Heidelberg is located in the southwestern part of Germany. The city stands on the banks of the Neckar River and is surrounded by dense forests. The first written mention of it dates back to 1196, however, many areas of the city already existed as separate settlements by that time.
In the Middle Ages and early modern times, Heidelberg was the seat of the counts of the Palatinate. In 1386, Heidelberg University was founded here. In 1720 the residence of the Electors was moved to Mannheim, since then Heidelberg has lost its political significance. Modern Heidelberg is located in a densely populated region at the junction of the lands of Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, and together with Mannheim and Ludwigshafen forms a region – the Rhine-Neckar triangle agglomeration, the country’s seventh largest economic region.
Heidelberg is a city of small cozy alleys, the romance of ancient castles and student cafes. It is one of the few large German cities with preserved old city buildings that were not affected by the bombing during the Second World War. In 2004, the Old Town of Heidelberg was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Old Town, which has one of the largest pedestrian areas in Europe (1.6 km), houses most of the city’s attractions.
The most striking attraction is Heidelberg Castle, towering 90 m above the city. The period of its construction lasted from the 14th to the 17th centuries. It is immediately evident that the castle does not have a clear building plan and that all its buildings were built in different styles. Here you can see examples of medieval architecture, Renaissance and German Baroque architecture. The western and southern parts of the castle are dominated by simple Gothic buildings, while the north and east are dominated by the luxurious and massive stone walls of the Renaissance palace, richly decorated with sculptures. The largest wine barrel is kept in the cellar of the castle. It was constructed in 1751 and is 8 m long and 7 m wide. The castle is surrounded by a magnificent garden.
Among other historical places, it is worth paying attention to the University Library, the churches of Heiliggeistkirche, Jesuitenkirche, Peterskirche, Providenzkirche; Old bridge; hotel “zum Ritter”, built in 1592; Abbey Neuburg, the ruins of the monasteries on Heiligenberg, the observatory on Mount Königstuhl.
Also in the city there are more than 20 museums, 11 theaters, Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra. Heidelberg has a rich cultural life, which explains in no small measure the fact that it is a student city. There are many cultural centers and, of course, nightclubs.
According to Themakeupexplorer, Essen was founded in the 11th century. Until the 19th century, it was a small town whose inhabitants were engaged in agriculture. When deposits of coal and ores were discovered in the Ruhr basin, the city began to grow and develop rapidly. Now Essen is a major exhibition center and one of the few places in Germany where “big business” is done: eleven of the hundred strongest concerns in Germany are controlled from here, including Krupp and Ruhrgas. More than 100 days a year, Essen hosts a variety of exhibitions and fairs.
The oldest architectural building in the city is the Essen Cathedral, built in the 14th century. It is famous for its interior decoration. Here is the world’s oldest sculpture of the Virgin Mary and a collection of jewelry from the time of Charlemagne. Villa Huegel impresses with its splendor with a huge garden around. This palace-like house was built by Alfred Krupp for his family. Today, various exhibitions are held there.
Southwest of Essen the Essen Museum Complex is located. Folkwang’s collection includes paintings from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day – the master of German romantic painting Caspar David Friedrich and his school, French impressionists, German and Russian expressionists from the Blue Rider. Next to the art gallery is the local history museum of the Ruhr district. Another museum of international importance, the Design Center is located in the north of Essen.
Main street of Essen is Kettwigerstrasse, where many different shops are concentrated: from modern shopping centers where you can buy everything in the world, to small private shops with a long tradition selling wine or model railways. In the south of the city there is a large artificial lake Baldeney, where you can have a great rest. Its area is 2.7 km2. Surfing and sailing schools, a rowing club are located around the lake, inviting everyone to actively spend their leisure time. The road around Baldeney is 14.7 km long and can be walked, rollerbladed or cycled. Every year the largest regatta in Germany is held here, bringing together the elite of sailing.
Every year from mid-October to the end of December, the so-called “Essen weeks of light” are held, when the entire central part of the city is festively illuminated. The theme of the light figures changes from year to year.