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Heinrich Schickhardt European Cultural Route

The Heinrich Schickhardt Cultural Route, which is about 350 km in length, runs from Montbéliard in France to Backnang in the east of Baden-Württemberg and aims to keep alive the memory of the great Renaissance architect Heinrich Schickhardt (1558-1635) who hailed from Swabia. This multi-talented builder also worked as an architect, engineer, cartographer, inventor and city planner.

The Heinrich Schickhardt European Cultural Route is an approximately 350 km long cultural belt between France and Germany. Exploring Schickhardt's brilliant talent is like exploring a "who's who" of the Renaissance in Baden-Württemburg, and for almost half a century, the visual appearance of the Duchy of Württemberg, the now French regions of Alsace and the county of Montbéliard were defined by Heinrich Schickhardt.

A famous name

Heinrich Schickhardt's handiwork is a common element in work completed for Duke Frederick I of Württemberg, as well as in the engineering and literature of the Renaissance. As master builder for the State of Württemberg, Schickhardt drafted, planned, crafted and renovated countless buildings and technical objects.

Masterful quality

During his lifetime, Schickhardt remodelled or rebuilt around 50 castles, manors and churches. One of his greatest merits was his knowledge, application and promotion of the architectural style of the Italian Renaissance, which he learned during two visits to Italy.

The Swabian "Leonardo da Vinci"

Today we know about his trips there from his sketchbooks, which are now available in printed format. The "Inventarium", which was published by Schickhardt in his final years, is a particularly superb source of information about the art and culture of the Renaissance.

Freudenstadt: Schickhardt's crowning achievement

Schickhardt constructed this late Renaissance city in the shape of a Nine Man's Morris board and positioned it amongst the marvellous countryside of the North Black Forest. Freudenstadt's most beautiful square, which is also Germany's largest market square, is a central attraction for visitors. The town church (Stadtkirche) designed by Schickhardt is the town's landmark and the most significant architectural monument in the city and in fact the overall construction of Freudenstadt was Schickhardt's crowning achievement.

A Swabian above all else

Schickhardt was one of the principal agents of Renaissance architecture and was also a true inventor and lover of technology. Today the cities of Backnang and Leonberg still boast a number of historic buildings and artistic monuments dating from the Renaissance: in Leonberg the civic graveyard at the town church and the Orangery (Pomeranzengarten) in front of the palace are particularly significant. Schillerplatz square in Stuttgart , today's Old Town Hall in Esslingen, the sulphur springs (Schwefelbrunnen) and heated baths in Bad Boll are just a few further examples of Schickhardt's work.

Heinrich Schickhardt European Cultural Route

Length: approximately 350 km

Theme: places where the master builder Heinrich Schickhardt was active

Altensteig: castle, church
Bad Boll: baths, well house, pleasure garden (Lustgarten)
Backnang: old quarter, town tower, adventure pool
Esslingen: historical half-timbered buildings, museums
Freudenstadt: market square, town church (Stadtkirche),
Herrenberg: birthplace of Heinrich Schickhardt, ecclesiastical buildings, Bell Museum
Köngen: castle, Ulrich Bridge (Ulrichsbrücke), Roman Museum and archaeological park
Leonberg: historical old quarter, lake house (Seehaus), Orangery (Pomeranzengarten)
Oppenau: city gate, All Saints' Waterfalls (Allerheiligenwasserfälle)
Schiltach: historical old quarter, half-timbered buildings, museums
Stuttgart: palace, museums, ecclesiastical buildings