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.

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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 (17 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 (17 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 (17 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 (17 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 (18 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!
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Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

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