Cities & Culture
Mannheim: the masterful chessboard city
Karl Drais built the first two-wheeled draisine in 1817, Carl Benz's first car took to the streets in 1886 and Julius Hatry developed the world's first rocket-powered aircraft in 1929. All three events took place here in the university city on the banks of the Rhine and Neckar Rivers. Enquiring minds clearly feel at home in Mannheim.
Mannheim is a 'chessboard' city, with the streets between the Neckar River and the palace having been laid out in a strict grid formation in the 17th century. These streets are home to a wide range of sights and cultural attractions, art, good food, events and parties. All tastes are catered for in Mannheim, be it opera, plays and ballet at the National Theatre, concerts ranging from classical to pop and jazz, readings or a host of other cultural events in both conventional and not-so-conventional venues. Sights not to be missed include Europe's second largest Baroque palace and the Water Tower, which is set in the middle of one of the continent's loveliest Art Nouveau architectural ensembles.
Three major attractions stand out among the city's sensational museums: the Technoseum, the Kunsthalle art gallery and the Reiss Engelhorn Museums comprising four exhibition spaces. Around 1.2 million items are on display here, covering a vast range of subjects from archaeology, antiquity and cultures of the world to art and cultural history, theatre and music history and photography. As the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region's shopping mecca, Mannheim is a winner with shopaholics – there is nothing you cannot buy here. And you will be a winner too if you visit this fantastic city.