ST.PETER’s CHURCH - This is the oldest preserved church within Old Town (located opposite the University of Heidelberg Library). While there is no evidence to prove it, oral tradition states it may have dated back to the 12th century. We do know that there were Christian ties to the University back to the 14th century. It’s unigue character of orange walls and a red roof indicate that it was an example of early Baroque architecture with Romanesque influences. Outside, the old cemetery has graves that cover five centuries and an elegant oak tree that was planted in 1883 on the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth.
WITCH TOWER - Also known as the “Thief’s Tower,” this was once part of the western city fortifications until 1392. Later on, it functioned as a jail for both male and female robbers and thieves. The tower did not get its name as the “Witch Tower” until 1684 (the witch hunts having taken place much earlier, between 1450 and 1500), to emphasize the brutality of the jail. It was partially destroyed during the War of Palatinate Succession (1688 - 1697). When it was rebuilt, the tower no longer had a peaked roof, as hip roofs were then in fashion. Today, the tower is located in the yard of the New University.
KARLSPLATZ (KARL’S SQUARE) - Named after Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of Baden, it occupies an area that once held a Franciscan monastery (until 1803). It offers an unhindered view of Heidelberg’s Castle. Created in 1805, it is the home to the Sebastian-Munster fountain (1978) which honors the German humorist of the same name. He worked for many years, during the 16th century, in the monastery, on its grounds. It also hosts the Palau’s Boisseree and Rosshiry Residence building.
FRIEDRICH EBERT HOUSE MUSEUM - Ebert was the first democratically elected president (during the Weimar Republic) in German history. He was born in this small three room apartment in February of 1871 to a master tailor ( who also ran his shop out of the apartment) and his wife. Friedrich was the seventh of nine children. The museum retraces the steps that Ebert took in order to become leader of Germany.
Our three months in Germany are finished and what a wonderful time we had. There are just so many places to explore in any of the countries we’ve visited, Germany included, that being restricted to just ninty days within the Shengen (the treaty that covers 30 countries of the European Union) creates a problem for our travels. We now have to leave for three months before we can return to the EU. Finding non-Shengen countries does present some challenges. So our next journey will take us to Ireland. While a member of the European Union, Ireland is not part of the Shengen treaty. Oh well, ever onward.