Main Street (Heidelberg)

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Main road
coat of arms
Street in Heidelberg
Main road
The main street just after Bismarckplatz
Basic data
place Heidelberg
District Old town
Created around 1220
Newly designed 1978
Hist. Names Obere Strasse, Speyerer Strasse
Name received 1689
Places Anatomy garden, Universitätsplatz , Marktplatz , Kornmarkt , Karlsplatz
Buildings Town hall , Heiliggeistkirche , Palais Morass , Providenzkirche
User groups pedestrian
Technical specifications
Street length 1.8 km

The main street is the central traffic axis in Heidelberg's old town , which it crosses in full length. Today it is a pedestrian zone and a popular shopping street. Numerous important buildings such as the town hall , the Heiliggeistkirche or the Providenzkirche are located on it .


The main street runs from Bismarckplatz to Karlstor with slight bends parallel to the Neckar  across the entire old town. It has a slight incline between Theaterstrasse and Universitätsplatz, which is caused by the alluvial cone of  the Klingenteichbach, which is now piped. It is around 1.8 km long. Numerous cross streets running in north-south direction (mostly known as "alleys") join the main street at right angles. There are five places in its course. While the market square was already laid out in this function, the Anatomiegarten, Universitätsplatz , Kornmarkt and Karlsplatz were only created later through the demolition of buildings.

The numbering begins at Bismarckplatz, with the odd house numbers on the left (north) and the even numbers on the right (south) side of the street. The highest given house number is 251. From 1856 to 1877 the main street was divided into a western and an eastern part with separate numbering.


The main street around 1890 with the tracks of the horse-drawn tram and the towers of the Providenzkirche and Heiliggeistkirche (back)
The main street near the market square, which is still used by car traffic, 1965
The slightly winding course of the main street through the old town
The main street between Neugasse and Akademiestraße
The main street with the Palais Morass
Palais Boisserée

Even before the city was founded around 1220, there was a traffic route at the site of today's main road, which served as the backbone when the city was built. In 1391 this street is called Obere Gasse , 1491 platea magna (Great Street) and 1508 Speierer Straße . It has been called Hauptstrasse since 1689. There were city gates at the east and west ends. In the east, in the area of ​​today's Plankengasse, stood the Upper Gate, which was replaced by the Karlstor in the 18th century. At the western end of the original old town, in the area of ​​today's Universitätsplatz, stood the Niedere Tor, also Speyerer Tor, later called Mitteltor , which was demolished in 1827. When the city was expanded in 1392, the moat was bridged and the main road was extended to the west. The Äussere Speyerer Tor was built on the new western border of the city, which was later replaced by the Mannheimer Tor in the area of ​​today's Bismarckplatz.

After the destruction of Heidelberg in the Palatinate War of Succession in 1693, the city was rebuilt in the baroque style, but on the old plan. The main street thus retained its original course and width.

The first Heidelberg horse-drawn tram line was opened in 1885 and ran from the train station (at today's Adenauerplatz) through the main street to Karlstor. A second horse had to be harnessed for the slight incline between Theaterstrasse and Universitätsplatz (then Ludwigsplatz). In 1902 the horse-drawn tram was replaced by an electric tram line.

Under Mayor Reinhold Zundel , the main road was redesigned and traffic calmed. In 1969 it was closed to through traffic, from November 6, 1971 the western part to Universitätsplatz was open to all traffic on weekends, on July 15, 1972 the section from Uniplatz to Heiliggeistkirche became a one-way street and from January 1, 1974 also on weekends for the Traffic blocked. On July 2, 1975 and April 29, 1976, the municipal council decided to convert most of the streets in the old town into a pedestrian zone. In the same year tram traffic was stopped on July 4th, the tracks were covered with asphalt on September 20th, and the overhead contact line systems dismantled on January 7th, 1977. On September 30, 1978, after the redesign, the pedestrian zone was completed.


Until the closure for through traffic in 1969, the main road was an important traffic axis for motorized traffic and a double-track tram route. Since the end of the redesign in 1978, the entire main street, with the exception of the section between Kornmarkt and Karlstor, has been a pedestrian zone. It is by far the most important shopping street in Heidelberg and one of the most frequented in Germany (2013: 43rd place), with an average of 5618 people per hour from 2004–2013. In addition to the retail trade, there are numerous restaurants, some of them historical, as well as important facilities such as the town hall, the Palatinate Museum or parts of the university . The main street and especially the squares next to it are often used for events such as the Heidelberg autumn , the Christmas market or the Heidelberg half marathon  .

Significant buildings

No. 37: Odeon cinema No. 46: Banking house
No. 47-51: Friedrichsbau No. 52: House to the giant
No. 75: Perkeo Guest House Providence Church
No. 97: Palais Morass No. 110: Wormser Hof
No. 113: Badischer Hof No. 120: House Neukirch
No. 117: Caraway splitting No. 126: Residential and banking house
Holy Spirit Church No. 168: House Meder
No. 191-201: town hall No. 178: House to the knight
No. 207: Roßhirt house No. 190: Kurpfälzische Hofapotheke
No. 209: Palais Boisserée No. 198: Residential and commercial building
No. 213: Gasthaus Zum Seppl No. 234: House Buhl
No. 217: Gasthaus zum Roten Ochsen
No. 235: Weimar Palace


  • Melanie Mertens, State Office for the Preservation of Monuments (editor): Monument topography Federal Republic of Germany, cultural monuments in Baden-Württemberg, Vol. II.5.1, city district of Heidelberg. Thorbecke-Verlag, Ostfildern, 2013, pp. 231–291. ISBN 978-3-7995-0426-3

Web links

Commons : Main Street  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Online city map , City of Heidelberg
  2. ^ Heidelberg streets: names and numbering , Heidelberger Geschichtsverein
  3. a b Adolf von Oechelhäuser: The art monuments of the district of Heidelberg . JCB Mohr Publishing House, Tübingen 1913 ( digitized version )
  4. ^ The Theaterstrasse , Heidelberg History Association
  5. Timeline of Heidelberg history from 1965 , Heidelberger Geschichtsverein
  6. Micha Hörnle: The main road remains strong, but is losing visitors , Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung of July 30, 2013

Coordinates: 49 ° 24 ′ 41.8 "  N , 8 ° 42 ′ 19.8"  E