>>>Heidelberg: for lovers

Heidelberg: for lovers

Take along a drama and come back with a romantic comedy. After centuries of being fascinating, Heidelberg is still creating a strange chemistry between the ancient grandeur of its architecture and the sassy youth of its university students.
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hildlike in Heidelberg. If you catch yourself in this frame of mind, don’t worry, the same thing happened to Goethe, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain, Brahms and Joseph Turner to the extent that the city earned itself the title of ‘cradle of German Romanticism’.
If you suddenly find yourself more intelligent, it’s because neuronal effervescence is another of its side effects. Not in vain the university, which today is the seat of learning for some 30,000 students, formed the minds of twelve Nobel prizewinners, with distinguished academics and students like Robert Schumann, Gadamer, Brentano, Mandelstam, Hegel, Arendt, Heidegger, Max Weber, Karl Jaspers and Habermas.
But don’t be put off by lists; Heidelberg is a striking city for individuals and couples alike. Here, three million tourists a year find themselves shedding their jaded urbanite energy and miraculously reviving their ability to be amazed. The city’s genuine landscapes are mostly to blame. The legendary postcard shot of the castle, symbolically dominating Königstuhl hill for more than 700 years, has become a cliché of grandeur. There’s also Karl-Theodor-Brücke, the Old Bridge, the perfect viewpoint over the river Neckar, and the squares of Marktplatz and Kornmarkt, which compete to be the city’s favourite sights and in which farmers still sell their produce, just like they did back in the Middle Ages. And all surrounded by the natural wealth of the Odenwald forest mountain range.
Knight's House got its name from the image of St. George on the front of the building.
Photo: Steve Heap / Shutterstock.com

If walls could speak

Heidelberg Castle is really a complex of twenty buildings. Made into a monastery in 1100, it was devastated by the French in the 17th century. Today it's still possible to be amazed at the palaces of Ottheinrichsbau (1556) and Friedrichsbau (1592), both of which are German Renaissance architectural treasures.

As well as these iconic attractions, don’t miss having your photo taken with the ‘monkey and the mirror’ statue by artist Gernot Rumpf (1979). And don’t forget to pop into the Church of the Holy Spirit, built between 1398 and 1515 and where for over two centuries there was an inside wall to keep Catholics and Protestants apart.
If you decide that its lively narrow streets and the atmosphere in the old bars isn’t enough for you, the Baroque palace of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities will change your mood with its sumptuous interiors decorated with priceless original furnishings. The front of Knight’s House is equally remarkable. An example of late Renaissance vitality, it dates back to 1592, when it was built as a private residence before being turned into an inn in 1681 and later the Hotel Zum Ritter St. Georg. The walls in the rooms of the 18th-century Town Hall will also absorb your attention for a while before you set out for Hauptstrasse, the main street in the Old Town. Over two kilometres, the street passes a range of wonders including the Jesuit Church, now a museum of religious art, the Student Prison, the historic University, the Museum of the Palatinate and the 17th-century Providence Church.
The Castle Festival is held every summer and features open-air theatre performances.
But all these are mere meta-experiences. People tend to say you shouldn’t rely on texts and images to calculate the impact Heidelberg will have on you. You can’t feel the romance from information, only from being there yourself.
Middle-class houses, cafés, terrace bars and shops cluster round Market Square in the city centre.
Photo: R.Babakin / Shutterstock.com

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