About 30 miles south of Stuttgart, the capital city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, lies Tübingen, a pretty little University Town. About one third of the town’s population is students, the leading University being the The Eerhard Karls University of Tübingen. But education was not the reason we visited this beautiful town.
We were in Stuttgart in July, and were planning a drive to the Alps, a little to the south. Making elaborate road travel plans, routing towards the Alps mountains, making sure we touched some interesting places, consumed an entire day. We packed our luggage, checked out of the hotel, and went to the nearest car rental shop only to realise there were no cars available. It was summers and everyone drives out. We went to two more rental places, no cars. Not wanting to lose time, we rebooted the plans, and decided to take a train to a nearby place. And Tübingen it was.
In 2022 July, the German government had issued Euro 9 train tickets which were valid for three months all across Germany, unlimited journeys. Armed with these tickets, we headed towards Tübingen, barely some 20 minutes away by train.
The city of Tübingen was probably formed in and around 6-7AD. It has had a long history, from the Roman Frontier Wall in AD85 to the siege by King Henry IV of Germany in 1078. From the founding of the Augustinian Monastery in 1262 to the Georgian Collegiate Church in 1469. From the founding of the Eberhard Karls University in 1477 (making it one of the oldest Universities in Europe) to the plague in 1635 and the Swedish Troops conqueriong Tübingen in 1638 and then the French occupying from 1647-1649. From the founding of one of Germany’s largest newspaper, the Allgemeine Zeitung in 1798 to the unfortunate urning down of a Synagogue in 1938. Tübingen has also been at the forefront of environmental activism.
The city of Tübingen escaped a lot of wartime destruction because of its lack of industry. As such, its Altstadt, or Old Town, is largely intact, making it a great place to visit. There are plenty of weekly and season events, like the market days by the Stiftskirche (Church) and the Rathaus (Townhall). Tüingen also hosts Europe’s largest Afro-Brazilian Festival. There are amazing autumn and Christmas markets too. The food scene is vibrant, considering the student population.
Overall, there is a lot to experience in this small town. You could spend at least two days here, and more if you just want to laze around.