Whether with trusty steeds or turbocharged engines, Stuttgart was born to ride – it was founded as the stud farm Stuotgarten around AD 950. Progress was swift: by the 12th century Stuttgart was a trade centre, by the 13th century a blossoming city and by the early 14th century the seat of the Württemberg royal family. Count Eberhard im Bart added sheen to Swabian suburbia by introducing the Kehrwoche in 1492, the communal cleaning rota still revered today.
The early 16th century brought hardship, peasant wars, plague and Austrian rulers (1520–34). A century later, the Thirty Years’ War devastated Stuttgart and killed half its population.
In 1818, King Wilhelm I launched the first Cannstatter Volksfest to celebrate the end of a dreadful famine. An age of industrialisation dawned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with Bosch inventing the spark plug and Daimler pioneering the gas engine. Heavily bombed in WWII, Stuttgart was painstakingly reconstructed and became the capital of the new state of Baden-Württemberg in 1953. Today it is one of Germany’s greenest and most affluent cities.