Robin's Website


Heidelberg is a city in southern Germany, 56 miles south of Frankfurt, in the state of Baden-Württemberg along the banks of the Neckar River. The city is noted for many things, including it's stunning setting overlooked by an imposing ruined castle and as home to Germany's oldest university.

Above: View of the Old Town of Heidelberg as seen from Heidelberg Castle.

Heidelberg has been inhabited for hundreds of thousands of years and this is documented by the finding of the oldest known human bone in Europe, a jawbone belonging to pre-human Homo heidelbergiensis thought to be over half a million years old. Around 400 BC, the area was settled by Celtic tribes, later by Teutons, followed by the Romans. During the first millennium AD, several religious holdings were established in the river valley near where the city stands today and the city itself was developed in the Middle Ages from about the 5th century AD through to the 15th century. In the late 17th century, French armies destroyed much of it, leaving the castle in ruins. The first known written record of the settlement of Heidelberg (recorded as Heidelberch) dates from 1196. By 1214, and for subsequent centuries, Heidelberg was the political centre of the powerful Palatinate. The town was badly damaged during the Thirty Years War and again in the Palatine War of Succession, although throughout the centuries, efforts have been made to preserve what remains of the historic Heidelberg Castle and reconstruct other town buildings.

The romantic looking ruins of Heidelberg Castle stand above the city and the river. The castle, begun in the 13th or 14th centuries was built mostly in the 16th and 17th centuries and sits atop on a steep bank which today can be ascended via a modern funicular railway. The castle is now used as a venue for concerts and an annual summer drama festival as well as making a great place for panoramic views over the old town. The academically excellent University of Heidelberg is in the beautiful old part of the city. It was founded in 1386, making it Germany's oldest university and still continues to draw high-calibre students and faculty. The beautiful historic setting of Heidelberg has inspired romantic works about the city. Perhaps the most famous of these works is Sigmund Romberg's operetta The Student Prince (1924). A host of romance poets have taken delight in praising the city's picturesque setting and conglomeration of red roofs between the old bridge and the scars of the ruined castle. Today, Heidelberg's industries include the manufacture of precision instruments, printing machinery and (to kill the romance), cement. The city's economy is boosted greatly as a popular destination for millions of German and International visitors, some of whom come here not only in summer nut also later on in the year to visit one of Europe's premier Christmas Markets, a glimpse of which can be seen in the thumbnail gallery above.


1. Robert M Salkin and Trudy Ring. International dictionary of historic places: Northern Europe. Chicago [u.a.]: Fitzroy Dearborn Publ., 1995. Print.
2. Klein, R. (1999). The human career. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.