Schwäbisch Gmünd – discoveries between heaven and earth
Time has always run a little bit differently in Schwäbisch Gmünd – a town famous for its unique sense of beauty, for its crafts, architecture, design, jewellery and culture.
The town centre is characterised by a mix of buildings constructed over the course of the last eight centuries; the Marktplatz and the Münsterplatz are two of the most beautiful squares in the whole of southern Germany. Set in the picturesque foothills of the Swabian Alb and Dreikaiserberge mountains, Schwäbisch Gmünd enjoys an almost Mediterranean quality of life. It is situated in the centre of southern Germany in Ostalbkreis, a district in the region of East Württemberg, 50 km from the state capital of Stuttgart. The large town has a population of approximately 60,000, spread throughout the town itself and 11 urban districts.
In 2012, Schwäbisch Gmünd celebrated 850 years of history. The festivities included the Staufer Saga, a visually staged open-air performance of the entire history of the Hohenstaufen family with around 3,000 volunteers and helpers, which is now re-performed every few years. Since then, Schwäbisch Gmünd has also housed a historically authentic copy of the imperial regalia comprising the medieval imperial crown, the imperial sword, the imperial orb and the coronation cloak.
After the Hohenstaufen dynasty ended, the town achieved the status of free imperial city. From the 17th century onwards, gold and silver work became the dominant craft.
In the 18th century (approx. 1730-1770), the town once again experienced a major cultural renaissance: the magnificent interiors of the churches, the converted patrician houses, and the market square redesigned by the town’s master mason Johann Michael Keller still provide the town with a late Baroque flair today.
Nowadays, the town is also shaped by the automotive supply industry. Barmer GEK – Germany’s largest health insurance provider – also has its headquarters here, and the town continues to uphold its excellent reputation thanks to its high degree of creativity and competence in education. The HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd (university of applied sciences) is a renowned centre for design education; the PH Schwäbisch Gmünd (university of teacher training) and other research, study and training opportunities, including the FEM (a research institute for precious metals and metal chemistry), complete the local range of institutions that are nationally renowned.
The extraordinary character of Schwäbisch Gmünd – with its combination of tradition, history, creativity and innovation – was also reflected in the State Garden Show in 2014 and the Remstal Garden Show in 2019. And the whole family can still enjoy a relaxing day out at the two parks ‘between heaven and earth’, even today. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views from observation towers, the stunning little St. Salvator lane, a mysterious forest adventure trail, a minigolf course, water play areas, the world of Weleda, the natural cosmetics and pharmaceuticals manufacturer, the Skypark climbing park, a ‘Jurassic Park’ with dinosaurs, and many more exciting attractions. Along with the other municipalities from Essingen to Remseck, Schwäbisch Gmünd is an attractive, charming and sustainable destination for anyone from the Stuttgart region or beyond seeking a relaxing, culturally-enriching or leisure-packed experience.