Heidelberg University is Germany’s oldest university. It was founded in 1386 and now has 12 faculties. According to the QS World University ranking 2013, it is the best university in Germany and number 50 in the world. Every year it provides a large influx of young people, who shape the town and its culture significantly.

The university is famous for the Bibliotheca Palatina, also known as the “mother of all libraries”. It is the most important collection of mediaeval writings and early prints. In 1623 most of the collection went to Rome. The German manuscripts returned in the 19th century and have since been kept in the Heidelberg University Library.

A tour of the University Museum and the Alte Aula (Old Auditorium) in the Baroque building of the old university, is highly recommended. The Studentenkarzer (Student Lock-Up), which from 1545 served as the university’s private student prison, is located in the adjoining building. After changing location, the cells in the building on the Augustinergasse were established in 1823 and used until 1914. Many student inmates are immortalised in their artwork on the walls of the lock-up.