Jul 15th 2009 11:12AM nice little essay about my hometown. the region around stuttgart is one of the world's most powerful economical regions (apart from the car companies you mentioned there are many more highclass manufacturers of machinery and tools, many of them closely related to car manufacturing, e.g. Bosch, Behr and others but also companies like Stihl [remember B.A. Baracus making his way into a house with a Stihl chainsaw? :-) ] gardening tools and many others. The list is literally endless).
No wonder that tourists coming to Stuttgart are quite surprised to find a rather cozy town of merely 600.000 inhabitants with vinyards stretching right into the city.
But there is much more to it than industry an vinyards. The Stuttgart Ballet is widely respected to be one of the best in the world. It's reputation was built by the late John Cranko and was kept up and even grew under his successors, one of them Marcia Haydee.
Next there is the "Staatsgalerie" the Museum Of Fine Arts that dates back to 1843. It was extended in 1984 and the new main building was designed by the well-known British architect James Sterling and is now beautifully complemented by the old buildings of the 19th century.
Unfortunately the City of Stuttgart was vastely destroyed in WW II so that there is not much left of the once beautiful city center. Some buildings have been reconstructed, such as the "Alte Schloss" (the Old Castle) where the Dukes of Wuerttemberg used to reside and just around the corner the "Neue Schloss" (the New Castle) that looks quite a bit like Mini-Versailles.
More castles around are "Solitude" just 5 miles from the City Center and "Blühendes Barock" at Ludwigsburg, a little town just 10 miles outside Stuttgart. It resembles Versailles even more and its park is so beautifully laid out that in my opinion it can easily compete with Versailles, although not in size.
Other towns well worth a visit are Esslingen (some 10 miles away) and Tübingen (20 mls). They both have beautifully kept and restored centers with houses dating back to the 15th century, narrow alleys, a castle and all the like.
Last but not least if you ever come to Stuttgart don't miss out on the local food. It's simply great especially complemented by the local wines (not only the red is good, there are many excellent whites as well) or beers from one of the 3 breweries (although all 3 are owned by one family).