Things to Do in Baden-Württemberg
The Old Bridge in Heidelberg is a sandstone pedestrian bridge that goes across the Neckar River linking the old town on one side with the Neuenheim district on the other. It was built in 1786, and even though there were several other bridges before it in this location, it was the first one made of stone. On the city side of the bridge, there are two towers that once formed part of the city walls. They contain old dungeons which were used to hold criminals. Between the towers, you can see a plaque honoring the Austrian troops who helped defend the bridge against an attack from the French in 1799.
Another feature visitors will notice is a statue of a monkey holding a mirror. The monkey represents the idea that neither those who lived within the city walls nor those who lived outside the city were any better than the other, and that they should look over their shoulder as the cross the bridge to remember this.
The Old Heidelberg University, Germany's oldest university, was build in the early 1700s. It now holds the Rector's Office, the Old Assembly Hall, and the University Museum. The museum shows the history of the university beginning with its foundation in 1386 through today. Exhibits, portraits, and documents explain this history in three different sections. There's one about the Palatinate electors, one about the Baden era, and one about the twentieth century. In addition to the permanent exhibits, every few months there is a new special exhibit opens.
In the square in front of the building is a fountain of a lion, called Löwenbrunnen. The lion was the symbol of the Palatinate. At the back of the Old University, visitors can see the student prison, which was in use until 1914 and is now one of the most popular attractions in the city. Students could be put in the prison from two days to four weeks depending on the offense, although life there was quite comfortable.
Spectacular and historic Freiburg sits on the edge of the mountainous Black Forest in southern Germany, a photogenic old city that was founded in 1120 that lays claim to having the most sunshine in the whole country. Life in this vibrant university city centers on the Altstadt’s cobbled and arcaded Rathausplatz (City Square), lined with Gothic churches and civic buildings interspersed with buzzy cafés and bars. The tangle of surrounding streets are stuffed full of medieval buildings, from half-timbered and gabled townhouses to the massive 11th-century Gothic Münster (Minister) encrusted with sculptured biblical scenes and adorned with dazzling stained-glass windows. One of the Freiburg’s stranger constructions is the bizarre Stühlinger Kirche (Stühlinger church), completed in 1897 and topped with bright-green tiled spires.
Lake Mummelsee, located along the Black Forest High Road scenic route, is the largest of seven mountain lakes remaining in the Black Forest. Perched 3,400 feet (1,036 meters) above sea level, the lake gets its name from the white water lilies, called ‘mummel’ in German, than float on its surface.
According to local lore, a bevy of water sprites live with their king in a glorious crystal palace far below the surface of the water, coming out only at night to dance in the moonlight. Mermaids aside, Lake Mummelsee is circumnavigated by a boardwalk for lakeside strolls, while paddle boats ply the surface. A short trail leads up to a lookout tower atop Hornisgrinde, the highest peak in the area, where visitors can take in panoramic views of the Black Forest.
Europa-Park is the second most popular theme park in Europe and the largest theme park in Germany. It is about halfway between Freiburg, Germany and Strasbourg, France. The park has different themed sections. Some are countries or regions, such as Greece, Russia, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Scandinavia, Iceland, Netherlands, Italy, and Portugal. Other themes include Grimm's Enchanted Forest, Minimoys Kingdom, Adventureland, and Children's World. The park has rides and attractions for all ages. There are roller coasters and water rides, boat rides and rafting, merry-go-rounds and playgrounds, and much more to keep you and your family entertained.
The park also has a cinema, a Mercedes-Benz Hall, an interactive fairy tale gallery, and a lookout tower. The park hosts live shows and other events through the year. There are several restaurants and cafes offering a wide variety of food.
Germany’s oldest casino opened for business in 1855 after a visiting Parisian brought up the idea of opening gaming rooms in the Black Forest spa town to add some spice to the evening entertainment options. While gambling became popular in the town during the early decades of the nineteenth century, it wasn’t until 1855 that Casino Baden-Baden came to be, and it still showcases the same glitz and glamour of the Second Empire. Parisian designers fashioned the casino with crystal chandeliers, ornate frescoes and rich tapestries reminiscent of Fontainebleau or Versailles in France. While gambling remains a popular diversion, visitors can also take guided tours of the historic casino and hear tales of its storied past and famous patrons.
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