City of fountains and stairs
Twenty-two million litres of mineral water bubble up daily from different springs in Stuttgart. The visible signs of this natural wealth are the over 250 fountains in the municipal area. They remind us that they used to supply vitally needed water for humans and animals. Artistically designed as decoration, wall adornment or as a social meeting place – there were always reasons for building a fountain.
The many stairways of the city, lovingly called “Staeffele” by local inhabitants, are well known beyond the Stuttgart city limits. There are over 400 of them, with a total length of 20 km. They were built in the early 19th century, in order to cultivate the terraced wine fields that overlooked the city. As the city began to grow up the surrounding slopes, these steep stairs became footpaths in the newly built residential areas.
Guided tours along these old stairways provide some of the most beautiful panoramas of the city. As an alternative, one can also ride the “Zacke”, an electric rack railway built in 1884, from Marienplatz up to Degerloch, and enjoy the view over the Stuttgart basin. And if one prefers to remain down in the valley, the view of wine slopes and high fields can be enjoyed from the Neckar River. Regular ferry lines and short cruise boat trips start opposite the Wilhelma Zoo in Bad Cannstatt.
Vineyards on the slopes above Stuttgart