Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With approximately 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart. Mannheim is located at the confluence of the River Rhine and the River Neckar in the northwestern corner of Baden-Württemberg. The Rhine separates Mannheim from the city of Ludwigshafen, just to the west of it, in Rhineland-Palatinate. The border of Baden-Württemberg with the Bundesland of Hesse is just north of Mannheim, and Mannheim is just downstream along the Neckar from the city of Heidelberg. Mannheim is the largest city of the Rhine Neckar Area, a metropolitan area with about 2.4 million inhabitants. Mannheim is unusual among German cities in that the streets and avenues of Mannheim's central area are laid out in a grid pattern, just as most North American and Australian cities and towns. Because of this, the city's nickname is city of the squares". One main route through the streets and avenues runs by a large eighteenth century palace, the Mannheim Palace. This former home of the rulers of the Palatinate now houses part of the University of Mannheim. The civic symbol of Mannheim is the water tower, an old tower that is located just east of the city's centre. Mannheim is also the location of both the start and the finish of Bertha Benz Memorial Route.
The University of Mannheim is one of the younger German universities. It offers Bachelor, Master, and PhD degrees and is mainly located in Mannheim Palace. About 800 scholars and 9,300 students are enrolled. Several rankings, awards, and evaluations attest to the quality of research and teaching at the University of Mannheim. The QS World University Rankings place the university as the 244th best institution globally, with its Social Science programme ranked 66th.
Mannheim Palace is a large Baroque palace. It was originally the main residence of the Prince-electors of the Electorate of the Palatinate. It is now primarily used by the University of Mannheim. The actual palace dates from the 18th century. When Elector Karl III Philip had confessional controversies with the inhabitants of his capital Heidelberg, he decided to make Mannheim the Palatinate's new capital in 1720. Karl Philip decided to construct a new palace as his residence on the site of the old Friedrichsburg. It was part of a general trend among the German princes to create grand new residences in that era. Construction was commenced solemnly on June 2, 1720. The first administrative institutions began using the palace in 1725, but Karl Philip was able to transfer his court to the new residence only in 1731. Construction was not completed until 1760. In World War II, the palace was heavily bombed and partly destroyed. Many people supported demolishing it after the war to create space for a more modern city architecture. These plans came to nothing and the palace was reconstructed.
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