Monkey Business in Heidelberg

Brückenaffe – The Bridge Monkey of Heidelberg:

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Heidelberg Bridge Monkey © Travel Signposts

If, like many visitors to Heidelberg you love this medieval city and want to ensure that you return here again, head for the Brückenaffe, the Bridge Monkey of Heidelberg.

Located on the west end of the Bridge Gate, Heidelberg’s Bridge Monkey is a bronze sculpture by Professor Gernot Rumpf which was installed there in 1979.  The Heidelberg Monkey holds a mirror up to those who look at it. So what is this unusual sculpture doing by Heidelberg’s historic Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) and what is the significance of this monkey and its mirror?

According to one legend surrounding this curious statue,the Bridge Monkey is intended as a symbolic reminder to Heidelberg’s citizens that neither the city-dwellers nor the people who lived outside the city of Heidelberg were better than the other, and that they should look over their shoulder as they cross the bridge to remember this.

But just in case you think that this Heidelberg Monkey statue has been put there merely as a tourist attraction, there was a bridge monkey in Heidelberg going as far back as the 15th century. Old drawings of the town show it located next to the tower on the north end of the Old Bridge. Unfortunately, that bridge monkey disappeared during the Palatinian War of Succession between 1689-93.

The Heidelberg Bridge Monkey is now very popular with tourists, many seeking to rub off some good fortune from the monkey. It is believed that if you touch the fingers of the Bridge Monkey it would ensure your return to Heidelberg, touch the mirror for wealth and touching the mice will ensure fertility.

Well I gave the mice a miss and touched the monkey’s fingers to ensure my return to Heidelberg and touched the mirror to ensure that I will have the money to return to Heidelberg again before too long.

A silly thing to do while you’re there is to insert your head into the monkey frame for a souvenir shot of yourself.

How about you, what do you think?

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  1. [...] Bridge Monkey (Brückenaffe) A popular stop near the bridge is a sculpture on the right side of the bridge towers, a remake of the first famous Heidelberg Bridge Monkey. The modern sculpture of the bridge monkey relates to an ancient relief on the bridge showing a monkey with a mirror which, according to legend, symbolizes the fact that neither the city-dwellers nor the people who lived outside the city were better than the other, and that they should look over their shoulder as they cross the bridge to remember this. [...]

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