Mannheim Things to Do Tips by christine.j Top 5 Page for this destination
Mannheim Things to Do: 72 reviews and 105 photos
Another building which was put up to celebrate the 300th birthday of Mannheim in 1907 was the Kunsthalle.This is is museum specializing in French and German paintings from the last two centuries.Another specialty are modern sculptures, which now include a famous/infamous piece of art, a hole.
It's called HHole by the artist Nathalie Braun-Barends. This hole reaches from the cellar to the
top of the building. The problem is that the fire brigade says, in case of fire smoke can quickly spread through all floors and so this hole has to be guarded all the time. They don't do this for free, of course, and the costs of this action have become the talk of the town.
Well, finding the best way to deal with modern art has always been difficult. I think the landmark of the Kunsthalle is very fitting, a man balancing on a sort of an arrow,trying to find his footing.
Directions: Next to the watertower.
can you see the monument? Have a look at picture 2
The City Council in Mannheim was debating for a long time about a Holocaust memorial. Some members were in favour, others were against it. What they finally decided on is - in my opinion - a bad compromise, a memorial which nobody recognizes as such.
It's a see-through cube with the names of Jewish citizens of Mannheim in the 1930s. The cube is standing on the busiest shopping street in Mannheim and I've never seen anybody standing there, reading the names or realizing what this is about. There is no plate nearby which could give some information and the cube as such is not self-explanatory. If you were to ask people, many would probably say it's an ad for a telephone book.
Correction: There actually is a plate , only it's lying on the sidewalk and I had not seen it before. There is a busy tram stop right there and people are always coming and going or standing there while waiting, so the plate is very difficult to see.
I'm not saying a Holocaust memorial shouldn't be on a busy street, but as a memorial for people who were murdered it should have some dignity, like for examply the memorial in Frankfurt.
Update October 2007:
The acceptance of the memorial and the awareness of it are growing. I've seen more and more people stop there and read the names. This week there was also a short service held there and some flowers and candles were put there. Maybe it just takes more time.
Directions: The very center of downtown Mannheim
Visiting the newly opened museum I understood for the first time why the staircases in these castles were always so wide and had several "platforms" in between. In any "normal" house, the stairs are leading up or down, pretty straight, with just as many curves that you can walk comfortably. In the castles the staircases had these platforms, so the prince and his family could demonstrate how much they thought of their visitors.
Someone outranking them or someone they really liked would be met downstairs, someone of the same rank on the first platform and so on. So Mr and Mrs Average - if they had been invited at all - would have to climb up all the stairs before greeting their host, while another prince would be greeted downstairs.
The stairs had to be so wide because of the ladies' fashion. When you're wearing a very wide skirt, you need more space than we today wearing jeans!
In Mannheim castle there are beautiful paintings in the staircase, if you visit there, make sure you look up to the ceiling. My favourite here is the painting which shows the three little grand-daughters of Charles Philip. They're sitting on a cloud, and can easily be recognized because they're the only ones in the painting who are fully dressed. The painter didn't dare to paint the little princesses in the nude.
The second picture shows a somewhat grumbly rivergod, the Rhine.
The originals were painted in the 18th century by Asam, but since the castle was destroyed in World War II, they were repainted by Carolus Vocke in 1956.
Since Mannheim is getting ready for a birthday party in 2007, many things are under construction right now or getting thouroughly cleaned. The castle is one of them. It is a large castle, not especially beautiful, just very big. They say it has 400 rooms and 2000 windows, I don't know if it's true. It might well be and certainly the princes in 18th century didn't have to think about who'd clean it.
The building of the castle began in the reign of Charles Philip, who decided to leave Heidelberg after a lot of problems he had there. His successor, Charles Theodore, finished it.
Today the castle houses the university of Mannheim, except for a few rooms in the middle part. There is a small museum , but because of the construction it has been closed for some time now. it is supposed to open again next year, for the anniversary of being a town for 400 years.
Update May 2007:
The outside of the castle is still a mess, construction is going on, visitors have to walk a long way around the yard, partly over dirt and gravel. But at least inside they're finished, they're selling tickets now (unlike in April, even after the official grand opening) and I managed to go and see the new museum.
It's been worth the hassle! While before there were just three rooms with very few items on display, there is now a lot to see. You get audiophones and can walk through the rooms
in your own pace.
Furniture, silverware, paintings, tapestry, everything is explained and gives a great introduction to what life was like at the court. One of my favourites was the blue saloon, in which all the walls are covered by blue damask, another one the music room.
Entrance fee is 5 Euro for adults and 2.50 Euro for children
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Address: Bismarckstrasse, opposite of A1 and L1
Angel for peace
In 1952 the statue of a large angel was created by the sculptor Gerhard Marcks. He called it Friedensengel - Angel for Peace. It was supposed to be a memorial for all people who died a violent death in the years of the Nazi reign, from 1933 to 1945.
The angel was standing next to the Jesuit church, one of the touristic spots of Mannheim.
But in 1983 the city council of Mannheim once again proved their difficulty concerning memorials and had the angel moved to another location, E6 . While this is a nice street, it is definitely not a touristic hot spot, and so this angel is hardly noticed today.
In 1997 a separate memorial was put up for the Sinti murdered under Hitler's reign. This memorial, a dark block of stone, is right next to the angel, equally overlooked by most people.
Address: E 6, Mannheim
In January the Zeughaus Museum was opened. There had been plans to simply tear down this old building, but some private sponsors started a fund raising campaign and raised so much money, that we now have a wonderful new museum in a beautiful old building.
If you really want to see everything in there, you'll need one day. There are exhibitions about how Mannheim grew into the city it is now, about the theatre of Mannheim, there are historical music instruments, old and new fashion is shown, a fotographical exhibition is presented and much more!
Soemone there has a sense of humour, in between the display of the fashionable dresses you can see plastic animals to show how vain some dresses appear.
One of my favourite parts is the harbour scene. You can sit on a high chair in one of the harbour pubs and read the leaflets about emigrating to the US. In your back there are barrels, containing goods which used to be brought from the ships there. There are openings on these barrels for you to smell these goods, some nice - like chocolate, some not so nice, like tar.
This museum is absolutely worth a visit!
Entrance is really inexpensive, 2,50 Euro for adults, 1,50 Euro for children, unless there are special exhibitions.
Address: C5 in Mannheim
The last reigning prince-elector of Mannheim, Charles Theodor, loved hunting. In fact, a deer park near a large playing-ground in the forest near Mannheim started out as a hunting ground for the prince. To make sure he'd always come across some deer, they were kept there. Today you can go and watch them, and bring them dry bread.
The prince's love for hunting is shown on the railing of balcony in the main shopping street, the Planken. What you see is not the original, but a true copy. You have to look up, as not to miss it.
Directions: About half way down the Planken, on the right side,when you walk away from the watertower.
In early 19th century the bike was invented in Mannheim by Karl Drais. People were laughing about him, ridiculing his idea. (They should have a look at the square in front of the university library now. On some days you can't see the cobble stones because of the many bikes.)
Later in this century the first train went on its way from Mannheim to Heidelberg, a new industrial port was established and at the end of the century Karl Benz came up with the idea of building the first car.The first long distance drive was done by his wife, without his knowledge. You can read about this trip on my Ladenburg page.
In the first picture you can see industry coming to Mannheim, in the second the opening ceremony of the harbour.
Prince Elector Charles Theodor was very interested in lots of things. During his reign Mannheim became a center for music, art, theatre, but also science and astrology.
In this picture you can see the poet and playwright Schiller talking the manager of the Mannheim theatre( on the left). An artist is working on a sculpture of the Prince, a scientist is studying the world and some others are talking about new methods.
In early 18th century Mannheim was ruled by Prince Elector Charles Philipp. He had moved here from Heidelberg , into his new castle. In order to encourage more trade, he wanted a department store to be built. Because he had been spending a fortune of repairing Heidelberg castle, building the new castle and "living in style", he really needed a flourishing trade.
On this scene in B2,1 you can see the foundation of the new store.
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