Thursday, August 25, 2011

Augsburg and Ludwigsburg

We took some weekend trips again recently, this time to Augsburg one weekend and then to Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg the next.
Augsburg is less than an hour away by regional train, and is probably most famous for being the home of the Fugger family. In the late middle ages and Renaissance, Augsburg was one of the wealthiest cities due to trade routes with southern Europe, especially textiles and banking (the Fuggers bankrolled popes and emperors). The wealth of that day can still be seen in the massive Rathaus, and some impressive churches. In addition, Augsburg is home to the oldest social housing complex still in use, the Fuggerei. To this day, inhabitants pay less than one Euro in rent per year, as well as three daily prayers. In modern times, Augsburg might be best known as the birthplace of Bert Brecht, one of the greatest playwrights of modern times.
The next weekend, we visited some friends in Stuttgart and took advantage of the proximity to Ludwigsburg, home of an impressive palace (sometimes called the Swabian Versailles). The palace itself is much too big to take in in just one afternoon, so we restricted ourselves to the ceramics museum (including a room full of Italian maiolica), as well as to the fantastic and expansive castle gardens (formal English style in the front, and "wild" French style in the back).

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