Discovery of Heidelberg – top 10 best places to visit

The city is concerned with love and romance. It is famous all over the world for its tourism. You can look for dreamy romance in the old bridges and palaces; you can praise high-level cultural and event feasts; you can experience a warm and welcoming dining culture. Heidelberg is a wonderful paradise between the Neckar River and the Oden Forest.

1. Heidelberg Castle

The castle was built in the 13th century. It was struck twice in 1537 and 1764, and it was severely damaged in the Thirty Years’ War and the Great League War. It gradually formed today’s pattern. The biggest attraction in the castle is the world’s largest wine barrel. This is the fourth barrel of similar size that has been repeatedly built in the castle because of the war. The barrel at present was built in 1751 that can hold 221,726 liters of wine. There is also a medical museum in the castle that shows the pharmacy of hundreds of years ago. This old castle which has been destroyed is incomplete, and not refined. It has buried the story of the years in the broken wall, but it has been comforted by time.

2. Karl – Theodor Bridge

The Karl-Theodor Bridge is also called ‘Old Bridge’. It’s named after the elector who built the baroque stone bridge in 1788. This is the ninth bridge in this position since ancient Roman times and the oldest bridge on the Neckar River in Heidelberg. The bridge is a pedestrian bridge for most of the time and you can look up to the castle. The sculpture at the southern end of the bridge is the elector Karl Theodor, and another one at the northern end is the goddess of wisdom. At the southern end of the bridge is the bridge gate. The two 28-meter-high round towers left was built at the 15th century that are the oldest part of the old bridge. The bridge gate was originally used to collect the “fee for crossing the bridge”.

3. Hauptstraße

Hauptstraße that is the main street is the most important street in the Old Town of Heidelberg from the Bismarck Square in the west to the Karl Square in the east. This 1.6-kilometre pedestrian street houses the main shopping and dining options in the Old Town and it’s one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. The main street is paved by stone slabs and narrow, and it was formed in the Middle Ages. However, the buildings on both sides were mostly destroyed during the Great League War of the French invasion in the late 17th century. The houses built later were mostly of Baroque style. Built in 1592, the Knights Inn at 178 on the main street is one of the few surviving buildings, which is an outstanding example of Renaissance architecture and the oldest building on the main street.

4. Neckar River

The Neckar River is an important tributary of the Rhine originating in the Black Forest. It flows through Tubingen, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, etc., and finally merges into the Rhine in Mannheim. The Neckar River passes through the city and close to the old town. It’s between the green hills and valleys and a perfect picture is formed with the old bridge and the castle. On the north and south banks of the river, there are places for pedestrians to walk, especially on the north bank. There are lawns and gardens, which are good places to enjoy the scenery. Boat trips are the best way to explore the Neckar River and the castle. You will see a different Heidelberg in the most close way to the river and from the lowest angle of view.

5. Philosophenweg

The philosopher’s path is a two-kilometer long walking trail on the half-mountain of the southern slope of the holy mountain and on the north side of the Neckar River in Heidelberg. Because of its pleasant and quiet scenery that is suitable for thinking, it has been loved by professors, scholars and philosophers in history. They often wandered in this place to capture the inspiration of thought. Now, the trail is still a good place to hang down the old town of Heidelberg. This is a beautiful and quiet path where there are no shops and no bustling tourists. You can think like a philosopher strolling on such a small road and you can also do nothing. You can overlook the opposite side of the Neckar River at the observation deck or rest on a bench in the small garden. What’s more, you can read a few romantic verses in front of the monument to Eichdorf.

6. Brass Monkey

At the end of the Old Bridge, there is a sculpture of a copper monkey. The copper monkey with hollow face holds a mirror in his hand and is surrounded by two mice. There are many sayings about this copper monkey. Some people say that this mirror is to remind people to reflect on themselves. Some people say that touching the mirror in the monkey’s hand will bring wealth and holding the finger of the copper monkey will bless you to return to Heidelberg in the future.

7. Heidelberg University Square

Founded in 1386, the University of Heidelberg is the oldest university in Germany with the majors various from theology, law, medicine, philosophy. And at present there are nearly 30,000 registered students in 12 departments. The University Square is the heart of the University of Heidelberg, and there are many university buildings, faculties and former residences of important scholars in the vicinity of the square. On the side of the University Square, there is an old university built in the early 18th century and a new university built in the early 20th century. The library is not far from the  square which is the building that blends Germanic and Art Nouveau styles with red bricks.

8. Church of the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost Cathedral on the Market Square is the largest and most important church in the Old Town. This is an old and elegant Gothic building built of red bricks between 1344 and 1441 and has been nearly 700 years old. The original mausoleums of the kings and electors in the church were destroyed in the Great League War. The only left mausoleum is the one for the builder of the church, Emperor Rupert III. The interior of the church was very simple. A barrier was placed in the middle of the church to separate Catholics and Protestants in the same church from 1706 to 1936. This partition wall existed for 230 years and was not dismantled until 1936. So the church has been totally Protestant since then.

9. Students’ Prison

From 1823 to 1914, it was used to imprison students who violated the school rules such as drinking and swearing in the middle of the night. According to the “crime”, the students could be imprisoned for from two days to four weeks. During the “incarceration” period, they should still attend classes during the day. After all, it wasn’t a real prison. It is not forbidden to buy food from other places nor is it forbidden to visit the ‘criminals’ in the prison. Therefore, it has quickly become a student paradise where the students can do anything they want in the evening. A lot of students deliberately made a fight and caused the trouble to get here. During the boring days of the students who were locked up here, they used to graffiti on the walls of the prison.

10. German Pharmacy Museum

The German Pharmacy Museum was built in 1957 and is said to be the only medical museum in the world that shows the history of the pharmacy industry from ancient times to the 20th century. The old bottles and jars are gently groomed by time as if they cross time and space. There are several unique collection rooms, a rare pharmacy dispensing room and an alchemy lab. Visitors can also see a lot of treatments for the ancestors who are still very strange today. In addition to the glazed pottery made in Italy, in Netherlands and in Germany, there are also pharmacy glassware made in Germany.

In the minds of many people, Heidelberg is the epitome of romantic Germany. In history, many poets and artists came to Heidelberg and were impressed by Heidelberg. There are so many reasons for that Heidelberg is pampered. The poet Goethe wrote “my heart was lost in Heidelberg forever”, Mark Twain said that Heidelberg is the “most beautiful place he has ever been”, Hugo was also deeply involved and he expressed that “I have been in this city for ten days, I’m still unable to extricate myself.”

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