Situated in the southwestern part of Germany where the Rhine and the Neckar meet, Mannheim, like its sibling city Heidelberg – located upstream from Mannheim on the Neckar and a half hour away – is a university town. Only the University of Mannheim is housed in the 18th century Mannheim Palace, a massive baroque extravaganza that resembles Versailles more than any learning institution I’ve ever encountered. And even that pales in comparison to Heidelberg Castle, still partially in ruins since the Renaissance structure was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries. This quaint city’s imposing castle emerges from the forested Königstuhl hillside like a great stone beast, overlooking Old Town, which, unlike Mannheim, was mercifully spared from Allied bombs during WWII.
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