Karlsruhe is a city in Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany and is situated in the Rhine valley, between the Vosges and the Black Forest. It has about 300,000 inhabitants and sports a university and several old and glorious buildings.

The city was founded in 1715 by Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach as his former residence, Durlach, had just been devastated in the Palatinate War of Succession. Maybe here he hoped to find some peace and quiet - the name Karlsruhe means "Karl's calm".

The Margrave made a castle in the style of Versailles, then invited people to come and stay in his new town. He tempted them by granting them free land and wood, and no taxes for 20 years. People came from all over the place. The town grew in the shape of a fan with the castle in the centre. Louis XIV would have been proud.

Karlsruhe grew as Karl Friedrich, the grandson of the founder, inherited site and position and ordered the buildings rebuilt out of stone. As a typical enlightened sovereign he made it more modern by abolishing serfdom and torture. His court was favourable to arts and sciences and several thinkers were invited there, for example Goethe, Klopstock, Wieland and Gluck. The margrave gradually extended his power until in 1806 he declared himself Grand Duke of the Grand Duchy of Baden, and Karlsruhe grew accordingly as its capital. The many neoclassical buildings of Karlsruhe stems from this era in the early and mid-19th century. They were designed by the architect Friedrich Weinbrenner.

In 1897 a palace for Grand Duke Friedrich II was finished. This building became home of the Federal Supreme Court of Germany in 1950. Together with the Federal Constitutional Court this makes Karlsruhe the Residence of justice to many Germans.

Karlsruhe has maintained its image as a centre for the arts. Its State Art Gallery, one of the bigger art galleries in South Germany. Gottesaue Palace, one of the oldest buildings in town, houses the State College of Music. The city houses annual musical festivals.

Karlsruhe was devastated by bombs during World War II. In 1995, the last American and French armed forces left the city.

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