Metzingen is situated in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the south-west corner of Germany. It lies about 19 miles south of Stuttgart, the state capital and Metzingen’s nearest airport. This is the region of the Schwäbische Alb, a low mountain range bounded by the Danube to the south-east and the upper Neckar to the north-west.
Vineyards cover the slopes surrounding Metzingen and neighbouring villages such as Neuhausen. Wine has been made here since the 11th century and the seven medieval wine presses (Keltern) that still stand in Metzingen’s central square are a reminder of this strong local tradition. Wine-making continues to this day and every September a week-long wine festival is held to celebrate the production of the new wine. One of the Keltern was restored in 2009 to make a fascinating wine museum and another serves as a function room (Festkelter). During the wine festival local wine and Swabian dishes are served here and a band, dressed in traditional costume, plays well-known songs. This is a jolly occasion where everyone joins in the singing and actions and many end up standing on the benches, arms linked, swaying to the music. It just has to be experienced!
In the past the Schwäbische Alb was noted for its sheep rearing and this led to the development of a strong textile industry. Textile factories came and went but fortunately for Metzingen, Hugo Boss set up its headquarters there and this led to the expansion of outlet stores. Metzingen now has over 80 of these and its outlet city pulls in 3 million tourists a year from all over Europe. This is no ugly blot on the landscape, however, but an award-winning architectural complex and one that has brought prosperity to the town. Metzingen’s population currently stands at 22,000, making it the largest of the 3 twin towns.
The region around Metzingen has much to offer visitors. The meadows, woods and vine-growing hills provide excellent walking and cycling country and interesting historical towns and castles lie within easy reach. On Hexham’s various exchanges with Metzingen we have been taken to see Tübingen, Ulm, Bad Urach and Esslingen – all fascinating old towns with quaint timber-framed buildings. We have also visited Hohenneuffen castle and Bebenhausen monastery. The area has a strong musical tradition, with an excellent chamber orchestra, wind band and choir and, of course, Stuttgart as the regional centre offers a wider range of musical offering, and also excellent museums and art galleries.
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