Dusseldorf Travel Tip
by Lorry Patton
Highlights in Dusseldorf include castles, museums, a fashionable shopping boulevard,
Altstadt (Old Town) and the modern media harbor
There are many castles in Germany, and it's impossible to see them all in one visit, however, Benrath Castle is one
not to miss if your itinerary includes Dusseldorf. Benrath Castle was to be the private summer home of Elector Carl
Thiodor, however, he and his wife only stopped by once and even then, they were not together. Ultimately, it became
a hunting lodge and summer escape for the wealthy.
Designed by Nicolas de Piagage, the 200 year-old castle took fifteen years to build (1756 to 1773). The building has
an east and west wing, heavily carved stucco ceilings and a magnificent domed ballroom. The interior is filled with
precious artifacts from the 18th century, including chandeliers, mirrors, rare paintings and old clocks.
De Piagage, a landscaper by trade, also designed the 156 acres the castle sits on. The palatial grounds are surrounded
by woods and meadows and face a tranquil Rhine river.
There are 19 museums in Dusseldorf: medieval museums, natural history museums, theater history museums, ceramic museums, contemporary museums, Roman glass museums and more. Residents usually purchase the ArtCard, available to tourists as well. For around 60 Euro Dollars, adult card holders have free entry into all of Dusseldorf's museums for a full year. The children's ArtCard costs about 15 Euro Dollars. Additional savings are available for families with 2 or more children.
During our visit of an art museum, a group of 5 and 6 year-olds were seated in front of a large painting on
the wall. The teacher had props to explain the artist's subject matter. Feathers, wool cloth, rabbit fur, silk ribbons
and other items were passed from child to child getting them to feel and relate to the rabbits, chickens and strange
clothing worn by the 18th century diners on the canvas.
NW Museum has a substantial collection of paintings by the 20th century painter Paul Klee.
Goethe Museum has more than 50,000 exhibitions. This museum has original works of Germany's famous poet and
reported to be one of three most important places in the world connected with Goethe.
Dusseldorf has the most fashionable shopping boulevard I've ever seen: the Konigsallee, referred to as the
Designer shops, fine restaurants and doorways to indoor shopping malls, shaded by giant chestnut trees, line the east
side of the street.
A landscaped canal, home to swans and other water fowl, cuts through the center of
Konigsallee. The north side of the canal is the entrance to Hofgarten, a green oasis in the heart of the city.
The west side of
Konigsallee is mostly office buildings. I will always remember one -- the bank building. It is a city block
deep and has a wide passageway between its east and west entrances, with couches, benches and even a coffee bar for
those who want to pause on the way. The east entrance is on Konigsallee, the west entrance faces the
Altstadt (Old Town).
Altstadt (Old Town)
The old quarter is where Dusseldorf had its beginnings. It is made up of narrow lanes, narrow
townhouses with narrow peaked roofs, churches with crooked church spires and more than 260 pubs and bistros.
However, if you're not hungry or thirsty, there are museums to explore, beautiful baroque architecture to admire and a number of one-of-a-kind boutiques to shop.
The media mile is a 37 acre section along the harbor that has been transformed from a drab and uninviting piece of
real estate to a shining example of what proper urban development can accomplish. Modern buildings housing media
tycoons sit among restored old warehouses, wrought-iron railings, jetty walls and staircases dating back to 1896.
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