Heidelberg's main square, with the Rathaus (town hall) on one side and the Heiliggeistkirche on the other, has been its focal point since the Middle Ages. Public courts of justice were held here in earlier centuries, and people accused of witchcraft and heresy were burned at the stake. The baroque fountain in the middle, the Herkulesbrunnen (Hercules Fountain), is the work of 18th-century artist H. Charrasky. Until 1740 a rotating, hanging cage stood next to it.
For minor crimes, people were imprisoned in it and exposed to the abuse of their fellow citizens. Today the Marktplatz hosts outdoor markets every Wednesday and Saturday.