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Solingen - City of a Thousand Blades

Solingen is known as the manufacturer of the world’s best knives, swords and other instruments. Steel is specially respected here- so much that in 2012 the city received the second official name – “the City of Blades” (Klingenstadt Solingen). The minimum program of visiting this city includes exploring the history of the city in Blade Museum, wandering through the trails above the Wupper River, a ride on a suspended ferry, buying a famous knife and photographing the fantastic panorama of the Burg Castle’s walls.

The whole history of Solingen is associated with metallurgy, forging and gunnery. The first written mention of the city dates back to 1067. At that time this little place on the Wupper River was chosen by skilled blacksmiths. And all this is because this region had deposits of iron ore, coal and lead. The smiths needed the river to make weapons, agricultural supplies and for the transportation of finished products. Curiously, the first local craftsmen did not disdain to give their products the brand name of their better known colleagues from the nearby town of Nassau (now it is in the Netherlands). Solingen’s masters went out of the shadows only at the beginning of the XV century. At that time it was granted a city status and the golden era began for Solingen’s steel. The population began to grow rapidly, and the name Solingen became a mark of quality, a brand name, protected by patent. Solingen’s masters were strictly forbidden to move to other places, so as not to carry the local steel secrets with them. Over time, the production of blades, shaving accessories, cutlery and other steel products became industry.

Several companies producing high-quality cutting products still operate in Solingen. Brands like Boker, Five Star, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Wusthof and others still continue the tradition of Solingen’s gunsmiths. Most modern companies producing instruments have evolved even from the medieval craft associations! You can find more about the history of the City of Blades in the Blades Museum (Klingenmuseum) located in a former convent. The local collection is the most complete collection of edged weapons in Germany!

Throughout its history, Solingen had to carefully keep the purity of the brand. Another thematic museum in the city is the Museum Plagiarius (Plagiarium Museum) is related to this. Here you can get acquainted with the history of counterfeiting brought up to art. The medieval Burg Castle (Schloss Burg), towering over the city, also attracts travelers. It is convenient to climb up to it by special footpaths, laid on a slope above the Wupper River. There is a magnificent landscaped park here and an unusual suspended ferry down the slope, on the river.

The status of a tourist city means a large number of cafes and restaurants. But it is important to know that most of the restaurants in Solingen open at 6.00pm. Until that time, mainly cafeterias are open in the city. A cup of coffee and waffles with cream and strawberries are mostly ordered in them. As for the cuisine in Solingen, it is mostly traditional German. All the restaurants offer simple and hearty dishes such as pork medallions, which are often baked with cheese and served with cabbage and potatoes. However, you should also look for something more soulful in the menu of local restaurants, for example, the Viennese veal cutlets, venison medallions, roast duck breast, served with ginger, cabbage and potatoes. It is recommended to try white asparagus here in due season. There is also a specific dish. At the beginning of the XIX century, there were about 100 professional birders in Solingen. They caught robins which, after appropriate processing, were used as food. Times have changed, but now, too, you can find poultry dishes in some restaurants in Solingen.

Besides knives and other steel products, trolley is also a local attraction... Trolleybuses are in use only in a few German cities. One of the routes take you to the nearby town of Wuppertal. Wuppertal and Düsseldorf leave Solingen in shadow despite the latter’s worldwide fame. In fact, it is considered a suburb of the two major cities. But most importantly - you can walk through the City of Blades almost without worrying about your own safety. From year to year, Solingen tops the list of the safest cities in Germany!

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