The city of Heidelberg

  History of the city!

550.000 BC In 1907, the lower jaw-bone of homo heidelbergensis was found in a wall near Heidelberg, the earliest evidence of human life ever found in Europe.

The old bridge of Heidelberg.

Old Bridge and ruin of palace in the background
5th cent. BC Celts build a fortress of refuge and place of worship on the Heiligenberg.

circa 80 AD The Romans maintain a caster (permanent camp) and a signalling tower on the right bank of the Neckar. The first civilian settlements develop under the protection of the camp. The Romans remain until 260 AD.

5th cent. AD Beginnings of a permanent settlement.

769 The village of "Bergheim" is mentioned in documents for the first time.

View on the ruin of palace from the Heiliggeistkirche - church

Vista on the ruin from the tower of the Heilliggeistkirche - church.

1155 The oldest castle and settlement leave the possession of the Bishops of Worms and are taken over by the house of Hohenstaufen. Konrad, of this dynasty, becomes "Pfalzgraf (Count Palatinate) on the Rhine".

1195 The Palatinate joins the house of Welfen through marriage.

1196 "Heidelberch" is mentioned in a document for the first time. A wooden bridge spans the Neckar.

1214 The county of Palatinate is taken into the Wittelsbach family under Duke Ludwig I of Bavaria.

View from the palace on the old downtown and the lowlands of river Rhine.

View on the palace ruin of Heidelberg
1225 A castle above Heidelberg is mentioned in documents.

1255 Division of the lands: Rudolf I (of the main line of succession) becomes Count Palatinate (the Palatinate line).

1303 A document names two castles: one located at the present day "Molkenkur", the other below it, where the present-day castle ruins stand.

1329 After the Palatinate has been partly under the administration of Emperor Ludwig IV, "the Bavarian", it is finally separated from Bavaria under the "House Treaty of Pavia". The honour of participating in the election of the emperor is to alternate between the two dynasties. Rudolf II ("the Blind") becomes the first Prince Elector of the Palatinate, and rules jointly with Ruprecht I until 1353.

View on the old downtown and the old bridge also called "Karl-Theodor-Brücke" present day.

View on the river Neckar and the old bridge
1359 The "Golden Bull", an Imperial Law, grants the two Counts Palatinate extensive rights in "indivisible possession": the rank of Prince Elector, and the offices of arch-marshal, the highest Court in the empire, and of imperial administrator.

14th cent. A settlement independent of the town forms below the castle and exists until 1743.

1386 Founding of the oldest university in present-day Germany by Prince Elector Ruprecht I. It is the third university, after Prague and Viena, to be founded in the whole German speaking part of central Europe.

1392 The inhabitants of the village of Bergheim are transferred into the Heidelberg Neustadt ("new town"), thus extending the area of the town from the Grabengasse to the present-day Bismarckplatz.

Parts of the old bridge

Parts of the old bridge
1400 Prince Elector Ruprecht III becomes King of Germany under the name of Ruprecht I of the Palatinate. Building work starts on the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost). After Ruprecht's death in 1410, the Palatinate is divided between his four sons.

1462 Battle of Seckenheim: the armies of the Count Marcher of Baden and the Count of Württemberg are defeated by the Palatinate forces under Prince Elector Friedrich I ("the Victorious").

1508-44 Renovation of the defensive walls and workshop buildings in the castle by Prince Elector Ludwig V.

1518 Luther teaches his theory of justification in Heidelberg, in those days a centre of humanism.

Parts of the old bridge
1537 Lightning destroys the higher castle.

1556-59 Prince Elector Otto Heinrich introduces the Reformation and builds arguably the finest Renaissance palace north of the Alps.

1563 Prince Elector Friedrich III imposes Calvinism. The Heidelberg Catechism becomes the textbook of the reformed faith.

1608-10 Prince Elector Friedrich IV is leader of the Protestant "Union".

The huge vine barrel of Heidelberg.

The huge vine barrel of Heidelberg
The famous barrel of Karl Theodors, decorated with his initial, stores almost 222.000 l.
1610 Prince Elector Friedrich V has the famous Schlossgarten ("castle garden") or Hortus Palatinus built, as well as the Englischer Bau ("English Building") and the Elisabethentor (gate) built.

1619 The Protestant citizens in Bohemia elect Friedrich V as their king. In 1620 he loses the "battle of the White Mountain" against the Emperor's army, and thus also his titles as King and Prince Elector.

1622 The imperial general Tilly conquers the town and castle of Heidelberg.

1623 The famous "Palatinate Library" is carried off by imperial troops as war booty. Duke Maximilian of Bavaria rules the Palatinate until 1649, with a short interruption of Swedish rule in 1633/34. Warfare robs the state of three-quarters of its population.

View on the entrance of the Apothekermuseum (drugstore museum) within the ruin of Heidelberg castle.

View on the entrance of drugstore museum within the ruin of 
1649 Peace of Westphalia: the Upper Palatinate and the old title of Elector fall to Bavaria, but an eighth position of Elector is created for the Palatinate. Prince Elector Karl Ludwig has the castle and the university rebuilt and grants religious freedom to the Lutherans. Flemings, Walloons, Huguenots, Waldenese, and Swiss settle in the Palatinate.

1685 The Palatinate-Simmern line dies out with Prince Elector Karl II and is succeeded by the Palatinate-Neuburg line. King Louis XIV of France raises a claim to the inheritance on behalf of his sister-in-law Liselotte of the Palatinate, but without her consent. Liselotte is married to Louis' brother, and Louis' intention is that the Palatinate should fall to France.

1688/89 During the War of the Palatinate Succession, French troops capture Heidelberg and, before withdrawing, destroy the castle and the town as well as villages and towns in the Rhine plains.

1693 King Louis troops conquer Heidelberg again, blow up all the fortifications and burn the town to the ground. Even the tombs of the Princes Elector are plundered and destroyed.

 Visit in the drugstore museum

Visit in the drugstore museum

1697 onwards The inhabitants of Heidelberg return to the town and start rebuilding it out of the rubble.

1720 Disputes over religion between the ruling Catholic house and the Evangelical population over the Heiliggeistkirche lead to the transfer of the princes' residence to Mannheim.

1742-99 Prince Elector Karl Theodor promotes trade and industry, has the Alte Brücke ("old bridge") built, and starts work on rebuilding the castle. The Karlstor gate is erected as a triumphal arch in his honour.

A southly touch on the bank of river Neckar, opposite from the old downtown.

A southly touch on the bank of river Neckar, opposite of the old 
1764 During the reconstruction work, lightning destroys further castle buildings and work has to be stopped.

1803 The Imperial Deputation Decree awards Heidelberg to the Grand Duchy of Baden. Karl Friedrich immediately re-establishes the university and gives it the name of two founders "Ruperta Carola", which it still bears today.

1810 onwards The French emigré Charles Count of Graimberg starts on his life's work: conservation of the castle ruins and the construction of a historic collection or museum.

1815 The Tsar of Russia, the Emperor of Austria, and the King of Prussia meet in Heidelberg and form their "Holy Alliance" against Napoleon, the In their honour the castle ruin are illuminated by an enormous wood fire.

1840 Opening of the railway line from Mannheim to Heidelberg and of the old station on the site of the present-day Mengler building.

1848 A conference in Heidelberg passes a resolution calling for a German National Assemly to meet in Frankfurt.

1860 Castle and bridge lit up by "Bengal fire" for the first time. About 1874 Mark Twain the famous book writer made his journey to Germany to learn to know the German language as well as country and people.

1920-33 Prominent teachers of medicine (Czerny, Erb, Krehl) and psychology (Rohde, Weber, Gundolf) lecture in Heidelberg.

1945 Courageous Heidelberg citizens succeed at the last moment in handing the city over unscathed to the American military command. It becomes the headquarters for the main military administration departments for the American armed forces in Europe. The university is re-opened on the initiative of the medical professor Karl H. Bauer and the philosopher Karl Jaspers.

1955 The present-day mainline railway station is ceremonially opened.

1978 The Hauptstrasse (main street) is turned into a pedestrian precinct. The city starts work on an extensive modernisation of its old central area.

1980 The Stadthalle ("municipal hall") is opened as a congress centre.

  Sources: Guiding book the city of Heidelberg, Edm. von Königverlag, Heidelberg / Diehlheim


Local radio broadcasting:

Listen to the local radio:

Radio Regenbogen 102,8 MHZ
Radio Regenbogen Life

Local TV:

Baden TV
RPR - Radio

Culture and Shopping Information:

Tourist Information: Touristinformation
Am Hauptbahnhof
69115 Heidelberg
Telephon: 06221 - 14 22 01 and 06221 - 1 94 33
Fax: 06221 - 14 22 22 and 06221 - 16 73 18


Acommodations: Jugendherberge Heidelberg
Tiergartenstraße 5
69120 Heidelberg

Telephone: 06221 - 41 20 66
Fax: 06221 - 40 25 59
  Updated on 19.07.02  
Back to Homepage In German