Much of the huge palace at Mannheim is now occupied by the university and by some local government offices. But the centre part has been beautifully restored following serious damage in World War II. A quite good, if somewhat pretentious, audio tour ["And now, dear visitor, we are almost ready to start the tour by climbing the stairs, but first...". Hey, just get on with it!]. Most of it is, though, is concerned with detailed early German history, which I found difficult to cope with without a diagram or some prior knowledge.

Very little in the audio guide about Mannheim’s music, but the complex history did put the music into context: everything about the palace is there to create a good impression, and having the best orchestra in the neighbourhood is just a part of that. I took some photos of the massive courtyard outside, including an attempt at a hand-held panorama.

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