Heidelberg City |the Old Town

Catholic Jesuitenkirche - Right Church of the Holy Spirit Heidelberg

Left Catholic Jesuitenkirche – Right Church of the Holy Spirit-old town

Heidelberg, a very pretty town on the river Neckar surrounded by green hills and mountains, part of the Rhine Neckar district.   The  population is about 150,000, with an influx of some 3 million tourists per year drawn to the city by the romantic Heidelberg castle on Konigstuhl hillside above the Old Town. Climate wise Heidelberg is one of the warmest towns in Germany.

There are two significant churches in Heidelberg, the church of the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Jesuitenkirche.

Gothic Church of the Holy Spirit- Old Town Heidelberg

Church of the Holy Spirit- Old Town Heidelberg

Church of the Holy Spirit

This interesting church in Heidelberg is hard to miss as it stands in the middle of the market place in the old town center. Construction of this church took place over a 150 year period. It is a late gothic church with a handsome baroque steeple rising above the red roof tops of the city. The church of the Holy Spirit once contained the tombs of the Palatinate electors, most of them destroyed by fire during the War of the Palatine Succession. The only tomb remaining is of Prince-elector Rupert III the founder of the church, and his wife Elizabeth. The church interior has an airy spaciousness with its towering red sandstone columns and vaulting.

Tomb of Prince-elector Rupert III,Church of Holy Spirit -Old Town

Tomb of Prince-elector Rupert III, church founder, and wife Elizabeth.

Catholic Jesuitenkirche

The Jesuitenkirche is at the heart of the Jesuit Quarter in Heidelberg in the Old Town near University Square. Construction of the Jesuit church took place between 1712 to 1759 in the Baroque style. The church tower is a later addition completed in a neo-baroque style in 1872. It has a very pristine interior with beautiful sculptures.

Catholic Jesuitenkirche - Old Town Heidelberg

Front Facade Catholic Jesuitenkirche – Old Town Heidelberg

 Maryr&Child

The Old Bridge

Enjoy a stroll across the Carl Theodor Bridge or Old Bridge as it is commonly known, which spans the Neckar river at Heidelberg.  Prince Elector Carl Theodor had the bridge built across the river at Heidelberg after a major flood in 1784 destroyed the old wooden bridge. Built between 1768 and 1788 with red sandstone from the Neckar valley, the nine arched red sandstone bridge remains a classical example of large stone bridge building.

OldBridge

On the city side of the bridge is the impressive medieval bridge gate with two white towers, part of the former town wall. The two distinctive dark Baroque tower helmets added when the bridge was being built.  Two sculpture groups adorn either end of the Old Bridge, one a monument to Prince Elector Carl Theodor, the other, a monument  to the roman goddess Minerva.

Hauptstrasse-Main-Street-Old Town Heidelberg

Hauptstrasse – mile-long pedestrian street – old town Heidelberg

Hauptstrasse- Old Town

The Main Street or Hauptstrasse is a mile-long pedestrian street running the length of the Old Town. Heidelberg is a University town with many young people enjoying the outdoor eateries in the warm sunshine, having fun larking about in the streets of the Old Town.

Students-having-fun

Skylarking2

Hotel Zum Ritter St.Georg

In Hauptstrasse an impressive old building from the late renaissance period “Zum Ritter Sankt Georg”  is one of the few surviving houses typical of the town before the Thirty year’s war. It was built in 1592 for a Huguenot Cloth Merchant, Charles Belier. Following on from the end of  the thirty year war in 1648, it has served as a Hotel and Inn, except for a short period from 1692 to 1702 when it became the Heidelberg Town Hall.  The house named after the sculpture of “Zum Ritter Sankt Georg” or Knight St. George sitting atop the gable.  Many other statues decorate the front facade of this handsome building.

Hotel Zum Ritter St. Georg-old Town Heidelberg City

Front facade Hotel Zum Ritter St Georg-old Town

Dinner at this historical hotel was a most enjoyable evening.  The interior has that beautiful old world charm and ambiance of warm natural timbers, polished and mellowed by time. Our meal was delicious, the service impeccable.

CsstleView&fountain

On reaching the area known as Kornmarket the square is dominated by  Heidelberg castle. The castle, a juxtapositions of crumbling facades towering almost menacingly over the Old Town. An ancient gilded fountain of the Madonna sits in the market square.

Tomorrow our tour heads for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley…..


 

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