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Bridge Monkey

The Bridge Ape is a popular photo theme for visitors to Heidelberg. Already in the 15th century a bridge monkey is mentioned at the Old Bridge. The bronze sculpture that we find today was erected in 1979 by Professor Gernot Rumpf.

If the visitor strokes over the mirror, it brings prosperity. Whoever strokes over the outstretched fingers of the right hand comes back to Heidelberg. Stroking over the mice means many children.

Task: Four rivers

The Heidelberg Bridge Monkey dates back to the 15th century. It was a stone statue sitting in the tower of the Old Bridge, which was located opposite Heidelberg’s Old Town. The purpose of the tower was to instill fear and respect in anyone arriving in the town, while the monkey represented mockery. The statue was destroyed with the tower during the Nine Years‘ War.

Touching his bare backside, the monkey showed the Electoral Palatinate Greeting to passers-by. His backside was pointed towards the town of Mainz, which was situated opposite the river bank, and thus, the greeting was addressed to the Bishops of Mainz. The people of Heidelberg wanted to demonstrate that the Bishops in Mainz held no power over the Electors of the Palatinate.

A poem written by Martin Zeiller in the 17th century can still be seen beside today’s version of the monkey:

“Why are you staring at me?
Haven’t you seen the old monkey in Heidelberg?
Look around and you probably will see –
more monkeys like me!”

What do you think was the intention of the mirror in the monkey’s hand?

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