Pforzheim © weidegruen
Founded by the Romans as a mercantile centre on the northern edge of the Black Forest, Pforzheim, at the confluence of the Wurm, Enz and Nagold Rivers, is today the centre for traditional jewellery and clock-making in Germany. The town is home to the fascinating Technisches Museum, commemorating the important role time-keeping has played in Pforzheim's history. The museum features a reconstruction of a clock-making studio in the 19th century, among other things. Jewellery is also important in the town and the Schmuckmuseum collection features pieces dating from the 3rd century BC through to modern times. Pforzheim also has an interesting Alpine Garden which has 100,000 or more varieties of high-altitude plants growing in a natural setting beside the Wurm River.
Tragically, about a quarter of Pforzheim's population was killed in air raids during World War II and up to 80 percent of its buildings destroyed so today it looks much more modern than one would expect for an ancient settlement. Visitors can still see some charming 1950s buildings from the rebuilding project though and some historic structures have survived; besides, the town's involvement in the war is interesting, particularly for military history buffs. On a lighter note, the famous rock band Fool's Garden originated in the town.