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Tübingen - Young Charm of the Old Town

Tübingen takes pride of place among the five classical «university towns» of Germany. It can be definitely called a university town. However, it does not mean that tourists will be bored here. Various festivals and events like a traditional race of rubber ducks in October will make their stay here joyful and memorable. Another attractive feature of Tübingen is a genuine, and not restored architecture. Today's tourists have a unique chance to see the town as it was seen by many historic figures.

The suffix «-ingen» in the town name indicates that it was founded nearly one and half thousand years ago by representatives of one of the Alemannic tribes. However, the first official mention of Tübingen dates from the year 1078, when the Emperor Henry IV laid siege to the nearby Hohentübingen Castle. A gibbet appeared in Tübingen in about 1204, that is indicative of a well-developed system of justice. The town even had its own coin minted – a Tübingen pfennig.

Establishment of the University of Tübingen by Count Eberhard the Bearded (Eberhard im Bart) (later - the first Duke of Württemberg) in 1477 was the most important event that influenced the history and development of Tübingen. This educational institution quickly earned the fame of one of the largest scientific and theological centers in Europe. Locals are fond of saying: "Tübingen does not have a university, it is a university." Today the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen) is among the leading universities in Germany.

Students make up almost one third of the population of Tübingen, due to which the town is considered one of the youngest in Germany. The average age of the population here is 38 years. Owing to this, life in the town goes on full speed ahead: it regularly hosts a variety of cultural festivals, poetry readings and other events. In particular, in May or June of each year there is a traditional Stocherkahnrennen punt boat race on the Neckar river, with the participation of student fraternities. The team which comes first to the finish line is awarded a barrel of beer, while the losers have to drink half a liter of cod-liver oil in front of the public. The first Saturday of October is the time for rubber duck race in Tübingen. Anyone can participate in this event, which is held since 1999. More than seven thousand (!) toy ducks were involved in the race in 2014, and revenues were transferred to the homeless shelter.

The local cuisine is mainly represented by the Swabian dishes which are simple but satisfying, unpretentious but with a deep history. Very popular is Schupfnudel (also called Bubespitzle) - plump noodles made from potato dough, which is often served with sauerkraut. Gaisburger Marsch is another pillar of the Swabian cuisine – a thick soup with beef and Spätzle noodles. One theory is that its name is associated with a small restaurant Bäckerschmide in the town of Gaysburg (currently part of Stuttgart), where guests in the XIX century were nourished just with this soup. It was also adored by soldiers who regularly attended the restaurant. Almost every menu contains Maultaschen - a dish made of dough with a filling, resembling ravioli or dumplings. The braves can dare to order Saure Kutteln – a sour tripe. For dessert one can taste Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte - the famous "Black Forest" cake. Given that Tübingen is one of the two German towns, claiming authorship of the recipe, there is a chance to enjoy the most "correct" version of this cake.

Tübingen pleases with spectacular views. It is located on the hills in the valley of Neckar river. One should take a trip on the river surely on flat-bottomed boats, on which boaters punt from the bottom. Such a trip enables to relax and enjoy views of the town. The tower (Holderlinturm), where the poet Friedrich Hölderlin spent 30 years, struggling with mental instability, is also well visible from the river. From the hills one can take photos of red roofs and enjoy the views of the Swabian Alps. Perfect views are offered from the walls of the medieval Hohentübingen Castle (Schloss Hohentübingen). A plane-tree alley, located on Neckarinsel island, creates a restful mood. You can take a serene walk through the historic center with its half-timbered and painted houses, market square with the Neptune fountain. There are no crowds of travelers here, so it is easy to feel the aura of the old town. In short, Tübingen is a place with a quiet and slow-paced life, a place where students ride bikes, river swashes and history is felt...

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