Heidelberg

Welcome to Heidelberg

It is no secret that Heidelberg is a jewel among German travel destinations. Heidelberg is in the Neckar river valley right where the legend-rich Odenwald (Forest of Odes or Odin) opens up towards the plains of the Rhine Valley. Heidelberg is home to the oldest university in Germany (est. 1386). With 28,000 students, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität (or Ruperto Carola, the Latin equivalent of its name) is one of Germany’s larger academic institutions and boasts the full spectrum of an ancient academy, from Egyptian Studies to Computer Linguistics.

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Surrounded by forest, Germany’s oldest and most famous university town is renowned for its baroque Altstadt, beautiful riverside setting and evocative half-ruined hilltop castle, which draw 11.9 million visitors a year. They follow in the footsteps of the late 18th- and early 19th-century romantics, most notably the poet Goethe and Britain’s William Turner, who was inspired by Heidelberg to paint some of his greatest landscapes.

In 1878, Mark Twain began his European travels with a three-month stay in Heidelberg, recounting his observations in A Tramp Abroad (1880). Heidelberg’s rich literary history, along with its thriving contemporary scene, saw it named a Unesco City of Literature in 2014.

Heidelberg’s Altstadt has a red-roofed townscape of remarkable architectural unity. After having been all but destroyed by French troops under Louis XIV (1690s), it was rebuilt during the 18th century. Unlike many German cities, it emerged from WWII almost unscathed.

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