About Heidelberg and the Institute for Ancient Studies

Heidelberg is a small city of 140,000 inhabitants situated near Mannheim, in Baden-Würtemberg. It is set in the narrow Neckar valley between the steep hills of the Odenwald forest. The city’s well preserved medieval and early modern architecture, as well as its scenic castle, have made it one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions. A fortified Celtic settlement has been found in a hill above the modern city, and dates as far back as the fifth century B.C. The first Roman fort was built in Heidelberg in A.D. 80, to protect the bridge spanning the Neckar river. A settlement quickly developped around the fort, and has left archaeologists the remains of Roman houses, kilns, a very large cemetery, and two temples to the god Mithras. The site was abandoned by in 260, when German tribes ravished Roman territory on the west side of the border. Heidelberg was in every sense a frontier town of the Roman world.

Officially opened 1386, the Ruprecht-Karls Universität in Heidelberg is Germany’s oldest institute of learning. Notable scholars and students at Heidelberg include philosopher Georg Hegel, sociologist Max Weber, chemist Robert Bunsen (of Bunsen Burner fame), poet and novelist Josef Freiher von Eichendorf and Karl Drais, the inventor of the bicycle. The humanities and social sciences are situated in the city’s old centre.

The university’s Centre for Ancient Studies, is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, employing internationally renowned experts in Classical Archaeology, Ancient History, Pre-History, Egyptology, Papyrology, Near Eastern Studies. About ** students are enrolled. The entire institute is conveniently located in a single building in middle of the city’s old centre. It is surrounded by the ruins of the 16th century ‘Marstall’, the fortified arsenal and stable of Heidelberg’s castle.

Gallery (click for full size view):


Catholic Jesuitenkirche

View from the castle above

The "bridge monkey"


Painted by Carl Blechen (1830)

Print Media Academy

former royal farmacy

View from the philosophers path

Old bridge gate