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Museum Mecca, Tripartite Theatre and Architectural Hotspot

Stuttgart for culture enthusiasts

There's one epithet which describes Baden-Württemberg's state capital in a nutshell: multifaceted. A huge range of different influences from the fields of business, architecture and art can be recognised here, so it's hardly surprising that they're also reflected in the city's cultural landscape. World-famous automobile and art museums, Europe's largest tripartite theatre, magnificent palaces and historic architecture – this is the cultural metropolis of Stuttgart.

On Palace Square, the hub of the state capital, a spectacular glass cube with a square stone core has been an eyecatcher since 2005. On an impressive exhibition area of 5,000 sq.m the art collection, comprising some 15,000 works from the 18th century up to the present day, is augmented by fascinating temporary exhibitions at frequent intervals. The Stuttgart Museum of Art is particularly famous for its main showpiece, Otto Dix's "Metropolis" triptych. In addition to some 250 other works by this Realist artist, other big names such as Willi Baumeister and Adolf Hölzel also guarantee a memorable artistic experience.

Only a few minutes' walk from the Stuttgart Museum of Art lies the Stuttgart State Gallery. Whereas back in 1827 funding was refused for the building of a new "Hall of Antiquities" with the words "We don't need art, it's potatoes we need", it would nowadays be hard to imagine the cityscape without the Stuttgart State Gallery. The three-winged complex with its open forecourt and an equestrian statue of King Wilhelm I was completed in 1842 and has been constantly expanded over the years. The original building is today referred to as the "Old State Gallery", while the modern structure, designed by star architect James Stirling and opened in 1984, is known as the "New State Gallery". The State Gallery's impressive 9,000 sq.m are home to works from 800 years of art history. 

Audio guides are also available at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Visitors can choose between eight languages and four fields of interest for each of the two circular tours. The first of these comprises seven "Legend" rooms illustrating the development of the automobile from its invention up to the present day. The five "Collection" rooms of the second tour present the diversity of the brand profile. The two routes converge in the section "Silver Arrows – Races and Records", where two simulators also allow visitors to experience the fascination of motorsport at first hand.

There's more on the world of automobiles in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Next to the company headquarters of the Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG stands the relatively new Porsche Museum. Its exterior is an eyecatcher in itself, while inside the museum visitors will find the product and brand history documented in chronological order, as well as several temporary exhibitions each year. Group or special tours, for example with the focus on architecture, can be arranged for visitors, school classes or families. 

Less technical but no less fascinating is a visit to Stuttgart's State Museum of Natural History. The institution's advertising slogan is "One museum – two locations", and the collections are divided accordingly between the Museum am Löwentor and Rosenstein Palace. The former contains the palaeontology and prehistory departments. Here, visitors can marvel, among other things, at the nearly four-metre-high skeleton of a mammoth. At Rosenstein Palace the thematic focus is on biology, with five sections that include evolution and the Earth's different biospheres. Getting from one building to the other involves a short walk of about 15 minutes through the heritage-protected Rosenstein Park. 

The journey through the research fields of our planet continues at the Linden Museum Stuttgart. The aim of the ethnological museum is to give visitors a closer understanding of far-off countries and fascinating cultures in a diversity of ways. The building on Hegelplatz presents alternating special exhibitions at regular intervals as well as seven permanent exhibitions focusing on Africa, Latin America, North America, the Orient, East Asia, South and Southeast Asia and Oceania. Family celebrations, after work events and staff outings can also be held here.

A smooth transition from Stuttgart's numerous museums to its architecture can be achieved by the two palaces in the heart of the city: the Old Palace with its historic, arcaded inner courtyard had its origins in a 10th-century moated castle and today is home to the Württemberg State Museum. Its collections are from the fields of archaeology, ethnology, art and civilisation history. The programme is augmented by alternating temporary exhibitions. The New Palace, just a stone's throw away, was commissioned by Duke Carl Eugen of Württemberg, who came to power in 1744. Today the magnificent Baroque edifice serves primarily as the seat of Baden-Württemberg's Ministry of Finance and Economics. It is, however, open to the public on a limited number of dates during special guided tours.

A clearly more modern style of architecture can be seen at the Weissenhof Estate on Stuttgart's Killesberg. In 1927, under the artistic direction of the German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 21 houses were erected in the style of Cubism. Their variable floor plans and lack of ornamentation rang in a new era of housing. The living space was no longer designed for representational purposes, but for practical daily use. The so-called "Le Corbusier House" today contains the Weissenhof Museum. It documents on the one hand the history of the estate, while on the other it represents a snapshot in time of the original interior. Since 17th July 2016 the two Le Corbusier houses at the Weissenhof Estate are proud to bear the title "UNESCO World Heritage Site"

Europe's biggest tripartite theatre rounds off Stuttgart's profile as a cultural metropolis. The name "Stuttgart State Theatres" links the fields of opera, ballet and drama. The Schauspielhaus theatre company presents plays dating from antiquity up to the 21st century, the Stuttgart Ballet has ranked among the world's leading ensembles for more than 50 years now, while the Stuttgart Opera has won the "Opera House of the Year" award no fewer than six times. Visitors interested in finding out more can join a fascinating guided tour behind the scenes.

(991 words in article)

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