The Old Bridge, actually Karl-Theodor-Bridge, is a arch bridge with a length of 200 meters and with a width of 7 meters. In Heidelberg it bridges the river Neckar and connects the Old City with the end of the Heidelberg quarter Neuenheim. The Old Bridge was built in 1788 during the reign of the prince Karl Theodor. At the place where today stands the Old Bridge there have been standing 8 other bridges before. Therefore the Old Bridge is the 9th bridge at that place and is one of the Heidelberg’s famous landmarks.
The Karl – Theodor – Bridge has gotten the byname “Old Bridge” in 1877 when a second bridge was built in Heidelberg over the Neckar River. The second bridge got the name “Theodor – Heuss – Bridge”. In deed you can say that the Old Bridge is relatively young although its bridge portal at the south end has existed since the Middle Ages and it stands on the foundation of the previous 8 bridges.
Every now and then the Old Bridge is mentioned in the history books as a place of war. So e.g. the French tried to conquer Heidelberg while the coalition wars, after the French Revolution, by marching in over the Old Bridge. However, they failed.
Near to the end of the World War II the Old Bridge was partly destroyed. That was a part of a strategy. The German armed forces bust the 5th and 6th bridge piles so they could avoid the marching in of the American military. Unfortunately that method turned out to be useless because the American powers invaded nevertheless. After the Worls War II, in 1947, they have constructed anew the bridge.
The Old Bridge was reconstructed between the end of the 60ies and the beginning of the 70ies of the 20th century. The aim of the reconstruction was modernization and adapting to the new infrastructure. Today the Old Bridge can be used by vehicles from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. . In the remaining time it is to use only by walkers. Besides after the rebuild it is not exposed to danger of flood anymore.