Kaiserslautern offers visitors a unique locale

Rebecca Sheldon, Story and photos
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***Kaiserslautern’s history is steeped in fish, big fish to be exact.
Sightseers taking part in a city tour sponsored by the U.S. Army
Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Army Community Service got the chance to find
out just what the fish means to Kaisers-lautern.

In the 1400s, a gigantic fish, reportedly weighing more than 380 pounds
and close to 20-feet long, was caught in what was then known as the
Emperor’s Lake of Kaiserslautern, said Elisebeth Tausch, City of
Kaiserslautern tour guide.

Today, the city’s crest features a fish, and a variety of artistically painted fish dot the landscape outside local businesses.

During the two-and-a-half-hour walking tour, ACS tour members saw parts of Kaiserslautern they normally wouldn’t notice.

***image2***“I’ve lived in Kaiserslautern for three years and have been to the
farmers’ and Christmas markets, but knew nothing about the history of
the city,” said Nancy Weber, military dependent and tour participant.
“This tour was an ideal way to find out more about the medieval origins
of this area.”

Known as the “little big city,” Kaiserslautern boasts a population of
about 103,000 people. “We are truly an international city and our Lord
Mayor Bernhard Deubig is proud of the fact that we have 126 nations
represented in our area,” Ms. Tausch said.

This was the first time ACS has sponsored a local city tour and ACS
coordinator, Linda Alvarado, plans to hold them on a regular basis.

“We thought it was a good idea to offer a short cultural tour of the
city since so many people are assigned here and want to learn about its
history,” Ms. Alvarado said. “The City of Kaiserslautern’s tourist
office can accommodate a variety of groups, and people don’t have to go
far to take advantage of this travel opportunity right in their own
back yard.”

Tour stops included the modern City Hall, built in the mid-1960s,
Pfalztheater, World War I Memorial, St. Martin’s Square, the Imperial
Palace ruins, and the Theodor-Zink Museum.

However, the tour’s two biggest highlights were the Emperor’s fountain and catacombs.

A meandering underground passage located in front of City Hall is part
of the ruins of the Imperial Palace, dating back to 1152. Today,
non-claustrophobic visitors can wander through the subterranean passage
that was used as an escape route in earlier times.

***image3***Further west is the Emperor’s Fountain, created by artist Gernot Rumpf
in 1987. Crafted from sandstone and bronze, the fountain features a
variety of whimsical figures representing the city of Kaiserslautern.
Of course, the giant fish is present, along with the University Owl, a
sewing machine and a motor block for the Pfaff sewing-machine company
and automaker Opel.

People interested in taking part in the next Kaiserslautern City Tour
can contact USAGK ACS at 0631-536-6476. You can also e-mail the tourist
office at information@kaiserslautern.de for more details about their