1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Heidelberg

HEIDELBERG, a town of Germany, on the south bank of the Neckar, 12 m. above its confluence with the Rhine, 13 m. S.E. from Mannheim and 54 m. from Frankfort-on-Main by rail. The situation of the town, lying between lofty hills covered with vineyards and forests, at the spot where the rapid Neckar leaves the gorge and enters the plain of the Rhine, is one of great natural beauty. The town itself consists practically of one long, narrow street—the Hauptstrasse—running parallel to the river, from the railway station on the west to the Karlstor on the east (where there is also a local station) for a distance of 2 m. To the south of this is the Anlage, a pleasant promenade flanked by handsome villas and gardens, leading directly to the centre of the place. A number of smaller streets intersect the Hauptstrasse at right angles and run down to the river, which is crossed by two fine bridges. Of these, the old bridge on the east, built in 1788, has a fine gateway and is adorned with statues of Minerva and the elector Charles Theodore of the Palatinate; the other, the lower bridge, on the west, built in 1877, connects Heidelberg with the important suburbs of Neuenheim and Handschuchsheim. Of recent years the town has grown largely towards the west on both sides of the river; but the additions have been almost entirely of the better class of residences. Heidelberg is an important railway centre, and is connected by trunk lines with Frankfort, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Spires and Würzburg. Electric trams provide for local traffic, and there are also several light railways joining it with the neighbouring villages. Of the churches the chief are the Protestant Peterskirche dating from the 15th century and restored in 1873, to the door of which Jerome of Prague in 1460 nailed his theses; the Heilige Geist Kirche (Church of the Holy Ghost), an imposing Gothic edifice of the 15th century; the Jesuitenkirche (Roman Catholic), with a sumptuously decorated interior, and the new Evangelical Christuskirche. The town hall and the university buildings, dating from 1712 and restored in 1886, are commonplace erections; but to the south of the Ludwigsplatz, upon which most of the academical buildings lie, stands the new university library, a handsome structure of pink sandstone in German Renaissance style. In addition to the Ludwigsplatz with its equestrian statue of the emperor William I. there are other squares in the town, among them being the Bismarckplatz with a statue of Bismarck, and the Jubiläumsplatz.

The chief attraction of Heidelberg is the castle, which overhangs the east part of the town. It stands on the Jettenbühl, a spur of the Königsstuhl (1800 ft.), at a height of 330 ft. above the Neckar. Though now a ruin, yet its extent, its magnificence, its beautiful situation and its interesting history render it by far the most noteworthy, as it certainly is the grandest and largest, of the old castles of Germany. The building was begun early in the 13th century. The elector palatine and German king Rupert III. (d. 1410) greatly improved it, and built the wing, Ruprechtsbau or Rupert’s building, that bears his name. Succeeding electors further extended and embellished it (see Architecture, Plate VII., figs. 78-80); notably Otto Henry “the Magnanimous” (d. 1559), who built the beautiful early Renaissance wing known as the Otto-Heinrichsbau (1556–1559); Frederick IV., for whom the fine late Renaissance wing called the Friedrichsbau was built (1601–1607); and Frederick V., the unfortunate “winter king” of Bohemia, who on the west side added the Elisabethenbau or Englischebau (1618), named after his wife, the daughter of James I. of Great Britain and ancestress of the present English reigning family. In 1648, at the peace of Westphalia, Heidelberg was given back to Frederick V.’s son, Charles Louis, who restored the castle to its former splendour. In 1688, during Louis XIV.’s invasion of the Palatinate, the castle was taken, after a long siege, by the French, who blew part of it up when they found they could not hope to hold it (March 2, 1689). In 1693 it was again captured by them and still further wrecked. Finally, in 1764, it was struck by lightning and reduced to its present ruinous condition.

EB1911 Heidelberg.jpg
from Meyer’s Konversations Lexikon Emery Walker sc.

Apart from the outworks, the castle forms an irregular square with round towers at the angles, the principal buildings being grouped round a central courtyard, the entrance to which is from the south through a series of gateways. In this courtyard, besides the buildings already mentioned, are the oldest parts of the castle, the so-called Alte Bau (old building) and the Bandhaus. The Friedrichsbau, which is decorated with statues of the rulers of the Palatinate, was elaborately restored and rendered habitable between 1897 and 1903. Other noteworthy objects in the castle are the fountain in the courtyard, decorated with four granite columns from Charlemagne’s palace at Ingelheim; the Elisabethentor, a beautiful gateway named after the English princess; the beautiful octagonal bell-tower at the N.E. angle; the ruins of the Krautturm, now known as the Gesprengte Turm, or blown-up tower, and the castle chapel and the museum of antiquities in the Friedrichsbau. In a cellar entered from the courtyard is the famous Great Tun of Heidelberg. This vast vat was built in 1751, but has only been used on one or two occasions. Its capacity is 49,000 gallons, and it is 20 ft. high and 31 ft. long. Behind the Friedrichsbau is the Altan (1610), or castle balcony, from which is obtained a view of great beauty, extending from the town beneath to the heights across the Neckar and over the broad luxuriant plain of the Rhine to Mannheim and the dim contours of the Hardt Mountains behind. On the terrace of the beautiful grounds is a statue of Victor von Scheffel, the poet of Heidelberg.

The university of Heidelberg was founded by the elector Rupert I., in 1385, the bull of foundation being issued by Pope Urban VI. in that year. It was constructed after the type of Paris, had four faculties, and possessed numerous privileges. Marselius von Inghen was its first rector. The electors Frederick I., the Victorious, Philip the Upright and Louis V. respectively cherished it. Otto Henry gave it a new organization, further endowed it and founded the library. At the Reformation it became a stronghold of Protestant learning, the Heidelberg catechism being drawn up by its theologians. Then the tide turned. Damaged by the Thirty Years’ War, it led a struggling existence for a century and a half. A large portion of its remaining endowments was cut off by the peace of Lunéville (1801). In 1803, however, Charles Frederick, grand-duke of Baden, raised it anew and reconstituted it under the name of “Ruperto-Carola.” The number of professors and teachers is at present about 150 and of students 1700. The library was first kept in the choir of the Heilige Geist Kirche, and then consisted of 3500 MSS. In 1623 it was sent to Rome by Maximilian I., duke of Bavaria, and stored as the Bibliotheca Palatina in the Vatican. It was afterwards taken to Paris, and in 1815 was restored to Heidelberg. It has more than 500,000 volumes, besides 4000 MSS. Among the other university institutions are the academic hospital, the maternity hospital, the physiological institution, the chemical laboratory, the zoological museum, the botanical garden and the observatory on the Königsstuhl.

The other educational foundations are a gymnasium, a modern and a technical school. There is a small theatre, an art and several other scientific societies. The manufactures of Heidelberg include cigars, leather, cement, surgical instruments and beer, but the inhabitants chiefly support themselves by supplying the wants of a large and increasing body of foreign permanent residents, of the considerable number of tourists who during the summer pass through the town, and of the university students. A funicular railway runs from the Korn-Markt up to the level of the castle and thence to the Molkenkur (700 ft. above the town). The town is well lighted and is supplied with excellent water from the Wolfsbrunnen. Pop. (1885), 29,304; (1905), 49,527.

At an early period Heidelberg was a fief of the bishop of Worms, who entrusted it about 1225 to the count palatine of the Rhine, Louis I. It soon became a town and the chief residence of the counts palatine. Heidelberg was one of the great centres of the reformed teaching and was the headquarters of the Calvinists. On this account it suffered much during the Thirty Years’ War, being captured and plundered by Count Tilly in 1622, by the Swedes in 1633 and again by the imperialists in 1635. By the peace of Westphalia it was restored to the elector Charles Louis. In 1688 and again in 1693 Heidelberg was sacked by the French. On the latter occasion the work of destruction was carried out so thoroughly that only one house escaped; this being a quaintly decorated erection in the Marktplatz, which is now the Hôtel zum Ritter. In 1720 the elector Charles II. removed his court to Mannheim, and in 1803 the town became part of the grand-duchy of Baden. On the 5th of March 1848 the Heidelberg assembly was held here, and at this meeting the steps were taken which led to the revolution in Germany in that year.

See Oncken, Stadt, Schloss und Hochschule Heidelberg; Bilder aus ihrer Vergangenheit (Heidelberg, 1885); Öchelhäuser, Das Heidelberger Schloss, bau- und kunstgeschichtlicher Führer (Heidelberg, 1902); Pfaff, Heidelberg und Umgebung (Heidelberg, 1902); Lorentzen, Heidelberg und Umgebung (Stuttgart, 1902); Durm, Das Heidelberger Schloss, eine Studie (Berlin, 1884); Koch and Seitz, Das Heidelberger Schloss (Darmstadt, 1887–1891); J. F. Hautz, Geschichte der Universität Heidelberg (1863–1864); A. Thorbecke, Geschichte der Universität Heidelberg (Stuttgart, 1886); the Urkundenbuch der Universität Heidelberg, edited by Winkelmann (Heidelberg, 1886); Bähr, Die Entführung der Heidelberger Bibliothek nach Rom (Leipzig, 1845); and G. Weber, Heidelberger Erinnerungen (Stuttgart, 1886).