Heidelberg Germany — THE Place for Precious Moments

The oldest written mention of Heidelberg originates from the year 1196.

Many of the surrounding municipalities and local parts are however substantially older. Some of them were settled in the 6th century.

The Heidelberg University, which is the first in Germany, was created in the year 1386.

In the Middle Ages and in the early modern times, the city was residence of the Pfalzgrafen bei Rhein, one of the lay German cure princes. The historical name for their rule area was Kurpfalz, which was/is the area around Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.

Heidelberg was hit by the first phase of the Thirty Years War, and again on March 2nd, 1689, (and in 1693 again) in the course of the French Palatinatian succession war, later devastated by the Frenchmen under general Mélac.

Also, the castle was partly destroyed and belonged since that time to the most famous romantic castle ruins. It is further considered as one of the most well-known objects of interest of Germany at all.

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberger Schloss — Heidelberg Castle [Photo: Christian Bienia]
Heidelberg Castle

Originally a fort, it was transformed into a castle in 1544. Over the centuries, it has been damaged by war and fire (you can see it by many demolitions). It was rebuilt by Prince Elector Karl Ludwig, but was destroyed once again by French troops.

Prince Elector Karl Theodor, who resided in Schwetzingen, tried to restore the castle to make it inhabitable once again, but in vain: Lightning struck the castle in 1764. In the centuries that followed, the castle was misused as a quarry — castle stones helped to build new houses in the city. This was stopped in 1800 by Count Charles de Graimberg, who made any effort he could to preserve the castle.

During the castle festival in summer, the courtyard is the site of open air musicals, operas and theatre performances and classical concerts. Tip: Go up by feet. There is a secret stairway with 300+ stairs and incredible views along its way up! Just awesome.

Philosophenweg — Way of Philosophs

Philosophenweg (Way of Philosophes) — Heidelberg Germany [Photo: Christian Bienia]
Way of Philosophs

The Philosophenweg is a particularly way, which is very steep at the beginning, and that leads up to the Heiligenberg (holy mountain). Once you went up you will see that it directly faces thereby the castle.

This way is considered as one of the most important touristic landmarks of Heidelberg — after the castle of course. So it's an absolute must experience for you.

Heidelberg City Hall

Heidelberg City Hall [Photo: www.heidelberg.de]
Heidelberg City Hall

Among other things, the predecessor of the present day city hall was destroyed by French troups in 1689. The foundation-stone for Heidelberg's new city hall was laid in 1701. Chief Engineer Flemal was responsible for sketching out the plan for the building located in the middle of the complex.

The sculpture showing masks and the Prince Elector's coat of arms was created by the Hungarian sculpturist Heinrich Charrasky who lived and worked in Heidelberg from 1710 to 1720. You find the city hall at Marktplatz.

Heidelberg Nightlife

Guess where Europe's longest shopping mile is? Right — in Heidelberg! It actually bears the name Hauptstraße (main street) and has a length of 1.6 km (1 mi). On this lenght, I'm sure you will find a lot restaurants, pubs, taverns, etc — whatever you like.

Special Tip!Once you are in Heidelberg, buy its Welcome Card. With it you are going to receive many privileges and FREE usage of public transport! Cost varies from 14 EUR up to 26 EUR and comes as a 2-day or 4-day card. You'll get it at tourist information (at main station) and in most hotels.

Each year, the city provides with a well-known Schlossbeleuchtung (castle lightning). Visit the Web site of Heidelberg for information.


City's Position

Map of Germany Showing Heidelberg's Position [Image: opengeodb.de]

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