The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Heidelberg

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Heidelberg
Edition of 1920. See also Heidelberg on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

HEIDELBERG, hī′dĕl′bĕrg, Germany, an old university town in Baden, on the left bank of the Neckar, here spanned by two bridges, 11 miles by rail east-southeast of Mannheim. It stands on a narrow strip between the river and the rock on which the castle is built, and chiefly consists of the Hauptstrasse, the long main street, and less important steeply-sloping cross and parallel street. The neighborhood abounds in ancient remains and is rich in historic and literary associations. The city has an electric street railway system. The imposing castle, on a height above the town, an immense ivy-clad ruin begun in the 13th century, exhibits elaborate examples of early and late renaissance architecture. It is often called the “German Alhambra,” and was enlarged at different periods from the 13th to the 18th centuries. It was almost destroyed during the wars with Louis XIV in the 17th century and in 1764 was reduced to its present condition by lightning. Two of its buildings have decorated façades in Renaissance style — the Friedrichs-Bau and the Otto-Heinrichs-Bau. It Contains several princely halls, a great watch tower, large balcony, dungeons, a museum with pictures and historic relics and a terrace from which a magnificent view is obtained. On this terrace is a statue of Victor von Scheffel, unveiled in 1891. In the town itself the principal buildings are the Gothic church of Saint Peter, the Gothic church of the Holy Ghost, the Roman Catholic Church, the university (q.v.), the town-house, the post-office, gymnasium, realschule and other schools. The manufactures, comparatively unimportant, include cement, tobacco, cigars, fire-extinguishing apparatus, shoddy, mathematical and surgical instruments, leather, etc., and there are also several breweries. One of the curiosities of the place is the well-known Heidelberg copper tun, kept in the cellar under the castle, and long ranking as the largest wine cask in the world, being 36 feet in length, 26 feet in diameter and capable of holding 49,000 gallons. Heidelberg has fine public walks. The gardens around the castle are well laid out, and at every turn present the finest views of the Neckar and the fertile and richly wooded valley through which it winds to join the Rhine. Behind the town and castle a carriage-road leads by easy ascent to the top of the Königstuhl, the loftiest hill of the district, from which an extensive view is obtained of surpassing beauty. Heidelberg arose around its 13th century castle and was until 1719 the capital of the Palatinate, It was long the centre of German Calvinism and gave its name to a famous Calvinistic catechism. The town suffered greatly during the Thirty Years' War. In 1622, 1688 and in 1693 the French captured and pillaged the city. In 1802 it was united to the grand duchy of Baden. Consult Godfrey, E., ‘Heidelberg: Its Princes and its Palaces’ (New York 1906); and Oncken, ‘Stadt, Schloss und Hochschule Heidelberg’ (Heidelberg 1885). Pop. (1910) 56,016.