Heidelberg has a famous old university library, which is located in a wonderful terracotta-coloured art-noveau building, close to the Jesuit Church. Though it is a "working library", it also houses a (free) exhibition of historic books, the highlights of the library collection. (located on the second level of the library building).
Let's face it, a lot of visitors come to study here at the "Ruperto Carola" or Ruprecht-Karl University for shorter or longer periods (25% of students are foreigners) and the university is one of the oldest in Germany, with Hegel and Bunsen being just two of its famous alumni. You can visit the famous main building including the "Altes Aula", or Old Assembly Hall. Apart from that, there is a museum these days, which show you the history of the university. At the back of the building are the old detention rooms where students which committed offenses had to sit for up to four weeks. Offenses could include drunk and disorderly behaviour or even duelling which was very much in fashion here. Incredibly enough, the university itself had the right to imprison students in this way between 1778 and 1914! Today, the university is mostly known for its science subjects like medicine and mathematics, and has around 30000 students.
The Students' Prison is located at the back of the Old University in the "Augustinergasse". From 1778 until 1914, students were imprisoned here for so called "Kavaliersdelikte" (meaning minor transgressions which were kind of fashionable among otherwise honorable gentlemen inscribed at the Heidelberg University, most of them being members of student fraternities).
Common offenses were disturbance of peace, especially after excessive drinking at night, insulting official authorities or playing jokes at them as well as participating in duelling. During these years, the University administration was embodied with an autonomous jurisdiction and had the legal right to detain students. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, imprisonment would last from three days to four weeks. One was allowed, however, to attend lectures. After classes, the juvenile delinquents had to return to jail. Biding their time, many of the young prisoners "decorated" the walls with graffitis and paintings. Their "artwork" is still preserved and to be seen at the Students' Prison.
The Academy of Science is part of the university of Heidelberg, the oldest in Germany and even one of the oldest in Europe. The university was founded in 1385 and has over 27,000 students today. That means one in five residents of Heidelberg is a student. The university makes Heidelberg one of the youngest cities in Germany. That's why Heidelberg differs a lot from other city in Germany.
Just round the corner, you'll see the new university. I forgot when it was built, because it is not new any more. I was told, that the new university is a gift from an american to Heidelberg.
But most of the real new university buildings are not in the old part of the town, but in the "Neuenheimer Feld"
The Old University, designed by a well-known Mainz architect called Johann Adam Breuning, it was built in 1712 – 1735 on the site of the previous, 16th century structure. Though it must be said that the University is more famous for its academic record than for the building… However, I digress here. On the northern wall and ceilings there are paintings by F. Keller. Right in front of the University building’s entrance there’s quite a remarkable fountain, featuring the sculpture (unfortunately, I do not remember the author) that represents the heraldic Palatinate lion.
Heidelberg University is Germany´s oldest and most traditional university (immortalised in Sigmund Romberg's operetta 'The Student Prince'). It was founded in 1386 and one in five residents is a student. This makes Heidelberg one of Germany‘s youngest cities. Many graduates stay on to work at the many prominent international research centres in the area. You can visit the student´s gaol (Studentenkarzer) daily except Sundays and holidays, which was in use form 1712 to 1914 for unruly students, whose graffiti are still in evidence.
In the library (open daily except Sunday) the Codex Manesse from the 14th century, a collection of Middle High German poetry, illuminated with 137 exquisite miniatures, can be seen.
Back in 1991, as a college student, I thought the university student jail was quite interesting. While in jail, the students whiled away the hours sketching on the jail's walls.
There are no students any more studying in the old university. There is an university museum inside. I must admit, that I haven't been inside.
You must check out the Old University which Heidelberg is famous for....