Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin and one of the the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The rich and eventful history of Heidelberg Palace began when the counts palatine of the Rhine, – later prince electors – established their residence at Heidelberg. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.

The 19th century brought a new wave of admiration: a sight both terrible and beautiful, the ruins epitomised the spirit of the Romantic movement. Heidelberg Palace was elevated to a national monument. The imposing edifice and its famous garden, the Hortus Palatinus, became shrouded in myth. The garden, the last work commissioned by the prince electors, was never completed. Some remaining landscaped terraces and other vestiges hint at the awe-inspiring scale of this ambitious project. In the 17th century, it was celebrated as the “eighth wonder of the world”. While time has taken its toll, Heidelberg Palace’s fame lives on to this day.

Heidelberg Castle is located 80 metres up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nadine O'Donncha (7 months ago)
Beautiful castle on a hill just beside Heidelberg. From the old town of Heidelberg you can reach the castle by climbing the stairs, following a road by car or take a train/bus that brings you up there. Amazing view over the river and the town. You can take a tour through the castle rooms, there is a pharmacy museum which is very interesting. In summer the small café within the castle yard you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer, they also serve warm food. Absolutely a must see place when you are in Heidelberg. You can spend an 2 and more in there.
James Hollingsworth (7 months ago)
Amazing views of the city, lots of architecture to take pictures of from various timeframes. I recommend you park at the lift and just walk up. The lift was closed when we stopped by today.
Jacq van de Putte-Hage (7 months ago)
It's impressive and beautiful, parts are ruined because of old wars and because it's old, but that makes you feel the history. I also did the (paid) tour and found that very interesting. There are rooms with old furniture, impressive ceilings and woodwork, art, etc. The tour was in German, I think it's also available in English. I still have to work on all the photos I made and will post them later on. I walked up and down to the castle, which was quite a climb, but it's possible to buy bus tickets. The view over the surrounding area is beautiful, because it's quite high. It's nice to walk around the gardens, even though it was freezing cold and wet when i was there. I went there on a Monday morning, not during a holiday period, so it was really quiet. That was great, I was able to make a lot of photos, without being bothered by other visitors. It's probably quite crowded during holidays. There is a cafeteria and a souvenir shop as well. In my opinion it's worth the visit, especially if you like castles and are interested in castles.
Kerri Watkins (7 months ago)
We've been here several times. It never disappoints! The visitor center's staff is helpful and friendly. The bathrooms are clean and easily accessible. The views from the castle are spectacular! The signs inside the castle, museum area and the grounds are in English and German.
Amanda Healy (8 months ago)
Just beautiful - we visited on a light snow day so was extra magical. Parking not too bad €8 entry fee. Loved the beer hall, and the beer pretty good too. The view over the town and surrounding county is gorgeous on a clear day. Loved it!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.