The Knight in the Tiefburg
This is the second story of the Tiefburg, continued from my introductory page.
The Tiefburg changed hands a few times and in 1770 it belonged to the Baron
of Helmstatt.He was showing a friend his castle and , while they were walking down a very narrow staircase, he accidentally bumped into the wall. The two men heard a dull noise and
immediately ordered some servants to break the wall open.They found a knight in armour.Not only the armour, but with the knight still in it. He had been put into the wall and then the wall was closed.
Of course, speculations started immediately as to why, when, who etc.There are still no definite answers. They found out the armour was from 15th century and showed cuts made by swords.
So it was a knight, coming home from a battle, dying and being buried in his armour?
Why not in the family churchyard?
And why was the knight bound? To prevent his limbs from falling down after his death? Or because he was a traitor?
60 years later, in 1830, workers were repairing a crumbled wall in Hirschhorn castle, when they found parts of shoes belonging to a woman. They thought this was an odd place for shoes, broke off more bricks and found a female skeleton. She also had been walled in. More speculations came up.
The most likely theory is that the knight and the lady had had an illicit relationship. One of them or maybe both probably had been married and adultery was not looked upon in a very friendly way. Being walled in might have been their punishment. But there are no certain facts at all. The armour was given to Prince-Elector Charles Theodor of Mannheim, who brought it to Munich when he moved there. Since World War II it has been lost.
The Tiefburg is not a tourists' castle like the Heidelberg Castle. A descendant of the Baron of Helmstatt had it repaired in 1912 and now a group of volunteers takes care of it.
They open it to the public every 1rst and 3rd Sunday a month, from 11 to 12:30.Related to:
- Historical Travel
A Mysterious Footprint
On the terrace behind the castle there is footprint in the stone. It's a softer kind of stone, sandstone, but still, stone is stone and it's not very easy to leave a footprint in stone. The story most often heard is:
The prince had been away and came home earlier than his wife had thought. He found the bedroom door locked, heard some suspicious noise and banged at the door. He then heard the window being opened and when his wife opened the door, she was alone. But on the terrace there was this footprint. It is said that the prince had all men in the castle come to the footprint and put their foot in it, to see whose foot fitted.
It is still said today that if your foot fits in it you have cheated once in your life.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
Hexenring - Witch's Ring
Most tourists walk through the gate of the castle in Heidelberg without looking at the iron ring knocker. It's at one of the heavy oak doors and itself is really heavy. Just lift it and you'll see. There is a crack in the ring and the story is:
Once there was a prince, arrogant, completely convinced that nobody could conquer his castle. When challenged he promised to give his castle to anybody who'd be able to bite through this iron ring. Of course nobody was able to do this, but one day a witch came and tried her best. She managed to bite a piece out of the ring, causing it to crack. The prince is said to have become very pale! But he needn't have worried, the witch had tried too hard and lost her last tooth. So the castle stayed in the prince's family, the Wittelsbachs.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
Many of the buildings in the Aldstadt (old town) are University buildings and classrooms. The University of Heidelberg is the oldest continuously operating University in Germany. On the Feb. 2005 trip, Lorna and I prowled around the area with an eye to where her classes and apartment might be located, when she transfers there in late March.
The small barrels of the Tiefburg
Walking around the Tiefburg I noticed two barrels standing behind the walls. They are of regular size and no comparison to the huge one in Heidelberg Castle. But it shows that the family living here had at something in common with their more famous neigbours, both families made sure they wouldn't run out of wine!Related to:
- Historical Travel
The Writing on the Wall
Among all the stone statues, this inscription is easily overlooked. In Hebrew and Latin it says
"This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous will enter."
The princes had a very high opinion of themselves and their ancestors, considering that many of them were not quite so righteous.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
The S-Printing Horse
Aside from being the largest horse sculpture in the world, the S-Printing Horse has also left two footprints or rather hoofprints in the pavement in front of the Print Media Academy, so when you come out of the train station be sure to cross the street and have a look.
According to its website, the S-Printing Horse is made of stainless steel and aluminum. It is 13 meters high, 15 meters long and weighs 90 tons. It was created by Juergen Goertz from 1998 to 2000, and was assembled here over a period of several weeks starting in February 2000.
How did it get its name? Well, it was supposed to be a printing horse and a sprinting horse, so they made it "S-Printing" to include both.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
The coolest way to see Heidelberg from the river must be by the solar powered sightseeing boat "Neckarsonne"! Owners claim it is the biggest solar powered boat in the world and who am I to argue. It departs regularly from near the Old Bridge during March to October and you can buy refreshments on board as well as get a bit of guidance to your surroundings. It never sailed during our visit in November but I would have loved to experience just how silent it is.
For further sailings onto Neckargemünd or out to the Rhine, RNF is the big company with sailings to Mannheim, Worms and other towns regularly. The company also offers special sailings during the Heidelberg Firework displays in summer and do longer tours all the way to St Goar/Loreley in the Rhine Gorge as well as to Bad Wimpfen with its palace. See the second website below for schedules.Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
- Family Travel
City Theater, Heidelberg
The theater was built in 1853 and has basically retained its original form to this day, although considerable modernization and renovation work was done on it in 1924/25, in 1978 and in 1990.
It is one of the smaller city theaters in Germany, with only 619 seats. Nonetheless, it has a full program of opera, spoken drama, dance and children's theater, and even has a full-time ensemble in all of these areas, and an orchestra and chorus.
In 2005 Heidelberg hired the youngest General Music Director of any German city. Cornelius Meister, who at the time was a 24-year-old staff conductor at the State Opera in Hannover, was chosen unanimously for this position by the Heidelberg City Council on July 28, 2004.
As of 2010 he is still the General Music Director in Heidelberg but also gets frequent offers to do guest conducting elsewhere. The singers speak very highly of him.Related to:
- Theater Travel
The Print Media Academy
The Print Media Academy describes itself as "A Forum for the Graphic Arts Industry."
It was opened in the year 2000 to celebrate the 150th birthday of its owner, the Heidelberg Printing Machine Company (Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG) and is in a modern all-glass building directly across from the central train station.
There is an auditorium on the ground floor and there are several seminar rooms on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors. Also inside the building there are two gleaming silver "printing cylinder towers" which contain round seminar rooms with all the latest media.
Seminars in English and German are held here regularly for people in the printing industry.Related to:
The Horse's Hoof
Here is the underside of one of the hoofs of the S-Printing Horse.
This is the hoof that seems to be printing things every time the horse takes a step.
If you enlarge the photo you can read:
HDM stands for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, the Heidelberg Printing Machine Company.
This company employs 2480 people in Heidelberg alone. Its headquarters is right here on the Kurfuersten-Anlage in Heidelberg, but it also has factories at eight other locations in Germany, and also in France, the Netherlands and the USA. The American factories are in Dover and Durham, New Hampshire, in Fort Worth/Kennedale, Texas, and in Sidney, Ohio.
City Theater Heidelberg, Annex 1990
Because the City Theater is in the middle of the Old City (Altstadt) of Heidelberg, which is where it was built in 1853, there is very little space available for any sort of expansion. Evidently it used to be very cramped for the audience, particularly in the intermissions, and for the orchestra and chorus, which had no rehearsal space.
These problems were temporarily solved in 1990, when a glass entrance hall and annex were built, using every square centimeter of available space at the side and back of the theater building. So now there is a pleasant place to have a drink during intermission, sort of like being in a greenhouse, but very nice. At the same time, modern new rehearsal stages were built for the orchestra and chorus.
I took this photo from the Friedrichstraße at the rear of the theater, showing the new glass ceiling of the intermission area.
Update 2010: Currently the Heidelberg City Theater is being expanded and thoroughly rebuilt. Construction work began in June 2010 and is scheduled to be completed by the autumn of 2012. In the meantime, performances will be held in an opera tent -- the same tent that was previously used in Freiburg, Erfurt and Kassel for the same purpose.Related to:
- Theater Travel
Passion for Print
In 2004 the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg Printing Machine Company) was running a series of poster-advertisements under the title “Passion for Print”. This particular one was stretched across one entire wall of the Heidelberg central station foyer when I arrived there.
If you enlarge the photo you can see that the pixels are in the shape of hearts.
Other posters in this series were Car, Coffee cup, Surfer and Sunrise. Most of these used to be available as wallpaper for your computer screen just by clicking on their website, but not any longer.
To avoid confusion with the websites, note that .com is the company and .de is the city.
Print Media Academy
I just love Jürgen Goertz' creation the "S-Printing Horse" outside the building! The 13 metre tall stainless steel horse with its aluminium neck is built to remind you of different parts of the printing process and its book tail is illuminated in cyan, yellow and magenta at night :))) That it became a horse is simply to show the link between printing and thinking; according to legend, the poets rode Pegasus. Study it to see all its details.
At the academy itself, you can study the art of printing in an exibition taking you through both machines and the actual perception of printed material. See the website below for opening hours.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Arts and Culture
The Neckar Meadows are the best area to relax and meet other people. In summertime, you'll see hundreds of people hanging out here, enjoying the sun or a game of volleyball, having a barbecue or a glass of wine. There's also a large playground for children.
The meadows are surprisingly clean and well-kept - please act so as not to change this situation!
You can find the Neckar Meadows on the opposite side of the river if you cross the new Neckar Bridge.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
Good location, clean and well appointed. We stayed there in March of 2011 and would do so again. We...more
The hotel is located right across the street from the train station, and is only about 5 minutes...more
(Review by my mother who stayed here in July 2011) The Hollaender Hof ("the Dutchman's Courtyard")...more
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