At several places in the city center you can find these posters entitled Saarbrücken im Wandel meaning Saarbrücken is changing, with black and white photos of how things used to be, and color photos for the present.
I take this to be an admission on the part of the city government that Saarbrücken as it was re-built after the war was not a very attractive place, and still isn't because mistakes that are made of concrete take a long time to correct. But they are making progress, without a doubt. In the first photo, a mediocre building is getting a face-lift right across the street.
The text of the poster says: "The face of our city is constantly changing. It is worthwhile to be on the lookout for everything that is happening in Saarbrücken -- the city on the river and in a state of flux." (That last part is a clever pun in German, because the same word can mean "river" and "a state of flux", but it sounds quite lame in my translation.)
Second, third and fourth photos: After the war they even sacrificed long stretches of the river bank to build a freeway for automobiles. Various proposals have been made to correct this, but whatever they do it's bound to be expensive, so for the time being the noise and pollution just goes on and on. and the people are still deprived of access to the river bank.
Favorite thing: Saabrücken is definitely a city of churches. They have all sizes and shapes, and you'll even find them when you least expect it! I remember talking to my German teacher while living in SB, and he told me that from his appartment who could actually see 9 church towers, which is quite nice if you ask me! In any case I haven't been able to find information on all of them, sadly. One of my favourite churches in SB was St. Michael, situated in the Nauwieserviertel. What I liked most about it was it's very unusual shape and inside!
As its own name explains, Saarbrücken is filled with bridges that cross the river, and many of these are worth taking a look at! There are brigdes from many different styles, and of course you can get a lovely view of the city from many of them. What's also nice is the Saar "crane", which you can find at the Wilhelm-Heinrich-Brücke. This crane is a homage to Saarbrücken's trade history. It was first built in the 18th century, but as many other monuments of the city it was destroyed many times over the years. The final reconstruction of the crane took place in 1991.
Also something really nice is to stroll along the Saar river, especially around the City theatre area... when I was living there there you would often find people sunbathing by the river sides... nice!
One thing they have managed to accomplish, against all odds, is to ban automobiles from large parts of the city center. They did this in stages, starting in 1979, but the largest chunk of it was done in 1996/97. Now there is a pedestrian zone extending from the station all the way through the city center and down to the theater and museums.
Of course the buildings on both sides are still mainly prime examples of mediocre post-war architecture, but at least the cars are gone.
The first photo shows the auto-free Reichstrasse, with the main railroad station in the background and some nondescript buildings off to the right.
Second photo: One of the few really attractive buildings in the pedestrian zone is this Bergwerksdirektion building, which was built from 1877 to 1880 as the administration building for the then Royal Prussian Mines. In the 1970s the building came very close to being torn down, but after numerous protests is was instead restored from 1974 to 1976. The current threat to the building is that there are plans to turn it into a department store, which would mean tearing out the insides and just leaving the facade more or less intact.
Third photo: Saarstrasse with outdoor restaurants.
Fourth photo: Johannermarkt. This was the first section of the pedestrian zone, which was established in 1979.
Fifth photo: An oom-pah band on the Bahnhofstrasse, in the pedestrian zone.
Favorite thing: When you are at SB, visit Saarlouis as well. Saarlouis is a town located about 20 km down the river. The town had been founded as a fortress by the French King Louis XIV. , the old town is famous for numerous pubs with a really nice flair especially in summer.
Favorite thing: Saarbrucken city. Make sure you visit the War museum in Saarbrucken, it has many artifacts and pictures of the horrors of WWII. Saarbrucken was involved in 86 days of continuous fighting, ending with the seige of the city in March 1945, by the 70th Infantry Division. In all, they captured 1,724 prisoners while sustaining 862 casualties: 149 killed, 692 wounded, and 21 missing.