Friday, September 04, 2015

Heidelberg - Part I

 Kornmarket Square with the Madonna Statue and the Castle in the background. Scott is cooling off in the basin.

We drove out of the mountains down the River Nekker to
Heidelberg. We saw several rowing shells practicing.
 Heidelberg is an old city and humans have lived here back to ancient times. "Heidelberg Man" was discovered in 1907. He died here between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. It was a Celtic fortress and place of worship in the 5th C BC and in 40 AD the Romans built a fort on the still remaining ruins.
The town was founded in 1186 and Heidelberg University in 1386. In 1815 a few months after publishing his 95 Theses, Martin Luther defended them here.
As soon as Hitler assumed power in 1933 non Aryan professors were ejected and it was a stronghold of the National Socialist Workers Party during the war years.
Looking from the river into the old town 
 It is popularly believed that Heidelberg escaped the bombing that destroyed so many other German towns because the U.S. wanted it for their regional garrison but other non industrial or transport hubs also were spared. It has one of the largest American communities outside of North America - in 2011, 20,000 people.
It's a beautiful city - long and narrow, stretching along both sides of the river with steep hills rising up. Above the "Old Town" on the south bank, Heidelberg Castle sits on a knoll halfway up the mountain. A funicular stops there on it's way to the top of the mountain, "Konigsstuhl", the King's Seat.
We stayed 2 nights at NH Heidelberg about a half hour walk out of the city. It was very modern and comfortable although the breakfast was so expensive (22 Euros) we had to find a place to eat (even have coffee) around the area. Our first night we got there fairly late so had dinner at the top of a modern department store - a big buffet place with nice views. It was great having a whole day with out traveling. More in my second post on this Romantic city.
The old stone bridge was erected in 1786 on the site of the Roman
bridge. Part of it was destroyed by the Nazis as they left the city.

This medieval bridge gate was originally part of the town walls.

 Marketplatz Square.

The Interior of the Church of the Holy Spirit

The famous chocolates, Student Kiss, were invented in 1863 and
promoted as a gallant token of affection.

The bridge mandrill

The Castle seen from the bridge. The Castle was mostly destroyed
 during The Thirty Years War. In 1800 Count Graimberg
 stepped in to preserve what was left.

A view in the other direction 

This student "prison" was a badge of celebrity rather than a
punishment - a rite of passage until 1914.
Marks the spot Luther defended his Theses

Hauptstrasse, the mile long Main St. is filled with cafes

American "culture" is everywhere!

The side of the Church of the Holy Spirit, like many it had shops
for rent all along it's first floor (not in the front).

Only a few blocks go off the Main St. before
you reach either the river or the hill.

"I saw Heidelberg on a perfectly clear morning,
 with a pleasant air both cool and invigorating.
 The city, just so, with the totality of its ambiance
 is, one might say, something ideal.
 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 

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