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« Germany 3: Triberg an… | Home | Germany 5.1: Castles … »

Germany 4: Heidelberg

On Tuesday, Kristine and I took the train to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a lucky little city that avoided being flattened during WW2 via some long, complicated and poorly told anecdote I read on a menu at a cafe there. Heidelberg boasts a quaint, "Altstadt" (historical city center), a castle overlooking the town, and the oldest university in Germany (est. 1386).

Most of the Altstadt is only good for pedestrians.

Here's part of the University.

This is inside a quad in the University. It's called the Witch's Tower. It was originally built for defense in the 14th century. During witch hysteria it was used to (you guessed it) imprison witches. Today, if you walk into the doors on the bottom floor you're in a pretty standard looking dormitory lobby.

Random view down a side street.

Ok, this is fun, but lets get up to my first castle. There it is!

The castle has an impressive view of the town.

Heidelberg's castle is one of those castles that was heavily modified and added on to over the years. Much of it is also in ruins. This is looking across the dry moat at the body of the castle. In the upper right is the clock tower which is the only entrance to the inner courtyard.

This is the powder keep. Or was it powder tower? I don't remember. All I know is that it blew up, and half of it is on the ground.

The inner courtyard wasn't too interesting, though it was good sized. This was a pretty unique feature, a sundial on the building on the right.

Under the main hall, our audio tour begin to tell us about the "Great Barrel" built in 1751. I was only a little impressed with the 15 foot high barrel in front of us.

I wasn't paying close enough attention. The "Great Barrel" is 6.5m in diameter and 9m long. It holds 228,000 liters. Oh THERE it is.

Previous "great barrels" that weren't quite as big dated back to the 1590s and were destroyed for various reasons through the centuries.

I needed a snack once we were back in the train station and I bought a berliner in honor of JFK. It was delicious if a little messy.


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