the future exhibition.

    Location of State Museum on Google Maps

    © Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.

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    State Museum - old microscopes

    by Trekki Updated Oct 16, 2013

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    Leeuwenhoek and Musschenbroek (1705)
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    Darmstadt has quite an important history in scientific research, so one hall inside the State Museum was dedicated to old precision instruments from 18 & 19th century.

    Among them was one of the very first microscopes, made by van Leeuwenhoek (1632 - 1723), Dutch scientist and pioneer in manufacturing of microscopes. By advancing the technique of lens bevelling he could reach magnifications up to 270x; quite an achievement for early 18th century! Since I worked with modern microscopes for over a quarter of a century it was extremely fascinating to look at these treasures in the museum and imagine how they have done their research with these skilled instruments!

    Photo 1 shows a set of simple microscopes by Leeuwenhoek and Musschenbroek (of 1705 - 1718), photo 2 a microscope of Hertel technology (1716), photo 3 a travel microscope by Michael Milchhuber (mid 18th century) and photo 5 a microscope of Culpeper and Scarlet of 1790.

    Status, October 2013:
    The museum is closed for renovation since more than six years. It is not yet said when it will open again and moreover no information is given which exhibits will still be there after reopening. I hope that these microscopes will be part of the future exhibition.

    Location of State Museum on Google Maps

    © Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.

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    Russian Chapel - architectural details

    by Trekki Updated Oct 16, 2013

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    Architectural details on Russian Chapel
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    Alexander and Wladimir Frolov from St. Petersburg have styled the mosaics inside and outside of Russian Chapel.

    They have applied the so-called reverse or Venetian method of mosaic piece assembling, where a mirror image of the original was copied onto thick paper. This was cut then and pieces of cobalt glass were glued onto the surface with the image face down. Then the mosaic was framed, fixed with cement and the finished blocks were added to the walls.

    The pictures show some architectural details on the chapel's outside. It is not allowed to take pictures inside.

    Location of Russian Chapel on Google Maps

    © Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.

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    A beautiful location for weddings :-)

    by Trekki Updated Oct 16, 2013

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    The Wedding Tower was a gift of Darmstadt's citizen to Grand Duke Ernst-Ludwig on the occasion of his marriage with Elenore von Solm-Hohensolms-Lich in 1905. The architect was Joseph Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908), who has designed the tower according to echelon gables of gothic brick buildings in northern Germany. The finished building, however, is of expressionism style.

    The tower is 48 m in height and architectonically separated into three parts:
    Grey base with entrance portal, the nearly windowless body of the tower, made of dark-red clinker and the five pinnacle top with copper foil on the top.

    On top of the entrance, sculptor Heinrich Jobst (1874-1943) has created a relief, which shows personifications of the four virtues of rulers: strength, wisdom, fairness and benevolence. The inscription below mentions the marriage and is flanked by the coat of arms of Darmstadt (the lion).

    The mosaics at the portal, gold and blue pieces, have been designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Kleukens (1878-1956, of Vereinigten Werkstaetten fuer Mosaik und Glasmalerei Puhl & Wagner - Gottfried Heinersdorff in Berlin-Treptow - associated studios for mosaic and glass painting).

    Kleukens also designed the sundial on the southern side on the tower. It shows the twelve signs of zodiac and lines of poet Rudolf Binding expressing the immortality of life.

    On the northern tower side, Albin Müller (1871-1941) has shaped a turret clock, framed with gold leaf. It shows the Christian symbols of faith, love and hope (cross, heart, and anchor).

    Location of the Wedding Tower on Google Maps

    © Ingrid D., 2006; update October 2013: wording only.

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    Nine Eleven

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    1. Poster of the city on fire in 1944
    1 more image

    Darmstadt had its Nine Eleven on 11 September 1944, when 234 British bombers dropped over 280,000 fire bombs in less than half an hour, killing well over ten thousand people and making seventy thousand homeless.

    Much of the city was completely destroyed, including the central area and the Old Town.

    In 2004, on the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing, the city set up these posters with photos of the burning city. In a speech on that occasion, the Mayor Peter Benz spoke about cause and effect in German history, saying said that the horror of the fire night of September 1944 had its origin on January 30, 1933, when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in Germany. The mayor said that Darmstadt had "paid a high price for the crimes and the war of aggression" of the Nazis.

    Rebuilding the ruined city after the war was a huge and lengthy task. By an unfortunate quirk of history, the post-war reconstruction period coincided with an unprecedented phase of rabid motorization, so city-planning in those decades meant planning for cars, not people. (This is true of most German cities, not only Darmstadt.)

    To this day Darmstadt is disfigured by an overblown street system that generates unnecessary motor traffic and encourages speeding. Fortunately the city has also managed to establish a functioning tram and bus system, and there is even a serviceable network of local and regional bicycle lanes.

    Second photo: A poster showing burnt-out buildings in Darmstadt after the bombing.

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    A Romantic Place for a Wedding

    by scottishvisitor Written Oct 27, 2006

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    The Kiss
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    Although we didn't come here for a Wedding, many couples have tied the knot here in Darmstadt's beautiful Wedding Tower in a civil ceremony since 1993. We only just made it into the Wedding Tower because it was closing soon. I'm so glad we did, the two mosiacs in the entrance hall really are a must see, designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Kleukers, they sybolise the meaning of the Wedding Tower with romance, faithfulness and of course happiness. The tower has seven storeys, take the lift to the last one, this is the viewing platform, from here the city of Darmstadt streaches out before you. We took the stairs down but I can't remember for the life of me why, it was so dark & my eyes were having great trouble adjusting to the non exsisting light conditions = thank you Ingrid for providing me with the little light and opening my eyes to this beautiful place.

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    Mosaics

    by tessy Updated Apr 17, 2006

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    There are so many beautiful mosaics at Mathildenhoehe, that I wanna share them as well with you in this special tip.
    foto 1: wedding tower: the kiss
    foto 2: mosaic Nische
    foto 3: Schwanentempel
    foto 4: Wedding Tower (outside near the entrance)
    foto 5: Wedding Tower entrance hall

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    Fences

    by tessy Written Apr 17, 2006

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    fences
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    I know, I am a bit crazy to show you fences, but I was so excited discovering so many beautiful fences in Art Nouveau Style, that I want to share it with you.

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Darmstadt Local Customs

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