The Karl’s Square
This attractive square in the old city is named in memory of Karl Theodor, the last Prince Elector of the Palatinate. From here you have an unique view of the imposing world famous ruin of the Heidelberg Castle. In former times there was a monastery of the Franciscan Monks at this place.
In the center of the square you will find nowadays the Sebastian-Muenster Fountain. A remarkable and worth-seeing installation in favor to the Cosmographer of the 15th century. He was only 14 years of age, when he came to Heidelberg, to begin his studies. He became a monk, stayed in the monastery and taught the Hebraic language. Soon he converted to Protestant and became professor of the Swiss University of Basel in 1526. His work “Cosmographia” was already famous at that time. He as well gave us the oldest pictures of Heidelberg and the Castle: A wood carved medallion in the year 1526 and a total view of the city from the north.
The Grand Ducal Palace
Not far away you will find the Grand Ducal Palace. During the year 1814 and 1815 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was often invited to stay here as guest. In June 1815 Emperor Franz I. of Austria, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia, the Russian Czar Alexander and Crown Prince Ludwig from Bavaria saluted the Heidelberg citizens from its balcony. The monarchs founded in Heidelberg a military alliance against Napoleon, the so-called “Holy Alliance” and choose Heidelberg as their headquarters.
Since 1920 this palace is seat of the Heidelberg Academy of Science.
The Palace Boisseree
Between 1810 and 1819 the brothers Sulpiz and Melchior Boisseree and their friend Baptist Bertram, collectors of art from Cologne, exposed their important collection of old Cologne and early-Netherlands paintings. The collection comprised 200 pieces of art. When during the secularization beginning 1803 the art values of churches and monasteries were wasted, the brothers gathered the late gothic paintings so to say from the streets of their native town Cologne. With their entrance to the Palace Boisseree they really opened the second phase of the Heidelberg Romantic.
As their patron-saint they chose Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who became propagandist of the collection. Czar Alexander I. from Russia, Emperor Franz I. of Austria, the King of Prussia, the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Count Metternich as well as important artists and scientists visited this collection.
In 1827 King Ludwig I from Bavaria bought the collection for 240 000 Guilders. The collection founded the base of the Munich Pinakothek. Since 1974 the Germanics are studying in this historic palace.
Marstall and Zeughaus
The still remaining northern wing, the “Zeughaus”, was built in 1510 as storage building for war material. The southern wing, constructed in 1590 was used as Marstall/horse stables. It was destroyed in 1693. Three of the original four round towers at the corners of either building are still to be seen. Architect Friedrich Weinbrenner constructed on the grounds of the southern wing a barracks. Nowadays you will find here the Mensa and different university institutes.
The Bridge Tower
It belonged with the adjacent round towers to the city fortifications of the 15th century. This southern entry portal to the historical “Old Bridge” or Karl-Theodor-Bridge, constructed during the years 1786-88 as substitute of the destroyed wooden bridge, was a very important traffic point of the town up to the 19th century, when the borders were widened. The figures on the columns of the Karl-Theodor-Bridge show the Prince Elector as constructor and goddess Pallas Athena, Patron-Saint of the Heidelberg University. Nearby you will find the house were the first German President Friedrich Ebert was born.
Is a building of classicism, marking the eastern border of the town right from the foundation till the 19th century. It was constructed by the French architect Nicolas de Pigage during the years 1775 and 1781. The portal was named in honor of Prince Elector Karl-Theodor.
The Weimar Palace
Erected in 1714 by the Heidelberg architect Johann Adam Breunig at the eastern part of the Main Street, is place of the Ethnographical Museum of the Portheim Foundation, which is dedicated to the culture and art of non European peoples.
Just opposite the Heidelberg Town Hall, the seat of the Lord Mayor, hosts a copy of the marvelous Barock Marien Column, which was created in 1718 by Peter van den Branden. The original column is saved in the Kurpfaelzische Museum. With the famous ruin of the Heidelberg Castle as background this square is one of the most photographed sightseeing objects of Heidelberg.
The Town Hall
The oldest part – erected between1701 and 1705 on the market square – faces the Heiliggeistkirche, the Church of the Holy Ghost. The masks and the emblem of the Prince Elector at the façade are works of the Hungarian sculptor Heinrich Charrasky. He as well sculptured the statue of Hercules in the Hercules fountain.
Die Heiliggeistkirche/Church of the Holy Ghost
This church in late Gothic style opposite the town hall was erected on the spot where in the 12th century already stood a church. She was consecrated in the year 1400. The little sales stores built right from the beginning between the columns spend the church a special flair and match wonderfully the sales stalls on the market square.
Inside the church the gallery was used as bibliotheca. This was the place of the famous Bibliotheca Palatina, which - with the books of the deceased’s estate of Ulrich Fugger - became the most important European bibliotheca.
When General Tilly defeated Heidelberg in 1622, he plundered this valuable and donated it to Pope Gregor VII. Since then it is part of the Popes Bibliotheca Apostolina Vaticana in Rome. In 1816 Pope Pius VII. returned to Heidelberg around 800 German manuscripts.
The Heiliggeistkirche for was for centuries the last place of rest for the Prince Electors of the Palatinate until in 1693 the French destroyed those graves. From the 14. grave stones in Renaissance style only one was saved. It belongs to King Ruprecht I. and his wife.
Prince Elector Johann Wilhelm of Palatinate allowed the return of the Jesuits who were banished from Heidelberg in 1698. He even gave them ground on the university campus where in 1712 they started to erect the church. But to complete the church it took till 1759 and later between 1868 and 1870 three more stories were built into the towers. The Jesuitenkirche is looked upon as the most important building of the Barock in Heidelberg
Is mentioned for the first time in 1357. The today’s late gothic church was erected at the end of the 15th century. She is in close connection with the neighbored University. The University Chapel, completed in 1489, is part of this church. More than 100 grave monuments from 16 to 19th century are to be seen inside and around the church.
Das Kurpfälzische Museum/Museum of the Palatinate
Worth to be seen is the collection of prehistoric and Roman pieces of art found in and around Heidelberg, as well as paintings of Heidelberg Romantics and art of the medieval times. The most important exposition piece is the altar-piece of Tilman Riemenschneider, the Windsheim Altar .