Allied bombs demolished much of Pforzheim in World War II. Of the limited number of buildings that have been restored to their former grandeur, Schloss- un Stiftskirche (Castle and Monastery Church), Schlossberg 10 (tel. 07231/102484), is the most dramatic. It was built in stages between the 1200s and 1400s and combines aspects of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. It's open daily 8:30am to 6pm. A fine example of a more modern church is the Stadtkirche, on Melanchthonstrasse (no phone), in the town center across from the Parkhotel. Rebuilt from the town's rubble during the 1960s, this is a symbol of Pforzheim's rebirth from the devastation of World War II.
For insights into the role that clock making has traditionally played in Pforzheim, head for the city's Technisches Museum, Bleichstrasse 81 (tel. 07231/392869; www.technisches-museum.de), where souvenirs and mementos of the clock-making trade commemorate humankind's painstaking efforts to organize time. On the premises is a reconstruction of a clock-making studio from the early 1800s. The museum is open every Wednesday 9am to noon and 3 to 6pm, and every second and fourth Sunday 10am to 5pm. Admission is free, although donations are appreciated.
The equally nostalgic Schmuckmuseum, Jahnstrasse 42 (tel. 07231/392126; www.schmuckmuseum.de), is devoted to Pforzheim's jewelry-making trade. Its collection includes ornaments from the 3rd century B.C. to modern times. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. Admission is 3€, free for children under 14.
Medieval Excursion from Pforzheim
One of the Schwarzwald's most evocative sights lies 18km (11 miles) to the northeast of Pforzheim, within the agrarian hamlet of Maulbronn. Kloster Maulbronn (tel. 07043/926610; www.kloster-maulbronn.de) has been called the best-preserved medieval monastery north of the Alps. Most of its more than 30 stone-sided buildings were constructed between 1150 and 1390, within an encircling wall that protected the monks and their allies from outside attackers. The most visible of the buildings is the compound's church, which combines aspects of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and which influenced the design of later structures throughout central and northern Europe. Most visitors arrive by car or taxi from the center of Pforzheim, although there's also a bus that departs for Maulbronn from Pforzheim's Leopoldplatz at 50-minute intervals throughout the day. The monastery is open March to October daily 9am to 5:30pm, and November to February Tuesday to Sunday 9:30am to 5pm. Admission is 6€ adults, 3€ students and children. Anticipate potential closings throughout 2012 due to renovation.
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