After Emperor Karl IV bestowed the status of imperial city upon it in 1371, Heilbronn flourished and eventually saw one of the Germany's earliest constructions of Renaissance architecture, the 64m (210-ft.) tower of St. Killian's Church. The old city was largely destroyed in World War II, but the church has been rebuilt in its original Gothic and High Renaissance style. Excellent original woodcarvings preserved during the war now adorn the elaborate choir and altar. The holy spring bubbles beneath the high altar.

Opposite the church is the reconstructed Rathaus, a combination of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. On its balcony is an astronomical clock dating to 1580. It was designed by the best-known horologist of the time, Isaak Habrecht, who created the famous clock inside the cathedral at Strasbourg, France.

Some 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of wooded parkland surround the city, accessible by footpaths and nature trails.

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