A Temporary Home
The University Square becomes the centre of the Festival Campus
Places tell stories. Great big stories, trivial stories, stories banal, extraordinary, interpersonal, political. The history of a city – and indeed of a nation – is the sum of the stories its places have to tell.
Heidelberg is no exception. University Square can look back on a long tradition. It began before there was a square here at all. In the mid-13th century it was the site of an Augustinian monastery, which became famous because Martin Luther came there in 1518, preparing to defend his theses in the famous Heidelberg disputation. Then the monastery was razed to the ground in the hostilities of 1693. In the mid-18th century, elector Karl Theodor turned the square into a military parade ground, hence its new name Paradeplatz. In 1830 it was renamed Ludwigsplatz in honour of the grand duke of Baden, as of 1928 it turned into University Square but only until 1937, when it was renamed Langemarck Square to commemorate the (in)famous Battle of Langemarck in 1914. Then back to University Square in 1945. At one point it boasted a monument to Kaiser Wilhelm I, on 17 May 1933 it was the scene of a book-burning orgy by the National Socialists. That is the religious and political history of the square.