Heidelberg is famed for its beautiful baroque style Old Town, its bridges across the Neckar and wonderful views from its surrounding hills. A fantastically historical city, Heidelberg has lots of incredible museums for every interest. The city is picturesque and romantic, and, due to being a popular tourist destination, it isn’t hard to get by knowing only a little German.
First constructed in 1214, and expanded around 1295, part of Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberg Schloss) was destroyed in 1537 and rebuilt since. Many of the present structures date back to the 16th and 17th century, and are a fascinating view across the ages. The castle provides amazing panoramic views across Heidelberg from the broken tower or little viewpoints scattered over the castle. The courtyard in the castle is a beautiful example of baroque architecture – sprawling and busy with ornately designed buildings. Information in the castle is given in English and German.
Located inside the castle, Heidelberg’s Pharmacy Museum (Deutsches Apotheken-Museum) is a really amazing place, examining over 2000 years of medicinal history. A lot of work has gone into making it feel as much like travelling back in time as possible. Visitors can go into the apothecary’s office which is stocked full of dozens of fascinating jars and bottles. There are examples of the types of herbs that would have been used through the ages and lots of information. You can also go downstairs to the area where the apothecary would have worked and see all of the equipment that would have been used through the ages, including many original objects.
The University Museum (Universitätsmuseum) is located on the ground floor of an old university building, with the Student Prison (thankfully, long since used!) next door and the Great Hall on the floor above. The museum is located on Universitätsplatz which is easily accessible via the number 31 and 32 bus, or by walking along Hauptstraße from Bismarkplatz – the central hub of the town. The museum showcases the development of Heidelberg Universität; founded in 1386, it is the oldest surviving university in Germany and fifth oldest in all of central Europe.
The home of historical cultural exhibits and contemporary art in Heidelberg, the Cultural Museum (Kurpfälzisches Museum) is a must-see for any individual interested in this field. It is easily accessible by foot from Hauptstraße. Their collections span many fields, including archaeology from the Lower Neckar area, with a life-size depiction of the life of a family living in the Neolithic period. There is an exhibit of paintings from the 15th to the 20th Century, including works by Georg August Wallis and Wilhelm Trübner. Other collections include graphics, crafts and sculptures.
Also located on Hauptstraße is the Ethnographical Museum (Völkerkundemuseum) which contains collections of artefacts and information on the historical religions and cultures of Asian, African and Oceanian communities. Currently there is an exhibit on differences in prayer in different religions – from the literature or words used to the various material needed for prayer – as well as two other exhibits; but they change regularly, so be careful to check their website before you go.
The Earth Sciences Museum (Museum für Geologie) is located out of the city centre, close to the student accommodation. If you want to get away from the tourist-attractions of Aldstadt and experience the real city, it is the perfect place to go. Again, the number 31 and 32 buses will bring you here. The museum contains a geological exhibit, showcasing various rocks with a depiction of the development of planet Earth. There are also palaeontology and mineralogy exhibits depicting fossil records and classifications of modern minerals respectively. Im Neuenheimer Feld 235, HeidelbergJillian Ellis