Sunday, August 16, 2015

Heidelberg Castle & Courtyard

Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg)

Each year, Heidelberg Palace attracts around a million visitors from all over the world. Since the early 19th century, these impressive ruins have been synonymous with Romanticism.

Our ship docked in Mannheim, Germany to allow passengers to disembark for excursions.

click images to enlarge

City Tour + Castle Ruins

Our morning excursion took us to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386.   Here we visited the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.

Elisabeth's Gate

The triumphal arch known as Elisabeth's Gate, is located near the entrance. Tradition says the gate was built in a single night by Prince Elector Friedrich V in 1615 as a birthday present for his English princess, Elisabeth Stuart.

The charming little gate was severely weather warn and was partly restored in 1949. The unique pillars are noteworthy with their leaf work and artistic flowered capitols.

Ottheinrich Building
The Ottheinrich Building in Heidelberg Palace counts as one of the most beautiful and earliest
palace buildings of the German Renaissance.

David, Hercules and Samson on the show façade of the Ottheinrich Building.

Ottheinrich Building

Figures on the Friedrich Building 

The ancestors of the palatine prince electors look down from the façade of Friedrichsbau. 

The façade of the Friedrich Building commands attention from the moment you enter the palace courtyard. It is richly decorated with figures. Commissioner of buildings Friedrich IV displays the perfect gallery of portraits from the royal line here and demonstrates his claim to power for all his contemporaries. Sculptor Sebastian Götz from Chur and master builder Johannes Schoch created the fantastic series of figures on the Friedrich Building in three to four years at the beginning of the 17th century.  More information about figures...

The Fassbau (Barrel Building)

We also saw the famed  Heidelberg Tun, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds about 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! 

After visiting the wine barrel, we next spent some time on the Great Terrace.   We didn't have time to visit the interiors of any buildings or the gardens, so that will have to remain for a future visit.

Just as breath-taking as the castle is from the city, so too is the city from the castle. From either the Great Terrace or the gardens, one has an amazing view of Heidelberg, the Neckar River, and the Neckar valley far into the Rhine plain. On a clear day, Mannheim is even visible on the horizon.

The view from there was spectacular, so we'll cover that in a separate post.

Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

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