City Profile: Karlsruhe

Founded in 1715, Karlsruhe is nicknamed the 'fan city' ('Fächerstadt') due to the distinctive way in which it is laid out - the streets radiate out from the palace which forms the city's core like the creases of a fan. It is also one of Germany's warmest cities, with almost 2000 hours of sun a year!

Things to see and do

The Pyramid

The Pyramid of Karl-Wilhelm, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, in Karlsruhe city centre
The Pyramid of Karl-Wilhelm, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, in Karlsruhe city centre© dzt / Hans Peter Merten

In German, 'Karlsruhe' means 'Karl's Rest' - the Karl in question being the city's founder, Karl Wilhelm, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, whose distinctive pyramid-shaped tomb is located right in the middle of the town. According to legend, Karl dreamt up the city when taking a nap whilst on a hunting trip.

Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Centre for Art and Media - ZKM

The Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe
The Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe© dzt / Hans Peter Merten

The ZKM is an institute for the exhibition, research and development of media art. It runs the Museum of Contemporary Arts and the Media Museum, and organises a variety of cultural events, including contemporary music performances. The Museum of Contemporary Arts exhibits many well-known pieces by artists like Andy Warhol and Josef Beuys, whereas the Media Museum is the world's first fully interactive museum, featuring video projects and computer simulations.

To learn more about the ZKM, click here (in English):



The Turmberg in Karlsruhe
The Turmberg in Karlsruhe© picture alliance / Arco Images G

The Turmberg ('Tower Mountain') takes its name from an ancient castle tower, which dates back to the High Middle Ages, when the Hohenstaufen dynasty ruled the local area.You can take Germany's oldest operational funicular railway - running since 1888 - up to the top, or climb the 528 'Hexenstäffele' ('Witches' Steps') to the summit. Once you do reach the top, you're rewarded with a beautiful view of the city below.
For more information on the Turmberg, click here (in English):


Schlossgarten Park

Schlossgarten Park in Karlsruhe
Schlossgarten Park in Karlsruhe© dzt / Hans Peter Merten

Karlsruhe offers plenty of parks in which to enjoy a sunny day outdoors. The Schlossgarten Park surrounding the Karlsruhe Palace is one of the city's best-loved green spaces. It is a popular spot for barbecues, games and sports, but is also just the ticket when it comes to sunbathing and relaxation.


Das Fest in Karlsruhe
Das Fest in Karlsruhe© dzt / foto-fabry.de

'Das Fest' is Karlsruhe's biggest music festival, offering a variety of live acts performing on up to five stages. Some artists playing at the festival are newcomers, whilst others are already widely known. There are loads of food stands selling different types of cuisine, as well as activities for all interests and ages.

More information can be found here (in German only):


Another popular festival is 'Zeltival' (a merger of the words “Zelt” (=tent) and “Festival”), starting in mid- or late June and running until mid-August. Concerts and performances take place in a tent and offer a variety of genres, including jazz, world music and cabaret.

To find out more about Zeltival, click here (in German only):