In the middle of Heidelberg and Mannheim is the ancient and utterly beautiful town of Ladenburg, another obligatory stop on the Bertha Benz Memorial Route. If anything, Ladenburg is an enterprising town.
In case you’re not familiar, Mrs. Benz rode through the Baden countryside in her husband’s patented prototype, Benz Patent-Motorwagen #3. Her husband, Dr. Karl Benz (is the name Benz ringing a bell to anyone?) is considered the inventor of the automobile.
Dr. Benz moved to Landenburg in 1906 and just like his cars, he knew a good thing when he saw it.
Long before automobiles, the Romans set up shops here. They had a weekly market, built a theater, and soaked in hot springs. They also put up a Jupitergigantensäule in the middle of town, just a good hundred years after the birth of this amazing town. The one there now with Athena, Juno, Mercury, and Hercules on the base is a reproduction. There is even a remainder of the Roman’s original military wall. Ambitious fellows they were!
Ladenburg also has a medieval Old Town area, with a Marienstatue on the Marktplatz, the old Martinstor (a gate in/out of the walled town), its Hexenturm (known as Witches Tower in English), and its Stadtmauer (part of a defense wall) — and all so graciously maintained you’ll think it was built just the other week.
There’s also the Sebastianskapelle, a local Protestant “Chapel,” and the Church of St. Gallus; with a crypt that goes all the way back to the 11th century, to visit. Plus, lots of timber framed houses scattered throughout the old part of town.
Wow, seems like a lot to see indeed; and the Ladenburg local history museum does its best to sum up a lot of its history.
For something a bit modern, check out the Auto Museum (seems fitting to have one here), or take a bicycle ride out on the Neckartal Cycle Track, that goes along the Neckar River.
Or, stick to the little streets and lanes of the old and new part of town like I personally enjoy doing whenever I’m here.
Oh, forget the bicycles and go rent a Benz, it’ll make Dr. Karl proud! ;-)
Here’s a Special Tip: After you’ve got your good fill of Ladenburg’s culture and history, go eat a delicious steak (served on a hot stone) in the restaurant Die Kartoffel (Kirchenstraße 3). It’s not only one of my top favorites but also frequently visited and enjoyed by countless US Americans and other international guests.