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Published: October 17th 2007
Downtown Heidelberg and the Neckar River
As seen from the Heidelberg Castle. Here you can see the snowy roofs of the Aldstadt, or Old Town, clustered around the Heiligeistkirche, or Holy Ghost Church, and the AlteBruecke, or Old Bridge. The homes lining the opposite bank of the Neckar meld into the vineyards climbing the hill behind them.
Heidelberg, my Heidelberg. Many great poets have penned many fine words about this romantic city. Heidelberg has been our home these past two years, but I have done very few blogs for it. This, however, is not an all-encompassing blog and is mostly a focus on the photographs which I took on one trip downtown.
When I awoke this morning, I saw snow outside the window and instantly decided it was time for me to get blogging. You see, we don’t see snow too often in our valley, and this winter was especially warm. It snowed around Thanksgiving and then the snow disappeared until now, the end of March.
Anyway, my first stop today was the Heidelberg Castle. The castle is extremely eclectic, which can be mostly attributed to the span of its construction, lasting from about 1400 to 1620. It is well worth a visit and tours are available. The views from the castle are amazing and the gardens are expansive. It houses a fascinating Apothecary Museum and it also home to the famous Great Tun. The Great Tun is a gigantic wine keg, built in the 1751, that can hold 220,000 liters, or 58,118 gallons, of wine
The Neckar River
As seen from the castle. Another view of the homes and vineyards along the Neckar.
and there is a dance floor located on top of it. Many great writers have found inspiration here, from Goethe to Mark Twain, as this castle has been in a state of rather romantic ruins for hundreds of years. It was devastated in the War of the Grand Alliance with France, from 1689-93, and after being restored was then ravaged by fire when lightning struck in 1764. The castle was subsequently deserted and only many years later restored by the state and made open to the public as a tourist attraction.
Even with the snow and the cold wind there were still many tourists, and quite a few are British or Spanish in large tour groups. I wandered from one end of the castle grounds to the other, but the numbing cold convinced me to head to lower ground.
I drove down near the river and parked by the Kongresshaus. From here I walked along the Neckar River, up Neckarstrasse, to the Old Bridge (the current one built in 1788) and the Bridge Gate, which was originally a medieval fortification and was later enhanced in 1788. I also snapped some photos of the luxurious homes across the river.
The Heidelberg Castle
Built mostly between 1400 and 1620, this romantic and eclectic castle slowly came to ruin after attacks from the French in the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-93) and after lightning set it aflame in 1764.
I walked around the Heiliggeistkirche, or the Church of the Holy Spirit, which is a Gothic church built between 1398 and 1544, though it currently has a new roof and spire built in 1693, after Louis XIV’s troops burnt most of Heidelberg to the ground.
I also got a variety of shots of the Hauptstrasse, which is the pedestrian zone that runs along the river and is reputed to be the longest pedestrian zone in Europe. I did not finish photographing downtown, however, because I received a phone call which had me on a plane to the States within 24 hours… but that’s a whole different blog….
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