1. Heidelberg Castle
Ok – let’s face it: you can’t overlook it, you probably came along just to see it and actually it is the most impressive building in town: Heidelberg Castle – the Heidelberger Schloss. It’s romantic look an unique appearance of castle, old bridge and old town attracts roundabout 3.5 Million day-trippers a year and 1 Million overnight guests (which is a quite alot, considering the population of 130.000 people, from which are ca. 30.000 students).
You should consider two ways to approach the castle. To have a wonderful view at the castle, the old town and the bridge, switch to the other side of the river Neckar and take a walk up the “Philosophenweg”. You’ll have a steep rise, but you’ll be rewarded with the most wonderful look over the city and the to the castle vis-à-vis. The other approach is the direct one: enter the castle, have the close-up of the ruin (which the Heidelberg Schloss mostly is) and stroll through its park. You’ll probably have a lot of co-visitors, especially through the summer months, weekends… – I hate these crowds of people and my advice is to come early or late. But that’s the same old thing with every touristic destination. Inside the castle you have to pay to enter the castle’s court (hey, those bastards let the locals pay the same price…) and inside the castle you might want to have a look at the the famous “big barrel”, which is – imho – not too impressive. There’s the “Deutsche Apothekenmuseum” (German Pharmacy Museum) in the castle, too – if you’re interested in that kind of stuff…
2. The Bergfriedhof.
As I tend to visist the graveyards in cities I visit, I assume, that other people like to do that, too ;-). I think, that graveyards and tombstones tell us quite a lot about the local people and that’s one of the most interesting things, visiting a foreign city. The Bergfriedhof is situated near downtown and has a history of more than 17o years. A wide area, situated on a hillside with large trees, impressive old and new tombstones, with the character of a romantic park (you can see some impressions of the Bergfriedhof here).
3. The Prinzhorn Collection.
Hans Prinzhorn (June 6, 1886 – June 14, 1933) was a German psychiatrist and art historian. He became famous for the publication of his book „Bildnerei der Geisteskranken“ (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), which was richly illustrated with works of his patients. In 1919 he became assistant to Karl Wilmanns at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg, whete he was assigned the job, to expand an earlier collection of art created by the mentally ill, which was started by Emil Kraepelin. When he left in 1921 the collection was extended to more than 5000 works by about 450 “cases”. His book was disputed in the community of psychatrists, but the reaction of the art scene was ethusiastic. Jean Dubuffet was highly inspired by the works, and the term Art Brut was coined. Prinzhorn died in 1933, and shortly after his death the Prinzhorn Collection was stowed away in the attics of the Heidelberg University. In 1938 some items of the collection were displayed in the Nazi propaganda exhibition „Entartete Kunst“ (Degenerate Art). Since 2001 the collection is on display in a former oratory of the University of Heidelberg and has gained an immense popularity in the world of art. The curators of the Prinzhorn collection compose selected exhibitions from the complete stock of images and sculptures. The original book “Bildnerei der Geisteskranken” is available online. Prinzhorn Sammlung.
4. The Botanical Garden Heidelberg
The Heidelberg Botanical Garden ist the third oldest in Germany and was founded in 1593 (200 years after the university). It was first located in Heidelberg’s old town but moved afterwards seven times. The current garden is located at the Neuenheimer Feld since 1915. It was mostly destroyed at the end of the second world war. Most of its current famous collections were obtained under the direction of Prof. Werner Rauh, who was in charge of the garden from 1960-1982, comprising succulents, orchids and bromeliads. The botanical garden is also a resting point, a quiet place in the city, definitely worth a visit.
This whole site is under construction, just as this page. As a native, it’s a tough decision to choose the top ten 😉 -you might propose your own a the bulletin board!