Wander logo

Heidelberg on the Neckar River

A lovely university city in Germany

By Rasma RaistersPublished 2 months ago 4 min read

The lovely city of Heidelberg is on the Neckar River. It is known for its distinguished 14th-century university.

Heidelberg Castle sits upon Konigstul Hill. You can reach the castle by taking the Bergbahn funicular which also offers fantastic views of the river and the Baroque Old Town. Other options include climbing the steep, cobblestone trail. This is a Renaissance castle which is illuminated at night. Here you can find the world's largest wine cask. The castle is the site of many festivals held in the courtyard. There are also theater performances, concerts, and fireworks displays. From June to August one of the most popular events is the Heidelberg Castle Festival featuring an eclectic mix of theater, choral music, chamber orchestras, jazz, folk, and opera. The courtyard is surrounded by Gothic and Renaissance buildings. You can sit on the benches on the terrace to enjoy the view and have a picnic.

The Grosses Fass is the world's largest wine cast with a capacity of about 228,000 liters. The wine barrel is from the mid-18th century and is shaped from 180 oak trees. At the adjacent cafe, you can enjoy beer, wine, and hot mulled wine in the wintertime.

Ruprecht Karls University is the oldest university in Germany. It was established in 1386 by Count Palatinate Ruprecht I. There are 12 faculties and over 29,000 students from 80 nations. The most historic facilities are around Universitatsplatz which is dominated by the Alte Universitat on the south side and the Neue Universitat on the north side.

Nearby is the Lowenbrunnen or Lions Fountain.

The New University was built from 1928-31.

Behind it is the Hexenturm or Witches Tower which was once part of the town's fortifications.

In nearby Grabengasse is the University Library.

One of the highlights is the 15th-century Peterkirche, a tiny chapel used as the university church.

Along the Philosophers' Way, you can take in great views through the forest to different monuments, towers, ruins, a beer garden, and the Thingsstatte, a Nazi-era amphitheater. The walkway is on the north side of the Neckar and stretches along the side of Heilignberg or Saints' Mountain. There are beautiful views at sunset.

The walkway is linked to the Old Bridge by the Snake Path, a series of switchbacks. This is where the university's philosophers would walk and was a favorite walk of author Mark Twain when he visited Heidelberg.

Karl Theodor Bridge or the Old Bridge has been immortalized in many poems and paintings. It spans the Neckar, joining the two sides of historic Heidelberg. The bridge has lovely sculptures.

Its sister bridge is the twin-towered Bruckentor.

Heiligenberg Hill rises more than 400 meters on the opposite side of the Neckar from the Altstadt. You can enjoy exploring the hill from the Schlangenweg, a winding path that begins just above the Old Bridge and winds through vineyards and into the forest, crossing the Philosophers' Way.

At the top of the hill, you'll find the ruins of Michaelskloster, the Monastery of St. Michael. It was built in the 11th century and abandoned in the 16th century. Adjoining it is Thingstatte, a Nazi-era amphitheater, and at the very top the Heiligenberg Aussichtsturm, an old observation tower.

Beside the tower gate on the Old Town side is a brass sculpture of a monkey holding a mirror and surrounded by mice. It is thought that if you touch the mirror you’ll become wealthy, the outstretched fingers to make sure you return to Heidelberg and the mice to make sure you have many children.

Haupststrasse is a narrow main street that spans out into narrower side streets and alleyways. It is interesting to explore as here you can find Medieval architecture, old churches, boutique shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants.

Along this street, you'll find Heiliggeistkirche or the Church of the Holy Spirit an early 15th-century church. Its Baroque spire is a landmark of the Old Town. You can climb the 200 steps to the tower to get great views of the city, river, and castle.

Haus zum Ritter, a Renaissance building dating from 1592. It houses a hotel and restaurant.

The Palatinate Museum is housed in the Baroque Palais Morass. It was founded in the late 1870s and it has a collection that includes a cast of the lower jaw of the 500,000-year-old Heidelberg Man, discovered near here in 1908. The Applied Arts collection includes fine examples of area porcelain, medallions, coins, and glassware. There are sculptures from the 12th to 20th centuries.

The Heidelberg Zoo is located on the north bank of the Neckar. It has over 1,100 animals. The red pandas enjoy spending the day high up in tree branches, the Sumatran tigers love to roam through the dense bamboo forest in their enclosure. You'll see bright orange and red Cuban flamingos gathered by their lake and the Asian elephants love to cool off in their bathing pool. Popular with visitors are the Berber lion pair, Chalid and Binta. The zoo focuses on experimental education. The Zoo Academy, the education department, focuses on animals and nature, laboratories, technology, and exhibitions, and offers a wide range of events for different age groups.


About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.