Esslingen am Neckar
Experiencing a city with 1,200 years of history There are not many cities in Germany that give you so much visible history to experience. The city has been extended and built upon for way over a millennium. Esslingen’s ninety-three thousand inhabitants of today are proud to fill this historical ensemble with new life, over and again. A city for strolling in, a city to see and be seen: crooked alleys and historical edifices of stone bear witness to centuries of history just waiting to be discovered. You’ll find history around every corner in Esslingen.
As early as in Carolingian times, Esslingen was located on an important continental trade route, and was also an important place of pilgrimage. The first mention of the settlement was in 777, when Franconian abbot Fulrad of St. Denis near Paris mentioned it in his will. Esslingen enjoyed a second golden age under the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the thirteenth century. The people of the city were quick to realise that building two bridges over the River Neckar would secure their wealth. These two bridges – among the oldest in Germany – allowed the merchants safe passage over the Neckar, thus securing Esslingen’s status as a trading location. Esslingen was a free city of the empire and was directly under the control of the Kaiser. But the Kaiser was a long way away, and the city established an elected council with a mayor. In this city of the empire, its proud citizens took control of their own affairs until Esslingen fell to Württemberg in 1803. The nineteenth century saw Esslingen develop as a main centre of industrialisation in Germany’s southwest. Even today, the city is still home to production facilities of companies leading the world in their fields. Apart from industry, Esslingen’s renowned university has particularly grown in importance in these past decades. Today’s Esslingen is a lively shopping city, a sought-after place to live with a very high standard of living, while providing a popular venue for conferences and conventions along with travel destinations for many international tourists.