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Sipping Wine on the Neckar

© By Adam Southwood
  Town Hall Heilbronn is a Baden-Württemberg river port located on the Neckar River, only 47 km (29 m) north of Stuttgart, and a major economic centre of the Heilbronn-Franken region. The old town on the right bank of the river was almost completely demolished during World War II, but some buildings have been restored, particularly the Renaissance Rathaus or Town Hall and the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, originally the church of the Teutonic Knights. Next to each are cobblestoned squares outfitted with cafes. Well known for its wine industry, Heilbronn's population of 130,000 fills both banks of the Neckar River.
     Since 1951, the US military has been stationed in Heilbronn. NATO commitments caused the area to house nuclear intermediate-range missiles, but after an accident that resulted in front-page headlines worldwide, the missiles were quickly removed.
     Rebuilt after World War II as a centre for electrical and mechanical engineering, with the opening of the Autobahn to Mannheim in 1968, many large businesses chose to move their operations to Heilbronn. During the 1970s, the centre of the city was transformed for its citizenry into a pedestrian zone for easy walking and recreational strolling.

Christmas Market  Farmers Market  The Neckar River  Old Post Office and Tram 

     Heilbronn's coat of arms features a black eagle with red tongue and claws on golden background. The eagle is protected by a red, silver and blue shield. The city flag is red, white and blue. Heilbronn trades extensively in wine with viticulture celebrating a long tradition accompanied with festivals that celebrate the grape. In addition to a cooperative, numerous independent vintners thrive here.
     South of the steam power plant is a salt mine. In the industrial area, the large power plant is powered with coal with two chimneys 250 m high and a cooling tower 140 m high visible from afar. Readily accessible by car, the city once used electrically powered trolley buses until 1960, but today, public transportation is provided by the S-Bahn that runs through Heilbronn as well as buses.

River Festival  Altar at St. Kilians  St. Kilians Church and Fountain  Theatres 

     Wide paths and parks line the Neckar River where one may walk, cycle or rollerblade for miles and during the summer season, cruises operate up and down the Neckar from Heilbronn, visiting medieval villages such as Bad Wimpfen.
     In the rolling hills, vineyards produce first-rate wine, and one may visit several to sip wine and eat a home-style meal. Watch for a sign that reads Besen which indicates that food is available. In September, try to experience Weindorf or the Wine Village when the central town squares are transformed into stalls that represent all of the local vineyards, accompanied with delightful tastings and hot snacks. Sipping wine along the Neckar; now that's a worthy ambition.

Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of both McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history. He has produced several educational programs for TV.

Towers  Town Hall, Astronomical Clock  Unterland Fun Fair  Wine Vila  Wine Village 

Photo Credits
Baden-Wurttemberg Tourism

If you go
Heilbronn, Germany
as seen on
Baden-Wurttemberg Tourism: http://www.baden-baden.de/en/tourism/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heilbronn,_Germany

What's happening, money, distance, time?
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Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
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