The "Kurpfalz" area around Heidelberg became a separate entity in the Middle Ages with a significance disproportional to its size, military power or economic strength as the local ruler became duke elector (one of the few nobles in charge with electing the Emperor of the Holy Roman German Empire).
The decline of the "Kurpfalz" began with the involvement of the local ruler in the devastating 30 Years War 1618 - 1648 and took another blow shortly afterwards when the French sacked the city of Heidelberg in the late 17th century and destroyed the castle.
If you are interested in the volatile history of the area, this interesting museum offers comprehensive information.
Well, as a chemist, and fascinated with pharmaceutical and chemical history, I always end up in the German Pharmacy Museum. But – with it’s huge selection of very fine historical collection of all kinds of pharmacies, equipment and explanatory showcases, I would consider it a must for every visitor of Heidelberg's castle. Plus – the entrance is included, once you have your ticket to the castle courtyard.
The excellent collection and historical walkway through the days of pharmacy is housed in Heidelberg Castle since 1958 (before, it was in Munich). In several rooms, it displays 4 old pharmacies (called “Offizin”) of 18th and 19th century, a huge collection of several working material (vessels, mortars, instruments, lab equipment), nicely arranged in an old vault, rooms where herbs have been processed, emblems of old pharmacies and finally - it’s core – the ”materia medica”, a room with showcases of every substance, gained from animals, plants and “rocks”, which was of medical value (materia medica = pharmacology nowadays).
Pic 1: part of the showcases, which plants have been used as medical treatment,
Pic 2: an old Offizin of early 18th century,
Pic 3: an old travel pharmacy of 17th century,
Pic 4: the vault with old equipment,
Pic 5: herbal plant processing (sorry, a bit non-sharp).
If you are interested to learn and see more of the museum, I will write more about the collections in the off-the-beaten-path tips.
April-Oct: 10:15-18:00, Nov-March: 10:00-17:30
No extra admission, it is included in the admission for Castle courtyard.
The website, given below, contains a lot of additional info, and also gives you a virtual tour.
Update, December 2008:
the museum has now an interesting alternative for kids - please read
Christine.j's HD page and tip
On the lower floor of the Otto Heinrich Building , is the Apothecary Museum.
This unique museum shows visitors about the history of the pharmacy and of dispensaries. The collection includes a complete pharmacist’s office, a laboratory, manuscripts, a wide variety of vessels, mortars, and technical flasks, and lots of raw drugs representing medicine from the 17th to 19th centuries.
It is indeed a worthwhile visit. Located in the castle grounds the entrance fee to the castle allows entry to this museum.
The German Pharmacy Museum is housed in the "Ottheinrichsbau" of the Heidelberg castle.
There are several complete old pharmacy shops on display, together with many ancient tools and more. Also an old medicin lab is on full display. Futhermore there's a shop with many items for sale.
Located within Heidelberg Castle, is the GERMAN PHARMACY MUSEUM or Deutches Apotheken Museum. As the entrance fee is included with your ticket for the Schloss, Jessica took us all inside this wonderful museum. There was a display of a Pharmacist's Shop of the early 19th century, along with an exceptional collection of drugs used during the 17th to the 19th century. More than 1000 exhibits of materials, including long forgotten "miracle cures" and showcases of materials of medical value "materia Medica".
There was also a "Lab" on display.
Overall it was very interesting and worth the visit.
(The Kurpfalz today describes the original "Pfalz" region of the roman empire, with Heidelberg as its capital)
This museum covers an impressive array of exhibits, including Archaeology (7 rooms covering over 1,500 square metres), Heidelberg's own history as a roman settlement & modern city, artistic sculptures & paintings from the 16th - 17th century, as well as an educational corner for children (I remember this from my school years...)
Another interesting fact about the museum's building is that it was built in 1712, and Maximilian Joseph von Chelius lived here from 1830-1876: He was a German eye surgeon that founded the first surgical clinic that immensely boosted the future of the medical faculty in Heidelberg University.
My mother and I weren't really in the mood for the museum on our last visit to the city, but we visited to relax with some lunch & coffee in the gorgeous courtyard garden, where you can escape the crowds (and in summer, escape the heat of the main street... see my "off the beaten path" tip)
The current exhibit was titled "Die Kurpfaelzer", depicting the lives & culture of my ancestors in the Heidelberg region (see photo... they weren't exactly attractive... haha!) and for many people in my area, our pride & joy is the copy of the lower jaw of the Homo erectus Heidelbergensis = The Heidelberg Man: this "newly discovered human ancestor" was discovered in 1907 in Mauer (near Heidelberg) and is said to have lived between 250,000 and 600,000 years ago all over Europe.
Opening Hours 2007: daily 10:00am - 06:00pm (Mondays closed)
Admission: Adults 3 EURO (students / senior citizens: 1,80 EURO)
Sundays: Adults 1,80 EURO (students / senior citizens: 1,20 EURO)
is worth visiting in Heidelberg. If you are interested in some background information, some archaeology and history of the city and the castle, go to the Kurpfälzische Museum.
Many people pass it, as the entrance is through a gate on main street.The gate opens into a small yard, with a reconstruction of the Four-Gods-Stone of Ladenburg in the centre. Tickets are bought in the building on the left, but the main entrance is straight ahead.
Something to look out for are the special exhibitions. Some time ago there was an excellent one about the Winterking, unlucky Frederic V of Heidelberg, whose love for his wife was greater than his prudence and eventually lost him the crown.
In December 2007 there was an exhibition about Christmas 100 years ago. Lovely toys,old advent calendars, letters to Santa Claus, old Christmas ornaments - it was a beautiful exhibition. It also showed me that Christmas must have been a wonderful time back then, provided you were born into the right family among the top 5 % of the people.
Apart from history the museum also shows paintings and silverware, fine china and some furniture from the princes' daily life.
Built in 1712, same year as the Jesuit Church, is this Palais Morass (note how palace is spelt the French way in this region rather than in German) which was built for the University chancellor (imagine the importance of this post in the city!). Pride of place takes a copy of the lower jaw of a 600 000 year old "Homo erectus Heidelbergensis" which was found outside Heidelberg in 1907, but there are also great 16th century art as well as a lot of art from the Romantic period which of course was big in Heidelberg. Costumes and porcelain are als on display and there is a separate section on Heidelberg history from Roman days and onwards. Even if you won't visit the museum, I recommend that you visit the little garden as it is a really tranquil place.
In the green Weimar Palace building, the Portheim Foundation of Science and the Fine Arts has its collection open to the public as an Ethnographical Museum. Originally, the collections included a lot more than ethnography but the palace was plundered during WWII and collections of minerals and religious icons amongst other things disappeared and were sold. The museum is closed Mondays.
We never had time for this docu-centre ourselves but I really want to mention it as it deals with the way that Roma and Sinti people (often bunched together under the name of "gypsies") have been treated in Germany, and especially during the nazi period when they were sent to camps. It also tells of the differences between the two and deals with prejudices around them. If you are into the social- and cultural history of Europe, this would probably be very interesting, although their homepage is in German only and I don't know what languages are represented in the exhibitions. If you DO understand German, there are also lectures now and again on various themes.
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