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Tübingen is situated at an altitude of 337 m on the slopes of the river Neckar valley in the heart of Germany's state of Baden-Württemberg. The castle Twingia was first mentioned in a document in 1078. The founders of the castle called themselves alter this castle and obtained the rank of count palatines in the mid 12th century. Around 1231 Tübingen was first mentioned as a civitas, a town. During the early 14th century the power of the counts of Tübingen declined, and in 1342 they were forced to sell the town to the counts of Württemberg. For centuries Tübingen remained the second-largest city in Württemberg (after Stuttgart) and after the foundation of the Duchy of Württemberg it became its second residence town. Duke Ulrich of Württemberg granted the town important privileges in 1514.
Perhaps the most important event in Tübingen's history was the foundation in 1477 of the university by Duke Eberhard im Bart. The university soon became renowned throughout the German countries. Between 1520 and 1534 the Duchy of Württemberg was ruled by Austria. After his return in 1534 Duke Ulrich introduced the Reformation in his country. The intellectual importance was further enhanced by the foundation of the Protestant School in 1536 and of the Collegium Illustre in 1594. The most famous pupils of the Protestant School were the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the poet Friedrich Hölderlin, and the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, who attende the school between 1877 and 1795. The Collegium Illustre remained a most important cente of education of the Protestant nobility of Europe until its temoprary closure in 1628. The Thirty Years' War (16181848) was a time of extreme hardship for the town. After the war the university was reduced to a mediocre academy and after the foundation of the "Hohe Karlsschule" (Charles Academy) in Stuttgart and its elevation to a university in 1781, the university of Tübingen was in danger of being closed altogether. This was prevented only because the university at Stuttgart was closed in 1794 after the death of Duke Karl Eugen.
During the 19th century new faculties were added to the university: Germany's first faculty of political sciences was founded in 1817, Germany's first science faculty followed in 1863. At the turn of the 18th to the 19th century Tübingen again became a highly influencial centre of intellectual life, called "Sedes Musorum" and "Neckar Athens". The poets and writers Ludwig Uhland, Wilhelm Hauff, Gustav Schwab, Justinus Kerner and Eduard Mörike became famous far beyond Württemberg. Although Tübingen was connected to the railroad system in 1861 it only grew moderately because no major industries moved in. After World War II, Tübingen became the capital of the state of Württemberg-Hohenzollern until the foundation of Baden-Württemberg in 1952. There is a well-known saying about the town: "Tübingen does not have a university, it is a university". At a population of 84,000 (1992) there are about 26,000 students in Tübingen.
The castle Hohentübingen [top left] was first mentioned in 1078 as "castrum Alemannorum, quod Twingia vocatur".
Most parts of the castle as we see it today were built in the 16th century. Today the castle is home of departments of cultural history of the university.
Their collections are open to the public.