Easily missed at the end of Burgasse, this building was founded as an Augustine monastery in the 16th century, and later incorporated as a theological faculty of the university. Some famous names in the German intelligentsia studied here, including the great astronomer Johannes Kepler, and the philosopher Hegel.
This museum is vast beyond its initial looks. It starts off in a relatively modest way, with a collection of some of the earliest sculptures ever found, dating from around 40,000 years BC, to the scarily life like collection of Greek statues. My favourite parts were the coins, some with the most incredible detail and a small shelf of Mycenaean face masks. The Mycenaean works stood out as being so fantastically intricate and detailed they could have been made by modern man, rather than being from 3500 years ago; about the same time my own countrymen were doing their best to construct stone circles and dancing around with blue paint on their faces.
The museum is well worth a visit, and costs 3 euros to get in. It's open from 10am until 6pm, from Wednesday to Sunday. From the 1st October until the 30th of April it closes an hour earlier.
Continuing east from the Holzmarkt, you can move up to the Markt, which is dominated by the Rathaus, in the same way as the Stiftskirche St Georg dominates the Holzmarkt. To the north of the Markt is a road that leads directly to the old Kornhaus, and thus Kornhausstrasse. To the south you can walk up the hill slightly to Burgsteige, for the steep walk up to the schloss.
A steep walk up Burgsteig, a road that can be found to the south of the Markt, and you will find yourself at the entrance to the Schloss Hohentubingen. This building offers fine views over the town and surrounding countryside, even if it is nothing much to look at itself up close. Inside the central courtyard you will find the Universitatmuseum, with its impressive archaeological collection. It is definitely worth a walk to the top, although I felt the Schloss looked much better from the occasional glimpses I caught of it between the buildings of the town than it did when I got close up.
The new schloss is actually a Renaissance successor to the original 11th century fortress. It is now used as a research centre by the university, hence the vast archaeological collection in the museum. You immediately get a sense of the functionality of the modern palace, when you walk in through the outer gate. Built in 1606 this structure is covered in purely decorative carvings, not like a stalwart fortress would be.
Similar to a leisurely rides in another famous university towns, visitors to Tübingen can hire a boat to head down the Neckar on a leisurely tour. These special boats called Stocherkähne hold up to 20 people who sit with their backs against high boards jutting out of the boat.
On the day we were there, we saw a number of these boats going up and down the Neckar, guided by the boatsmen that are hired by the visitors. From our vantage point above, it looked like a fun and leisurely way to spend an afternoon.
In the center of the Old Town is Stiftskirch St. Georg. It used to be the parish church which dated back to the 1100s and later became the collegiate church. Over time the Romanesque building was renovated into its current late-Gothic style. The tower that stands high above is some of the newest parts of the building, dating only to the 1500s.
Inside the church choir loft are the tombs of the leaders of the house of Württemburg (€1,50 entry), with carved sarcophagi dating 150+ years of Gothic and Renaissance era sculptures. Within the rest of the church are some artistically pleasing elements, including Gothic rood screens, an altar created by a pupil of Albrecht Dürer, and very impressively carved choir stalls.
Visitors can climb the church tower (nearly 200 steps) for €1,50/person and gain a magnificent view of the city of Tübingen from all angles.
We passed through the Marketplace and admired the Renaissance town hall (Rathaus) that dates back to the 1400s. Because Tübingen was spared destruction during the wars, what you are seeing is authentic half-timbered buildings in the old part of the city. They are not reconstructions.
The Rathaus has some fine decorations carved into the sides and an astronomical clock from 1511. The clock still works and we had the opportunity to listen to it chime later in the day when we returned to the market area to have some drinks at the café across from the town hall while listening to a band concert (see my video).
In front of the Rathaus is the Neptunebrunnen (Neptune fountain), which dates back to the 1600s. It was built by Heinrich Schickhard.
At the top of the hill in Tübingen is the Schloss Hohentübingen, or the castle. Historically, the castle existed as early as the 11th century and is recorded in 1078 as the home of the Counts of Tübingen. Today, it has an updated look since those medieval days and is a university where many of the students who live in Tübingen come to study subjects such as archeology, ethnology, and other cultural sciences. There is also a museum at the castle with exhibits of these similar themes from the university collections.
Architecturally, visitors can walk up the cobbled stone hill and through the stone Renaissance gate into the castle courtyard. The portal has the coat of arms of the Duchy of Württemburg and statues of two men – one shooting a gun – something you don’t see every day on castle decorations.
Once in the castle courtyard, walk straight across to the other side where you can go through a tunnel or climb the staircase – both will give you beautiful views of the Neckar valley and town of Tübingen (the staircase being the better view). And there are free public toilets right there as well – so take advantage if you need them!
Alternative to July 4th celebration. You can still take in a July 4th celebration in Tübingen, where the German-American Institute Tübingen will host its summer party on Sunday, July 6 2008 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
This will be an American-style summer BBQ fest with live music performances by “Louisiana Funky Butts” with their New Orleans brass music and Country band “Devil & Soehne”. Other activities will include a mechanical bull, tour of the botanical gardens, many children’s programs and American-style BBQ food and drink selections.
For more information on the Tübingen celebration, visit: http://www.dai-tuebingen.de/en/index.php?sec=news
This church was first mentioned in the 12th century and has been enlarged ever since! A little about its history can be found in the link below. The church is huge and there are a couple of excellent pieces of artwork inside, like the pulpit, the choir stalls and the altar.
It is possible to climb up the tower (172 steps!!!) and that is something absolutely worthwhile, because from the top of the tower you have the most breathtaking views of Tübingen! Entrance fee to the tower is 1 € (2006).
With this ticket you are also entitled to visit the graves of various dukes of Baden dating back as far as to the 16th century. Very fascinating, indeed!
The square in front of the Collegiate Church is called the Lumber Market. It is surrounded by beautiful half timbered houses (some are houses, some are stores, some are cafés). In the middle there is a beautiful well and they do have market days there as well (but not when we visited!). It is a very vivid square, so in case you decide to sit in or outside one of the cafés you will sure enough have plenty to watch!
Hohentübingen Castle was first mentioned in the 11th century. What you can see and visit now dates back to Renaissance times (16th century).
We did not visit the castle, but from what I read it really seems to be worthwhile visiting, not only for the views, but also for the castle itself and the museum.
There are quite a few University institutes inside the castle - mostly cultural studies! Wow, it sure must be fantastic to have lectures inside these ancient premises!
When we looked around from the tower of the Collegiate Church, we instantly noticed a building with stunning outside decoration. It turned out to be the Townhall on Market Square.
The townhall was first built in 1435 and continuously expanded. Be sure to have a close look at the Astronomical Clock, the facade of the Town Hall, the Neptune fountain from the 18th century and the Market Square!
If you have time, sit in one of the cafés (or outside) and enjoy watching both the architecture and the people!
Next to the Collegiate Church there is a building called "Alte Aula". It used to be the old University assembly hall. At the moment (2006) the building is being renovated.
Tübingen university is one of the oldest universities in Germany. If you are interested, do read about its fascinating history and famous alumni here
On the banks of the Neckar river, and accessed through Burgasse, is the Holderlinturm, home of the insanely brilliant poet Friedrich Holderlin. His collection of writings, while mostly ignored when he was alive, are now considered some of the best ever produced in Germany. He lived in the tower for 36 years, growing steadily insane, from 1807 until his death.
The house itself was originally built some time in the 13th century, but while it retains a little of its medieval past, the current tower was built in 1778. You also get a good view over the Neckar river from the top of the tower. The house contains a museum, which costs 3 euros, and is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10 until midday and 3-5pm, but only 2-5pm on weekends and holidays. Like most museums in Germany it is closed on a Monday.