At an altitude of 2,415 feet, Freudenstadt claims to be the sunniest German resort town. The French Army flattened the town in April 1945, but it has since been painstakingly rebuilt. Refugees and silver miners founded the "city of joy" in 1599 after escaping religious persecution in the Austrian province of Carinthia. The expansive central square, more than 650 feet long and edged with arcaded shops, is Germany's largest
marketplace. The square still awaits the palace that was supposed to be built here for the city's founder, Prince Frederick I of Württemberg, who died before work could begin. It is difficult to admire its vastness, since a busy, four-lane street cuts it nearly in half. When the fountains all spout on this square, it can be quite a sight, and a refreshing one as well.