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Visitor's Guide

Darmstadt, the City ofArt Nouveau, offers a unique cultural experience. Palaces, parks and numerous museums present the city from its best side.Darmstadtis located at the foot of the Odenwald. Eight theatres, 18 museums and exhibition houses as well as a large number of libraries, cinemas and galleries present an extensive offer of culture in this major city.

Museums and cultural highlights

ESOC - European Space Operations Centre for the European Space Agency (ESA)

Individual visitors have opportunity to tour the Operations Centre grounds. The 90-minute tour includes the main operations centre and various satellite models as well as a short film on the ESOC's responsibilities and objectives.
For registration, maps and prices, please call +49 (0) 6151 134535.

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Herrngarten Park

First designed in the 16th century, the Herrngarten Park is the largest and oldest park in the town centre. It all started with the three largest and several smaller gardens created in the Baroque gardening style as cuisine and herb gardens. The park owes its fame to Landgravine Caroline, also known as the Great Landgravine, who had the garden expanded in 1766 and converted it into the English landscape style by incorporating elements of naturalistic landscape gardening. From 1801 to 1822, the garden was converted into a classic-sentimental landscape garden. New modifications toward a public park were made in 1918 in conjunction with the park's nationalisation, including the construction of playgrounds and conversion of a garden house into the Herrngarten Café. The Herrngarten, known as the "gud Stubb" to the residents of Darmstadt, is still immensely popular today, serving as the "green lung" for the city and the populated Martinsviertel and Johannesviertel neighbourhoods. In the north-east, the Herrngarten Park connects to the rococo-style Prinz-Georgs-Garten.

Residenzschloss Palace

Darmstadt Castle is located in the centre of today's town centre, at the upper end of the Rheinstrasse. That was not always the case, though: back in the time of George I, the palace secured Darmstadt's west side with the palace moat as defence. The new gate was located at the south-western end of the castle, which was mostly used by the farmers from the areas around Darmstadt. The Residenzschloss was built over a total of six centuries. The most recent structural modifications were made under Landgrave Ernst Ludwig in the 18th century. His master builder, Rémy de la Fosse, planned a Baroque palace, but only two wings of the structure were carried out on the side toward the Rheinstrasse and toward the market square. In 1944, the palace burned down to the outer walls. However, reconstruction efforts were able to nearly completely restore the exterior to that of the pre-war age. The palace museum, founded in 1924, is located in the older section of the palace. Its 22 rooms provide an excellent overview of 250 years of court life in a small palace and the history of the unique landgravate and, later, Grand Duchy of Hesse.

Opening hours:
Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jagdschloss Kranichstein (hunting lodge)

The castle, built in 1578 for George I, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt as a hunting lodge, contains a considerable number of hunting weapons and devices until the prohibition of subsistence hunting in 1769. Numerous paintings provide information as to just how much the Baroque ruler's life was influenced by hunting.

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Friday 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hessian Landesmuseum

The collections in Darmstadt's Hessian Landesmuseum date back to the Grand Dukes from Hessen-Darmstadt, particularly auf Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse (1790 to 1830). The building is one of the few museums that bring together several interdisciplinary subjects under one roof. The Hessian Landesmuseum features prehistoric and protohistoric archaeology, Greek and Roman archaeology, mediaeval ivory work and altarpieces, glass painting from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, paintings, sculptures, applied arts from the Renaissance to the present, works, Joseph Beuys' Physikalisches Kabinett and historic musical instruments, graphical collection, zoological collections, geological-mineralological collections and paleontological collections (fossils from the Messel Pit fossil site).

Opening hours:
Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Waldspirale (wooded spiral)

Darmstadt's Waldspirale, built to designs by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is the highlight of the Bürgerparkviertel neighbourhood near the city's outskirts. This is a structure that serves as a role model. It was built by Darmstadt's Bauverein AG with the idea that living space shouldn't be built at the expense of nature and individuals, but rather as a joint experience between the city and nature. For the first time ever in Germany, recycled concrete was used for construction. Hundertwasser's definition of individual living was one in no way defined by everyday norms. He designed a façade that follows no scheme and where no two windows are the same. This structure is an expression of Hundertwasser's conviction that the renunciation of straight-line norms and a move towards experiencable naturalness causes a return of the joy of living. The Waldspirale's exterior grounds are open to all.

Shopping in Darmstadt

With a total retail area of about 127,000 m² Darmstadt city centre offers a large variety of inviting shopping options. From specialist shops to renowned brand stores: more than 480 shops await you.

Loop 5 Shopping centre

175 shops, 25 restaurants, free parking – 5 kilometres away from the Maritim Hotels Darmstadt.

State theatre

Designed by Rolf Prange, the State theatre was built in 1972, housing "the big house" (Opera), "the Small house" (theatre) and a Studio workshop