Cities and stadiums
Source: Picture-Alliance / dpa
There is a strong emphasis on soccer in Kaiserslautern. 1st FC Kaiserslautern, nicknamed the 'Red Devils' for the color of their jerseys, contributed five players to the national team that won the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954. The best known among them was national team captain Fritz Walter. The stadium named after him is one of Germany's finest. This attractive city in the Palatinate Forest region has many things to offer besides football, among them universities, museums, and a permanent gardening exhibition.
Association with Barbarossa
The first historical reference to the city concerns the royal court in 'Lutra' around the year 830. The granting of market rights by Emperor Otto III in 985 and the construction of a palace by Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) between 1151 and 1158 contributed significantly to the development of the village.
Frederick I spent a relatively large amount of time at the imperial palace in Kaiserslautern, leading the town to become closely associated with the name Barbarossa. The city flourished under the reign of Count Palatine Johann Casimir (known as the 'hunter from the Palatinate') but then suffered considerable devastation during the Thirty Years War.
Late Gothic gem
The 'Stiftskirche' survived the ravages of war and is the most important example of Late Gothic church architecture in southwestern Germany. Construction of the choir section began in the second half of the 13th century. The nave was completed in the 14th century.
The first known reference to the fountain in front of the church dates back to 1571. In the early 18th century an element was added containing the city's coat-of-arms, the imperial eagle, and a lion symbolizing the seat of regional government.
Kaiserslautern was under French administration from 1793 to 1815. After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo Kaiserslautern and the rest of the Palatinate became part of Bavaria. During the revolution of 1849 the first provisional democratic government of the Palatinate assembled in Kaiserslautern's 'Fruchthalle' and proclaimed its independence from Bavaria.
The 'Fruchthalle', located in the heart of the city, is Kaiserslautern's most beautiful concert and festival hall and the most important example of secular architecture in the Palatinate. It was built between 1843 and 1846 by the architect August von Voit in a style reminiscent of Florentine patrician palaces of the early Renaissance.
There are also examples of modern architecture in Kaiserslautern. The fountain at Mainz Gate was created by Gernot Rumpf in 1987. Ten meters in diameter and depicting the history of the city, it is centered around figures of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Rudolf von Habsburg standing back to back.
Source: Picture-Alliance / dpa
The 84-meter-high new city hall is one of Kaiserslautern's most visible landmarks. The panorama restaurant on the 21st floor offers an excellent view of the city and surrounding Palatinate Forest.
However, the city's biggest source of prestige is its football club, 1st FC Kaiserslautern, with a tradition-steeped stadium in Betzenberg. The four-time German champion and two-time DFB Cup winner has made the city known throughout Europe. Under the coaching of Otto Rehagel FC Kaiserslautern made a sensational comeback from relegation to win the German championship in 1998. Rehagel is currently coach of the Greek national team that won the 2004 UEFA Cup.
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