Written by Karen Martin
Schlossgarten, literally ‘castle garden’, is an idyllic urban park around which busy shopping areas and many of Stuttgart’s cultural institutions lie, such as the city theatre, the famous ballet and opera house, city gallery, and the new and old castles.
Opera singer Tajana Raj is a mezzo-soprano at Staatsoper Stuttgart, among Europe’s most important opera houses, located in the Schlossgarten. “Obviously, this would be my first recommendation for any tourist or traveller who enjoys a high-class opera performance or an evening with the Stuttgart Ballet!” she says.
From the opera house it is only a short walk to the main shopping area and some of Stuttgart’s finest art museums, such as the Kunstmuseum, a contemporary glass cube in the middle of the main shopping street. “The top floor is the best place to take in a view of Stuttgart city, including the Schlossplatz, the historic Stiftskirche, and the popular Königstrasse,” says Tajana.
“Only a few steps away, next to the museum, you will find one of the city’s most popular places to be – the Waranga Bar,” she adds. “What, a long time ago, used to be an alternative beer pub, has turned into a trendy, two-level bar with an open space patio.”
For those who like it traditional, Tajana recommends trying one of the regional Swabian dishes at the Weinstube Zur Kiste – the town’s oldest wine pub with down-to-earth local food and German gemütlichkeit. “A Swabian must is a dish called Maultaschen,” she says.
“My favourite place to go out for food is a pub/café called Amadeus, located in a historic building from 1712,” says Tajana. “I love their burgers and, to me, it is the best location to meet up with friends for a relaxed Sunday brunch.” If you visit during summer time, the Amadeus also offers a beach feeling, with a beach bar in a quiet adjoining courtyard – a great sandy hideaway from Stuttgart’s busy shopping streets.
“On days off work, when I feel like cooking something special for my friends or just for myself, I stroll through the Markthalle,” says Tajana. The traditional market hall is a pretty Art Nouveau building, and the best place for herbs, fruits, and delicacies from all over the world. “A walk to the market hall is a step away from the hectic shopping street into another world…it smells of exotic herbs, flowers, fish. Amongst the international specialities, you will also find ‘Ajvar’ – a spicy red paste or sauce made of peppers, which always reminds me of my Croatian home.
“My guilty pleasure is a little Italian ice cream shop called Pinguin. You might end up queuing, but once you’ve tried their ice cream, you know it’s worth it! It’s also a great place for watching the city from above.”
Tajana Raj has lived in Stuttgart for almost five years. “I love the cultural variety of the city’s museums, theatres, galleries, musical and comedy scene – there is more to explore than you would expect at first sight!”
Representing the largest theatre of its kind in Europe, the Württemberg State Theatres consist of the Staatsoper Stuttgart – it has been awarded ‘Opera House of the Year’ six times to date – the Schauspiel Stuttgart, and the Stuttgart Ballet, which celebrates its 50th anniversary during a three-week festival from February 4-27 at the Opera House and Kammertheater of the State Theatre Stuttgart. For details and tickets visit: www.staatstheater -stuttgart.de