The City of Heidelberg
Heidelberg is one of Germany's most beautiful cities. For centuries, its romantic charm has attracted admirers from all over the world. It is also the classic German student city -- bustling with a wide range of cultural activities such as theater, dance, and music and all types of shops, student pubs, and sports facilities. Heidelberg is located on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany -- one of the sunniest and warmest corners of the country.
Built on the ruins of Celtic and Roman settlements, Heidelberg was the capital of the Palatinate until 1685. The massive castle is considered by many to be the most impressive in all of Germany. It was damaged during the Thirty Years' War and destroyed by the French in 1693. This imposing ruins is perched on the hillside above the old city.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the writers and painters who were drawn to Heidelberg to marvel at this remarkable combination of natural scenery and historical architecture helped to launch the German romantic movement.
Today, Heidelberg is also known for its sidewalk cafes, and student pubs and for the friendly, relaxed approach to life of the typical Heidelberger. The castle courtyard is used in the spring and summer for outdoor concerts and opera productions. Ship tours leave regularly to explore the castles along the Neckar valley. There is a re-creation of the burning and destruction of the castle three times each summer. During early December, the Universitätsplatz and Marktplatz are host to the colorful Weihnachtsmarkt. More than 10 museums and several theaters and concert halls attest to the vibrant cultural life of the city. With more than 140,000 inhabitants, Heidelberg is large enough to have a lively cultural scene and yet small enough to not be overwhelming.