In southwest Germany at the entrance to the Black Forest, Pforzheim, a town of 119,000, is world-famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry, earning the nickname, "Goldstadt" or Golden City.
Situated between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe at the confluence of three rivers: Enz, Nagold and Wurn, it also marks the frontier between Baden and Wurttemberg, located on Baden territory and containing an area of roughly 98 km².
During WWII, Pforzheim was bombed several times, the largest and one of the most devastating raids of World War II, carried out by the Royal Air Force (RAF) on the evening of February 23, 1945. At that time, roughly one quarter of the town's total population, over 17,000
people, were killed in the air raid, and about 83% of the town's buildings destroyed. This town was a key target because the Allies thought that it produced precision instruments for the German war effort and that Pforzheim acted as a key transport centre for the mass movement of German troops.
After the war, rubble from its destruction was heaped into a large pile on the outskirts of the town, as was done by other cities such as Stuttgart and Munich. A building named the "Wallberg" was erected as a concrete cap on this mountain of war rubble, and has been long since covered with earth and vegetation. Over the next few decades, Pforzheim was gradually rebuilt, providing the town with a quite modern look. The inner city area is quite peaceful with a stream running through its middle. There are numerous restaurants with outdoor seating.
An important commercial centre in south-west Germany and the economic heart of the up-and-coming northern Black Forest region, Pforzheim is home to a large number of high-tech companies. The Pforzheim Congress Centrum conference centre works in close partnership with hotels and venues and is a one-stop-shop for organizing meetings, seminars, conferences and workshops.
There are several worthwhile festivals to attend here including wine, hot-air ballooning and antique racing cars. English is mandatory in German schools, and any German involved in the tourist industry (hotel, restaurant, major shop in city center, transit, etc) will probably speak good English; however, as a courtesy, it's nice to know some basic German.
Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of both McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history. He has produced several educational programs for TV.
Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
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