A Visit to Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Overlook
Overlooking Heidelberg Castle and the Neckar River

Located in the German State of Baden-Württemberg, in western Germany, Heidelberg is a popular place to visit as you make your way through Germany. It is located on the Neckar River, about 13 miles southeast of Mannheim, about 70 miles directly south of Frankfurt, and 80 miles northwest of Stuttgart. It is best known for having the oldest University in Germany, for the red sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle, and for the “Disputation of Martin Luther”, developed from his 95 theses which formed the foundation for Protestantism.

Heidelberg University

The original Heidelberg University was founded in the 14th Century. It is also known as “Ruperto Carola” after Rupert I, who founded the university under the Holy Roman Empire. It is a world-renowned research university offering undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral degrees in a wide range of subjects including archaeology, sciences, technology, law, and medicine.  The University has produced over 33 Nobel Prize winners. 

As it is a public university, tuition is free, but international students may have to pay a fee of 1,500 Euros per year.

Although the university was originally founded in 1386, the current building was build in the 1700’s, after the original buildings fell into ruin during the Thirty Years War.

Heidelberg Castle

With its striking red sandstone facade, the castle ruins make an imposing presence over the city. The castle was built in the early 13th century, and remained in operation for 400 hears until it ws destroyed by the French in the War of the Grand Alliance. There were attempts to rebuild it in the mid-1700’s, but damage by two lightening strikes and a fire left the castle in ruins. 

The castle is open to visitors, but you can only go through the castle on a guided tour.

Kurpfälzisches Museum

The Kurpfälzisches Museum was opened after the city of Heidelberg bought the private collection of art and artifacts from Charles de Graimberg in the late 1800’s. The collection has been in its current location since 1908. It has an extensive archaeological collection and the museum is conducting archaeological research throughout the city. 

Getting There

Getting to Heidelberg is fairly easy. Several escorted tours and river cruises include Heidelberg as stop in their itineraries. Getting there by car from Frankfurt, Mannheim and Stuttgart is also convenient, as the A5 Autobahn runs north and south and is just west of the city. The train station is also located in the center of the city. From there, you can reach the University and the castle either by walking or by public transportation.

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