Please note: In connection with the coronavirus issue, the University of Heidelberg has closed the Studenkarzer as a precautionary measure until April 19, 2020.
The Studentenkarzer (students' prison) is located at the back of the Old University in Augustinergasse. From 1778 until 1914, students were imprisoned here for so called "Kavaliersdelikte" (meaning minor transgressions which were kind of fashionable among otherwise honorable gentlemen inscribed at the Heidelberg University, most of them being members of student fraternities).
Common offenses were disturbances of peace, especially after excessive drinking at night, insulting official authorities or playing jokes at them as well as participating in duels. During these years, the university administration was embodied with an autonomous jurisdiction and had the legal right to detain students. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, imprisonment would last from three days to four weeks. One was allowed, however, to attend lectures. After classes, the juvenile delinquents had to return to jail. Biding their time, many of the young prisoners "decorated" the walls with graffitis and paintings. Their "artwork" is still preserved and to be seen at the Studentenkarzer.