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The City of Squares

By Linda Tancs

An old pop song exhorted that it’s hip to be square. They’d undoubtedly agree in Mannheim, Germany. Known as the “City of Squares,” Mannheim has exactly 144 of them. Lined up between the palace and the Neckar River, they stretch between the water tower (a beloved landmark) and Kurt Schumacher Bridge. Amidst these squares Mozart gave piano lessons to children, but the squares’ greater renown is perhaps the largest Baroque palace in Europe after Versailles. Designed to highlight the important role of the Palatine Prince Electors in the Holy Roman Empire, its grand interior includes a ceremonial staircase and knights’ hall. Guided tours in English are available by prior arrangement; audio tours are offered in English, French and German. The palace is located on Bismarckstrasse, just ten minutes away from Mannheim’s central station.

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