As a free imperial city in the Middle Ages, Speyer was one of the most important cities of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The Emperor's- and St. Mary's-Cathedral is the world's largest preserved Romanesque church, – to-day a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Salian King and later Emperor Conrad II initiated the construction in 1025 with the goal of creating the largest church of the Occident. Eight German emperors and kings are buried in the crypt. Just a few minutes from the Cathedral is the Judenhof, the old Jewish quarter of Speyer. Here one can also view the mikvah (the bathhouse) and sections of the synagogue.
From a magnificent Renaissance building to a symbol of transience
The castle ruin high above the old town of Heidelberg is one of the most famous ruins in Germany and the city's landmark. The fortified castle from the 13th century was converted into the magnificent residence of the Palatinate Electors in the Renaissance. After the destruction of 1689 and 1693 by the French, the castle was restored only hesitantly. In 1764, a devastating fire after lightning struck sealed all efforts. The building was abandoned and the ruin was used as a quarry for the new Schwetzingen Summer Palace and later for the citizens of Heidelberg. At the end of the 18th century, the picturesque ruin was discovered by literary figures as a symbol of transience. During the Napoleonic Wars it was reinterpreted as a patriotic monument.
World Cultural Heritage from the time of Charlemagne
When the abbey was consecrated in 774, Emperor Charlemagne was personally present with his family and court. Later he raised the abbey to one of his most important imperial monasteries. Three buildings of the formerly large complex remain: a fragment of the Nazarius basilica, a section of the monastery wall and the famous Königshalle. When Lorsch Monastery was declared a World Heritage Site in 2014, the monastery areas were linked in terms of landscape architecture. An herbal garden was also created – according to the specifications of 1,200-year-old Lorsch pharmacopoeia.
Panoramic trip to the Königstuhl
With the mountain railway you can go up to the Königstuhl and enjoy the fantastic views over the city and the Rhine plain up to the Palatinate Forest. The lower cable car, one of the most modern mountain railways in Germany, starts at the Kornmarkt in the old town and goes via the Castle to the Molkenkur. From there, you take one of the oldest electrically operated mountain railways to the Königstuhl.
Baroque pedestrian bridge
The baroque Karl Theodor Bridge is one of Germany's oldest bridge buildings and was first mentioned in 1248. There were many previous wooden buildings, but they were repeatedly destroyed by drifting ice floes. It was built in its present form in 1788, but towards the end of the Second World War two pillars were blown up by the Wehrmacht to stop the advancing Allied troops. Already in 1947 the bridge was completely reconstructed. At the southern end of the Old Bridge stands the medieval bridge gate with its 28-metre-high double towers. Originally it was part of the city fortifications. Bridge duty was paid at the gate, in case of danger it could be closed by a trap gate.
Panoramic walk steeped in history
The name comes from a time when all students had to study the seven liberal arts, which were combined under the subject philosophy, before starting their studies. It was probably not so much the scholars as the students who discovered the path as an ideal place for romantic walks and undisturbed togetherness. For the first 700 meters the lower half leads steep and winding through one of the most expensive residential areas in Heidelberg. Then it continues on nearly even grounds . The Philosopher's Garden offers the best view over the Neckar to Heidelberg's old town, the Königstuhl and the castle, but also out into the Rhine plain.