Walking Tour of Heidelberg, Germany
This university town, on the Neckar River, has long been an important stop on the tourist trail for visitors to the Black Forest region. The town that travelers see today, however, was totally rebuilt in the 1700’s, the medieval predecessor having been completely destroyed by France in the previous century.
My walk begins at the Old Bridge (Alte Brucke), which leads to the beautiful, distinctive Bridge Gate, with its twin, cylindrical towers. Before entering the town, glance to the left, above the building roofs, to see the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, looming over the city.
Walk straight through the gate and onto Steingasse, which leads southward to Market Square. It is fairly quiet and serene now, but numerous public executions too place here, in the past. Now the site is adorned is adorned with the Hercules Fountain. One the left (eastern) side of the square is the Town Hall. Opposite the Town Hall is the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost).
Now turn left from the square onto Hauptstrasse, and then right into the Grain Market (Kornmarkt) Square. Walk through the square and turn left onto Karlstrasse. Ahead, on your right, are the Grand Ducal Palace, once home to the rulers of Baden, and the Mittermaier House, a typical home of the region.
Retrace your steps to the beginning of Karlstrasse and turn left, on Burgweg, to the Konigstuhl Bergbahn, a funicular which carries people to the summit of the King’s Throne, the hill above the city. To avoid the steep climb to the castle and beyond, take the funicular. It stops at the Castle, which you should visit, before continuing upward.
When you return to the funicular terminal, turn left (west) on Zwingerstrasse. Just beyond the end of the street, on the right, is the Jesuit Seminary. Take a left on Schulgasse and then a quick right, on Seminarstrasse. In the grassy area to your right is the Witch’s Tower, the only remaining part of the city’s 13th century wall.
Now take Augustinergasse north, along the grassy plot. To the right, across the small square ahead, is the Jesuit Church. Stop in for a visit. When you come out of the church, turn left on Mariengasse, into the square, to see the Old University, on your right. The New University faces it, across the square.
Leave this area by walking north on Grabengasse. Take a short detour by turning left here and then right on Schiffsgasse to visit the Raquet House, on the left, one of the biggest and most opulent Baroque homes in the city. Now, retrace your steps to Hauptgasse and turn left. Just past Grabengasse is a small square on your left. Walk across the square and then turn right onto Untere Strasse. A short distance down the road, on the left, is Palais Reicherm which was built in 1711. Further along, also on the left, is the Friedrich Ebert House.
When you reach the church, turn left on Steingasse to return to the starting point of the walk.