California may have more famous cities. But the capital Sacramento should definitely not be missed on a trip to California.
In Sacramento one encounters the history of the interesting US state California at every turn, which for many Europeans is still and again and again a dream destination. Why is that? Because Sacramento, for example, is closely linked to the history of the gold rush and offers an almost unique wild west romance in the “Old Town”. Sacramento is also an ideal base from which to visit many of California’s natural beauties and cities. San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose are not far, as is Yosemite National Park it is really only a stone’s throw away. In Sacramento you have almost something like a sun guarantee in summer. The climate there is reminiscent of the Mediterranean climate; so it can get very hot at times. Rain, on the other hand, is a real rarity.
The gold lures to this day
Sacramento was originally nothing more than a huge resting place for settlers who stop in the heat of the Pacific hinterland in search of a new home in the west. At that time the country belonged to the Swiss pioneer Johannes August Sutter, who cultivated it as a colony under the name of “New Helvetia” with the tolerance of the Mexicans. However, when gold was found during construction work, the peace was over. The war between the Americans and Mexicans, which the Americans won, had already hit Sutter. Under the onslaught of gold diggers, he finally lost control of the area, which only two years later received official city status and four years later, in 1854, became the capital of California.
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The gold diggers moved on at some point, but their legends and stories still attract visitors from all over the world to this day. What do you get to see today? The original Sutter Fort, for example, which dates back to 1839 and is one of the oldest buildings in Sacramento. A stroll through the old town is also a true history lesson. Over a hundred buildings there give an extremely vivid impression of the time when, with a little luck, fortunes were made overnight and, with a lot of bad luck, not only lifelong dreams but entire existences were destroyed just as quickly. If you want to conquer this wild world of hope, greed for money, excessiveness and despair in a particularly stylish way, you can take a wild west carriage through the old town.
A must for railway fans
Not only the gold rush, the railroad has also left its mark on Sacramento. Only locomotives and tracks made it possible to open up the “Wild West” quickly. The “Sacramento Valley Railroad” played an important role. The “California State Railroad Museum” in Sacramento traces the immense feat of strength that the construction of the railroad meant, as well as the consequences that this technical development brought about. Today the house is one of the best railway museums in the world. The building is located directly across from the former Sacramento Central Station.
Impressions from the natives
Long before the railroad and the European settlers, Indians lived in today’s urban area. Over a hundred tribes are said to have had their ancestral habitat here and in other parts of California over the centuries. The State Indian Museum, located on the grounds of the Sutter Fort, is dedicated to all of them. In the museum, both the history and the culture of the North American indigenous people are impressively documented.
Washington sends its regards…
Of course, Sacramento not only has a past, but also a very vibrant present. In the lively metropolis, which together with the surrounding communities has a population of over two million, people work, live – and rule. The parliament building is architecturally modeled on the Capitol in Washington. Like its great role model, the government building in Sacramento can also be visited. This is most fun during guided tours. Then you will find interesting facts about the city and anecdotes about MPs and members of the government.
… and the hinterland too
Sacramento is a comparatively quiet city, which is ideal as a starting point for excursions into the spectacular natural landscapes of California. Yosemite National Park begins less than 20 miles from the city limits and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It is also not far to the Sierra Nevada, Glacier Point and Mono Lake. If you want to go to the Pacific coast, you have to calculate a drive of around 120 miles from Sacramento.