Pforzheim - Find the Hidden Nuggets

It is a city that has to be earned. She hides her treasures but willingly reveals them to anyone who takes the trouble to look for them. This city in the heart of the Black Forest knows how to seduce with a few nuggets, legacies of the goldsmith industry, of which Pforzheim is celebrating the 250th anniversary this year. An excellent pretext to discover unusual sites, living museums, exceptional exhibitions.

Latest edition : 28 June 2017

You will never go to Pforzheim for its architecture. Almost completely destroyed during the Second World War (a whole artificial hill had to be climbed in order to be able to clear all the debris), it has been rebuilt "to the ground", with functional buildings without any charm. The municipality had other concerns than aesthetic research.

Fortunately, a few rare buildings have escaped destruction and they give an idea of the ancient opulence of the city, the center of goldsmithing.

Many green spaces brighten up the city which, despite the crisis which saw the closure of a number of workshops, is still renowned for its watchmaking and goldsmith's work.

Two world-renowned schools welcome students from all over the world.

The culture gasometer

Are you not interested in visiting a gasometer? You are wrong! The one in Pforzheim deserves the trip, without hesitation!

Because this impressive iron bell, where the gas produced by the coal was stored, now houses a formidable cultural space with the largest 360 ° panorama in the world. Thank you to the patron who had this magnificent idea: to preserve this testimony of an industrial past while combining it with culture. Isn't it also thanks to the arrival of gas that the goldsmith, watchmaking and precision mechanics workshops have been able to increase their production? Seduced by the work of Yadegar Asisi, he suggested that she use this space of formidable dimensions to install a "panorama".
The work of artist Yadegar Asisi, "Rom 312", brings the Roman city to life during the time of Emperor Constantine. You have to hurry to walk around the Italian city, the artist is already planning a new panorama!

The view goes towards temples, basilicas, thermal baths and other constructions before escaping towards the hills.
After visiting a small exhibition that explains the technique used and the artist's approach, the visitor climbs to the top of the platform - for a trip to ancient Rome - with a few nods to current life (you need to look well!).

It is pitch black, the air seems moist, filled with the song of the cicadas. It’s a beautiful summer night in Rome but the city doesn’t sleep completely.
A dog barks, a horse's hooves pound the pavement. The crowing of a rooster and the chirping of birds herald dawn. The sun rises, revealing life in the streets of Rome.

The visitor has the impression of being part of this immense fresco which surrounds him. It is magic !

The city of gold

Pforzheim's golden story begins in 1767, when Margrave Charles Frederick of Baden authorized the manufacture of jewelry and watches in the town's orphanage.

On one condition: that work is accessible to orphans, boys and girls. It was the start of the "city of gold". Descendants of these poor children have also become famous designers! 100 years after this decree, during the harsh winters, the people of the countryside seek work in order to survive. Every day, they walk long kilometers to earn a living in the jewelry factories. These were the "Goldschmiedbäuerle" (small peasant goldsmiths). To make the journey profitable, the girls knitted while walking!

A privileged witness to this epic, the museum of jewelery and watchmaking techniques installed in the former production premises of Kollmar

It is a living museum, thanks to the presence of retired workers who maintain these machines, put them in motion. They are proud to show their know-how, to explain the whole process of making a gold chain, a gold coin ...

With great enthusiasm and pride, they teach us all about the smelting of gold, the different alloys, rolling, the making of gold threads and their transformation into anchor chains, royal, Venetian, tail- de-fox, polishing, recycling, enamelling, guillochage… not to mention the use of… garlic juice! And yes, there are little manufacturing secrets that are revealed in this way!
With a power hammer, with a crashing noise, the worker imprints a shape in the metal which he then offers to visitors. A very precious little souvenir - even if it is not golden!

Jewelry through the millennia

To learn all about the evolution of jewelry, admire precious little treasures, head to the jewelry museum. It is a building designed by the architect Reuchlin that serves as the setting for a collection of nearly 2,000 pieces retracing the art of jewelry for 5,000 years.

In the various rooms, you can admire small wonders from antiquity to the present day, ethnographic jewelry, magnificent pocket watches.

Year of the 250th anniversary requires, two temporary exhibitions seduce visitors. "Must sees" recounts with a touch of mischief the place of jewelry in pictorial art, for example "spilling out" rows of pearls from a painting. The “must-haves” exhibition attracts all women: pieces from great jewelers… Tiffany, Boucheron, Chopard and other Van Cleef

Failing to own one of the prestigious jewels, you can always console yourself: at the Schmuckwelten workshop everyone can create their own jewelry. It is also here that designers and goldsmiths exhibit their creations.

All that glitters is not gold

In this festive year, Pforzheim is making many nods to goldsmithing, the industry for which it is famous.

Big nuggets dot the city (don't even think about stealing them: they are not gold!). But you can taste liquid gold (so to speak): the Ketterer brewery released a special “Imperial Gold” beer and at the Schlosskeller (16 beers on tap)

even the burgers are dusted with gold!

Galerie de photos