At the top of the Heiligenberg you will find the ruins of Michaelskloster. According to tourist literature it was built in 870. Around this ruin you may see parts of the hill forts (big mounds) built by the Celts hundreds of years BC.
The Michaelskloster ruin is in good shape and parts of the large tower have been renovated to allow tourists to walk up to enjoy the excellent views.
The rest of the ruin is open to walk through, a well. Some people were enjoying picnics in the old rooms.
Between Stephanskloster and Michaelskloster lies the Thingstaette. I did not know what I would think going into this area knowing it was built by the Nazis. It was creepy, but I think it is a good idea to keep it here as a reminder of a part of history that we need to be sure not to repeat.
Curiously, it seems the amphitheater was never used for its intended purpose of Nazi rallies. Nicole commented that perhaps it should be used for a peace rally or a multicultural rally in order to counteract the original intent.
Follow the trail from the upper Philosophonweg up the Heiligenberg and you will eventually get to a few historical sites. The first will be the ruins of Stephanskloster. The Abbey was originally built in the 11th century by the monks of St. Micheal's Abbey, or Michaelskloster (according to tourist literature).
Here you will find an observation tower built in the late 1800s from the stones of the ruin. The view here is magnificent! The trees have been trimmed back to allow a great view of Old Town and the Castle across the river.
Also nearby is the so-called "Pagan's hole", a well from Roman times.
You can drive to this area by car, also. If you choose to walk like we did, I suggest to bring along some water.
After you make the trek up the Philosophonweg, you may continue up the trail and hike the Heiligenberg. You could drive to the top, but you would miss the great nature views of the forest and certain unique views of Heidelberg acorss the river.
Near the top you will find the Stephanskloster ruins, the Thingstaette, and the Michaelskloster ruins. (see other tips).
This is a long hike, though, so it is not for everyone.
I thought this was a cat at first
But it's a monkey (honest), holding a mirror. This sculpture dates from 1979, but apparently the first bridge monkey was in place during the fifteenth-century. That one disappeared in the late 1600s though, and is probably long since melted down for scrap.
But I wonder why there's a monkey there at all?
Das nack Stammwürze (33%) starkest Bier der welt!
This was something for the boys VTér JessH was sure to have our attention, when she told us that the strongest beer in the world was made right here in Heidelberg. Fine with me tasting something new and special. The taste was intense sweet notes of toffee, chocolate and marzipan the sweetest beer I ever had for sure but. Yes there is a little but.
The strongest beer in the world? Not anymore but in the 1994 edition of Guinness Book of World Records it was the strongest beer of the time. The 33% point the Plato scale (not after the philosopher but German scientist Fritz Plato) that expresses the density as the percentage of sucrose by weight and not alcohol by volume (abv). In abv. It is still a strong beer but at 10,5% it is far from the strongest today.
Cheers to you all ;-)
In the photo I am with Ed (Kaspian) Brew (Brewjohnson) and Jess (JessH) in the back.
As a little side note you will be looking after the what is considered to be the strongest beer yet made is it is the "Hair of the Dog's Dave"—at 29% abv
This is not a place to visit, but probably the best deal to visit the most places.
When you come to Heidelberg, stop at the Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) and go to the Information building (outside, in front near the sea of bicycles). They speak many different languages and offer great help. You can purchase what is called the"Heidelberg Card".
This card can be purchased for the single person or for a family (I believe this consists of 2 children and 2 adults). It is for 2 days or 4 days (whichever best fits you time of visiting).
The card includes many of the popular tourist spots for one low price. It also includes bus/tram transporation in Heidelberg (5 euros for one and 8,50 euros for a group up to 5)as well as discounts at many places not included in the card fee. It is a considerable savings if you plan to visit the castle with tour (7 euro), the Bergbahn/Konigstuhl(all trips up and down around 14euros), Student Prison (3 euros), and many of the museums (gernerally around 3-5 euros each). All of these for one person totals easily around 30-40 euros)
The card dates of use are consecutive days. The card can be purchased prior to the days you want to use it.
This house is one of the few remaining old town houses in Heidelberg. It was built in 1592 by a Hugenot cloth merchant and has survived several fires and destructions almost unharmed. For a short period of time it served as the Heidelberg Townhall, but most of the time (and that means several centuries) it was a hotel and inn!
I must confess that I have never walked the Philosophers' Path, but I sure have heard many people talk about it! This path has inspired scholars and poets by the peace and quiet and the spectacular views, so a nice walk there would surely be something very enjoyable!
The Jesuit Church was erected in the 18th century, but the tower was not added until 1868-72.
It is a Baroque church with a stunning interior: it looks so big, which I really did not expect from seeing the church from the outside!
When I first visited in January 2006, there was this unusual Nativity Scene set up in the side aisle. It is called "Nativity under the Bridge" and has various - partly very unusual - puppets to it, like punks, hookers, grandmothers, priests etc. These puppets have been donated by various people and more will be added from year to year. I don't know if this nativity scene is shown only during the time of Christmas or the whole year through, but it would definitely be worth checking!
The Heiliggeistkirche is right on the marketsquare. It is possible to climb the tower, which I absolutely recommend: you have a spectacular view to the castle and over the roofs of old Heidelberg.
A little information about the church:
A late Roman basilica was first mentioned in 1239. In 1398, it was replaced by a large church building which nave was constructed in the typical style of the late Gothic period. The construction of the nave was completed in 1441, the church tower was not finished until the beginning of the 16th century!!
During the centuries, the church frequently changed its religious denomination and was used at different times by Catholics as well as Protestants. Even a partition barrier was erected in 1706 because both denominations wanted to hold service here. For 230 years, the barrier stayed in its place until it was removed in 1936.
Today, the Church of the Holy Spirit is a Protestant Church.
At the very end of the Main Street you will find the Heidelberg Townhall.
The very first townhall was destroyed by French troups in 1689. 12 years later, the foundation-stone for the new townhall was laid. Due to a fire in 1908, the townhall had to be reconstructed. Several houses located south of the building along the "Hauptstrasse" were pulled down and replaced by the new building which was to become part of the town hall.
Another building including a small bell tower was added here in 1961. It replaced the "Gasthaus zum Großen Faß" which had been located here from 1720 to 1956, a historic restaurant with the shape of the Castle's "Big Barrel".
Right off the Main Street there is the old universtiy - another one of these nice squares and lovely buildings! The university is more than 600 years old, although this building was not built until the beginning of the 18th century!
Please do have a look at the "Lion's Well" at the University Square in front of the building: the "Löwenbrunnen", as this fountain is called, is crowned by a lion symbolizing the power of the Palatinate (which back then was in power - now Heidelberg is part of Baden-Württemberg!).
The castle is THE attraction of Heidelberg - it is a wonderful place for walks, to spend free time there, it has a pharmaceutical museum inside and a restaurant.
Inspite of its Gothic interior, it was not before 1934, that the King's Hall was added. Today, the hall is used for festivities, e.g. dinner banquets, balls and theater performances. I once had the chance to peek through a window and see the wonderfully set tables in this really overwhelming atmosphere!!!
During the Heidelberg Castle Festival in the summer, the courtyard is the site of open air musicals, operas and theater performances and classical concerts.
On the way to the castle, only a few steps away from the Marktplatz you find the Kornmarkt (grain market) and the statue of the Madonna. In 1685, the Palatinate, to this date a protestant region, was taken over by a Catholic sovereign. He did everything to "convince" his subjects to return to Catholic beliefs started a religious propaganda campaign. Jesuits supported this campaign erecet Madonna statues wherever they could - one of which is the "Madonna of the Kornmarkt".
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