Heidelberg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As of 2006, over 140,000 people live within the city's 109 square kilometres (42 sq mi) area. The town of Heidelberg is an administrative district of its own. Although not being part of it, the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis, the rural district, which surrounds the town, has its seat in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg lies on the river Neckar at the point where it leaves its narrow, steep valley in the Odenwald to flow into the Rhine valley where, 20 kilometres (12 mi) Northwest of Heidelberg, it joins the river Rhine at Mannheim. Heidelberg is part of a densely populated region known as the Rhein-Neckar-Triangle.

Approximately 1,000,000 years ago, the "Heidelberg Man", whose jaw-bone was discovered in 1907, the earliest evidence of human life in Europe, died at nearby Mauer.

In the 5th century BC there was a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of worship on the Heiligenberg, or "Mountain of Saints". Both places can still be identified.

In 40 AD a fort was built and occupied by the 24th Roman cohort and the 2nd Cyrenaican cohort (CCG XXIIII and CCH II CYR). The Romans built and maintained castra (permanent camps) and a signalling tower on the bank of the Neckar and built a bridge with wooden top on stone pillars across the river Neckar. The first civilian settlements would develop under the protection of the camp. The Romans remained until 260 AD, when the camp was conquered by German tribes.

Modern Heidelberg can trace its beginnings to the 5th century when the village Bergheim ("Mountain Home") is first mentioned in documents dated to 769 AD. Bergheim now lies in the middle of modern Heidelberg.

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