From the 13th century, this site was home to the Holy Spirit Hospital, until it was demolished in 1557 in order to create a dairy and herb market. At that time, it was known as “Neuer Market,” only to be changed to “Kornmarket” (date unknown).
One of the square’s main features is the Madonna statue created by Prince Elector Karl Phillip in 1718. On the western edge of the square is the Palais Prince Carl, Heidelberg’s leading hotel from 1788 until 1915 (today, it is an event venue).
Perhaps the best place for coffee and pastries is the Cafe Gundel along the eastern side of the square. This building was originally a house built in 1720, with the ground floor becoming a bakery by 1766. The Gundel family has run this bakery since 1896. As a master baker, the original Gundel developed his signature masterpiece, the “Kurfurstenkugel” (the “Prince Elector Ball”, a round donut-like ball containing chocolate and marzipan). Modeled from the children’s story, “The Frog Prince” (which he had been reading to his grandchildren), this delightful delicacy became a symbol of the love between King Frederick V and his wife, Elizabeth Stuart. This symbol is always sold in pairs, one dark chocolate and one white chocolate.
In 1939, Gundel catered the Hungarian exhibition at the New York World’s Fair. Today, the Cafe Gundel is run by Christian Gundel, the fourth family generation to do so.
If you ever visit Heidelberg, we strongly recommend exploring the Kornmakt and stop into the Cafe Gundel to sample their exquisite pasteries.