"Opera and Cycling in Darmstadt" Top 5 Page for this destination Darmstadt by Nemorino
Darmstadt Travel Guide: 205 reviews and 657 photos
As it was originally built in the early 1970s, the Hessen State Theater in Darmstadt was a grotesque example of car-oriented architecture. It consisted mainly of a large parking garage, with a nondescript theater as an appendage.
There was no front entrance, to speak of, just a blank wall with a couple of doors. The planners evidently assumed that all the spectators (or at least all the important ones) would come by car, park in the parking garage and from there have direct access to the theater lobby. Since they would never see the front entrance, why bother to build one?
Then came the 21st century. From 2002 to 2007 extensive repairs and remodeling were done on the building. The entire stage machinery of the Large House was taken out and replaced, crumbling parts of the foundations and walls were repaired and the whole building was modernized to conform to current fire safety standards. And they patched up the leaky parts of the roof.
At the same time, two changes were made that would have been unthinkable in the previous century. First, they sacrificed part of the parking garage to create a new 100-seat chamber theater with its own lobby and bar. And second, they made a striking new façade and entrance area at the front of the building, for the benefit of the non-motorized majority of opera and theater goers.
Since Darmstadt is less than thirty kilometers from my home city of Frankfurt am Main, I have gone there fairly often over the years, either by bicycle or by local train.
On one of my recent visits to Darmstadt I met up with Ingrid (VT member Trekki), who lives and works there. Actually we had already met once before, on a memorable day in Frankfurt when she was there to pick up her visa from the Uzbekistani Consulate.
Ingrid is by no means uncritical of Darmstadt, but after living there for nineteen years she has recently started looking at it "with a tourist's eyes", and the result is an interesting and authoritative collection of tips on her Darmstadt page.
Darmstadt is one of only six cities in the whole world that have elements named after them.
There are no such elements as newyorkium, chicagoium, londonium, amsterdamium or frankfurtammainium, but there is an element called berkelium after the city of Berkeley, California. There are also elements called dubnium after the Russian city of Dubna, hafnium after the Latin name for Copenhagen, holmium after the Latin name for Stockholm and lutetium after the Latin name for Paris.
And there is an element called darmstadtium, which was first discovered in the Wixhausen district of Darmstadt in 1994.
But it wasn't just lying around on the street waiting to be discovered. They had to go to a lot of trouble to make a few atoms of it.
An atom of darmstadtium has 110 protons, which is quite a large number when you consider that an atom of hydrogen gets along perfectly well with only one proton, helium with two, lithium with three, beryllium with four, boron with five, carbon with six, nitrogen with seven, oxygen with eight, etc.
By the way, if you should hear some jocular German scientist talking about an element called "policium", don't worry, he or she really means darmstadtium. Policium is just its unofficial nickname because 110 is the number you have to dial in Germany to call the police.
Darmstadt had its Nine Eleven on 11 September 1944, when 234 British bombers dropped over 280,000 fire bombs in less... more travel advice
In addition to its overblown infrastructure for motor vehicles, Darmstadt has also managed to find room for an extensive... more travel advice
Nemorino's Related Pages
Darmstadt Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Discovering Darmstadt with the eyes of a tourist"
- "Darmstadt: a City of Surprises"
- "Opera and Cycling in Darmstadt"
- "Exploring & discovring a jewel off the beaten path"
- "A Fleeting Look at Darmstadt"
- "Art Nouveau capital Darmstadt"
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- Hotels in Darmstadt
- Transportation in Darmstadt
- Nightlife in Darmstadt
- Restaurants in Darmstadt
- Shopping in Darmstadt
- Warnings and Dangers in Darmstadt
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