Baden Marathon 2005: Kilometer 36

With seven kilometers to go I was in a world of hurt, the 4 hour pace group ran by, as did seemingly all the other runners. By now I was reduced to a whining shadow of myself, shuffling forward a couple hundred meters, walking 20-30 paces, shuffling a couple hundred meters and so on. The route again turned around and we ran from the backside of the palace to the front, through the gardens, this time heading for the market place.

History of the Karlsruhe Place (and Karlsruhe)

Having once fallen asleep in the Hardt forest, the margrave is said to have dreamt of a city laid out in the shape of a star at the center of which stood his palace: Karlsruhe.

The courtyard in front of the palace is distinguished by a chequered history: it served the city's founder, Karl Wilhelm (1679-1738), as a botanical garden. The margrave was an avid plant lover and sent expeditions to all corners of the earth to gather new, hitherto unknown species.

This was the time when the tulip-tree and the pyramid poplar spread from Karlsruhe across the German states and Europe. There was no direct access to the city from the palace. It was not until 1754 that the central terrain of the palace courtyard became areas for traffic and exhibitions.

The palace courtyard later became a parade ground. The last to use it as such were the margrave's grenadier guard regiment and the dragoon guards. On Sunday mornings, the citizens would gather for the parade-ground concert. Rousing marches would cause patriotic hearts to beat faster, while those of the local, strolling adolescents were roused by far more down-to-earth aspects of civilian life. Thus, it was not unusual for an affair begun in the palace courtyard to end in a good middle-class wedding.

The buildings in the back of the picture below are often referred to as the circle houses, originally served the court officials, then the ministers; today they accomodate public authorities and banks. After the war they were rebuilt unpretentiously, and (as in Weinbrenners time) have identical archways on the palace-facing side.

I passed the 36K marker just as the course headed passed these buildings towards the Marktplatz (or market square), which was given the form it has today in the early 19th century. Here, too, built by Weinbrenner, are the Evangelical municipal church and the town hall that give the square its characteristic appearance and southern flair. Around the marketplace you can find nice old buildings, and in the middle of the Marktplatz is the Pyramid - the symbol of Karlsruhe. Every day from Monday - Saturday there is a market held on market square and there sure are lots of festivities on Marktplatz as well.

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