Stuttgart’s name first appeared in the 12th century in reference to a horse husbandry - the name in German derives from “stud yard”. However, the place’s history goes back farther. In fact, there already was a Roman fortification at the Neckar in the first century of modern times, as well as a small settlement in what is today Cannstatt, a part of the city. Stuttgart continued to be the residence of margraves, dukes and the rulers of the Württemberg house. When the Roman Empire fell apart in 1805, the city became the capital of the Württemberg kingdom and by the time a unified German Empire was created in 1871, Stuttgart had grown to a population of almost 100,000.
In the same era that a unified German Empire was created, an engineer laid the groundwork for Stuttgart’s future development. Gottlieb Daimler developed the petrol engine and in 1886, the first automobile in a Stuttgart workshop. This was the starting point for the city’s growth into a powerhouse of the German economy, driven by the automotive industry. The food and beverages, finance, printing and high-tech industries also maintain strong presences here, benefiting from the existence of several institutions of higher education, a stock exchange and an international airport. Furthermore, the presence of American military installations play a role for the economy, the USA has their European and African Command Bases in Stuttgart. All factors taken together, the city boasts an unemployment rate that is usually well below the national average.
For tourists, the capital of Baden-Württemberg offers plenty of attractions. Right in the heart of the city center, the New Palace (“Neues Schloss”) headlines quite a number of historic buildings right around the King Street (“Königsstrasse”), the main shopping boulevard, including the Old Palace, the historic market hall, the National Theatre building and the State Gallery. Other attractions include large and beautiful urban parks like the Killesbergpark and a rather wide choice of museums ranging in themes from history to art, natural sciences and the factory museums of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. More castles and palaces can be found in the suburb towns such as Ludwigsburg.
Visitors staying longer in Stuttgart may use the city as a hub to explore nearby places such as the famous Black Forest with its traditional architecture and wide range of leisure opportunities or venture across the border to Switzerland. Also, near the city, there is the Neckar valley with many picturesque vineyards and nice hiking options. The geography around the area often protects it from harsh weather, sometimes making summer days in the low-lying city center very hot. Stuttgart gets a fair amount of sunshine per year, summers last from May to September and snow is common in the winter months.