Heidelberg is a town on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany. It’s known for venerable Heidelberg University, founded in the 14th century. Gothic sanctuary church towers over the cafe-lined Market Square, a town square in the Old Town (Altstadt). The red-sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle, a noted example of renaissance architecture, stand on Königstuhl hill. On the base of the castle, the fine river Neckar flows along. Across the Neckar there lies an arched bridge called Karl Theodor. This bridge takes you to the famous “Philosophers walk” hill.
I had difficulty in pinpointing the visiting spots in a day. The city offers old castle, a short hike to “Philosophers walk”, an old city street, number of museums, University, Theodor Bridge, Schloss Schwetzingen, Konigsthul, Heiliegenberg , Oldest Botanical garden.
I chose Altstadt, The bridge, The castle, Philosophers way and a museum if possible. University and the Botanical garden are far off (7 to 12 km ) in different direction.
You must be wondering about the title of the post. Neckar from Sky. I really loved the aerial image of the River Neckar that I took. Thats why the title.
How to reach:
Heidelberg is well connected by road and train.
Frankfurt 103 km 1hr 40 min by Train.
Mannheim 20 km 18 min by train.
Osthofen 60 km 50 min by Train.
When to visit :
Except winter period of November to March. Summer months could be little humid. These days Europe becomes quite warm during summer.
Old city. Take a long stroll through the street, enjoy the crowd. Plenty of shopping opportunities, if interested. If you feel hungry and thirsty just choose any food stalls along the street. I took a cup of vegan ice cream and strolled from end to end of the street.
Second hand Market in old city
In one of the corner there lies an open lawn, where in localiltes gathered with dumps of their old and second hand items. Clothes, kitchen items, shoes, woollen, even bras ! It was amusing me to see the crowd in the market. I coming from India, the look and feel of the market was not new but for others I think it is something awesome.
Now towards the Famous Bridge – The Karl Theodor Bridge
Just walk down a bit towards the river bank from Altsdats or the city center, you will hit the bridge.
You will not miss to notice the bronze statue of a monkey. Monkey with a hallow head holding a mirror.
The current statue has only been around since 1979, though the bridge has featured a monkey at the spot as far back as the 15th century. An earlier incarnation also had the monkey holding a mirror up to passersby, but its other hand was clutching its butt. It disappeared somewhere around the Palatinate War of Succession, which lasted from 1689 to 1693.
The current statue, sculpted in bronze by Professor Gernot Rumpf, has the free hand up front, fingers shaping the mano cornuta (horned hand) to prevent the evil eye. The head is hollow with eye holes, which now allows visitors to take selfies while using it as a mask.
The monkey is said to bring good luck. Rubbing the mirror will bring you money; rubbing his fingers will ensure your return to Heidelberg; and rubbing the little bronze mice nearby will bring you fertility.
A plaque below the guenon features a poem written about the monkey by the Baroque writer Martin Zeiler in 1632: “Was thustu mich hie angaff en?/Hastu nicht gesehen den alten Affen zu Heydelberg/Sich dich hin und her/Da findestu wol meines gleichen mehr.” (Why are you staring at me?/Haven’t you seen the old monkey of Heidelberg/Look to and fro/There you will find many more of my own kind.)
While the poem playfully mocks those who read it, placing their head in the monkey’s bronze mask offers a chance to participate in, rather than be the target of, its antagonism. One is, however momentarily, the monkey, surveying the waiting tourists, judging their prying eyes.
Sculptures on the Old Bridge
There are two sculpture groups by Konrad Linck on the Old Bridge. One is a monument to Prince Elector Karl Theodor, who had the bridge built. The other is devoted to the Roman goddess Minerva (in Greek, Pallas Athene). The monument to the Prince Elector is closer to the south shore of the Neckar. The figures arranged on the two-level base around the monument symbolize the most important rivers of the lands governed by Carl Theodor: the Rhine, Mosel, Danube and Isar.
The Prince Elector passionately believed in supporting the arts and sciences, which is why the other monument is dedicated to the goddess of wisdom
Heidelberg Castle is a ruin in Germany and landmark of Heidelberg. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The castle has a history almost as old as the city itself. The first parts of the castle were constructed around 1300, but it wasn’t before Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398 – 1410) that the castle was used as a regal residence. Until it was destroyed by lightning in 1764 leaving it permanently uninhabitable, the castle was the residence for most of the Prince Electors. In 1800, Count Charles de Graimberg began the difficult task of conserving the castle ruins. Up until this time, the citizens of Heidelberg had used the castle stones to build new houses.
Just as breath-taking as the castle is from the city, so too is the city from the castle. From either the Great Terrace or the gardens, one has an amazing view of Heidelberg, the Neckar River, and the Neckar valley far into the Rhine plain.
Built in the 13th century as the residence of the princes of Wittelsbach, Heidelberg Castle was the scene of great, historic happenings and sumptuous feasts. However, it first achieved world-wide fame several centuries later, as a ruin. In the year 1689, and again in the year 1693, the once so proud castle was destroyed by soldiers of King Louis XIV during the Palatinate succession war, after which it was restored, but only in part. When, in the summer of 1764, a bolt of lightning struck the bell tower, setting the castle on fire, after which it was given up forever and, like Sleeping Beauty, fell into a very long sleep.
The castle entry fee is 8 Euros. This includes the entry into the castle, entry to Pharmacy museum and funicular train back to city center from top. There is a guided tour that comes with additional 5 Euros. Guided tour is at regular hourly intervals. I could not take the guided tour. I just walked all over and visited the museum as well.
Entry Time :
8 am – 6 pm (last entry 5:30 pm)
Big Wine Barrel:
8 am – 6 pm (last entry 5:50 pm)
10 am – 5:30 pm (last entry 5:10 pm)
Check out for holidays before you visit.
Upon entering the courtyard, the Friedrich Building Facade attracts the visitors attention. It is richly decorated with sculptures. The builder Friedrich IV is shown in Royal robes.
One common thing in all the tourist place is the Restaurant. Here is no different. Tourists can enjoy the food, drink and relax.
Pharmacy Museum inside the Castle
I did not spend much time at this museum. I did not interest me somehow.
Just back side of the castle, there is a large garden. Very well maintained. You can have beautiful view of River Neckar and of course the ruins of the castle too.
The Philosophers Walk in Heidelberg, or the Philosophenweg, is a path located on the northern banks of the Neckar River in Heidelberg, Germany. Historically, this was just a simple rough path through the vineyards; however, it would later be renamed Philosophenweg during the Romantic Period because of the many professors and philosophers of Heidelberg who enjoyed the path for its solitude, natural beauty, and great views of the town. Today, this path is still there, complete with gardens and informational plaques, offering lovely views of the Neckar River, Old Town of Heidelberg, and Heidelberg Castle. These views of Heidelberg from along this path are said to have inspired the famous German poets Joseph von Eichendorff and Friedrich Hölderlin in their writings.
The station is just few mtrs away from Altstadt. It is a few minutes travel time on the train. The Castle entry fee of 8 Euros includes the train from castle to back to city. I took the tiny train from castle to town.
Well – This is how I saw Heidelberg in a day. There are many museums, which I wanted to cover. Next time. By the way I forgot to touch the monkey. So…………
I walked all the way back to main bus station and took bus no 33 back to train station.
It is about 2.5 km walk from Main train station to Altstadt (Old town). From Altsdatd you can walk around to these locations.
Disclaimer : I have taken few texts about the descriptions of the building or location, few historical data from the internet through official sites as well as from some individual’s travel blogs. I trust these are close to facts. All pictures are mine.