Heidelberger Castle

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Heidelberger Castle
Castle, old town and old bridge
Heidelberg Castle, aerial view from the southwest
View of the castle
View of the castle, town hall and Neckar
Heidelberg 1670, by Gerrit Berckheyde
Castle, 1815, by Carl Philipp Fohr
Castle courtyard facing northeast, around 1920, by Wilhelm Sauter

The Heidelberg Castle is one of the most famous ruins in Germany and landmark of the city of Heidelberg . Until it was destroyed in the War of the Palatinate Succession , it was the residence of the Electors of the Palatinate . Since the destruction by the soldiers of Louis XIV in 1689 and the demolition by French pioneers on September 6, 1693, the Heidelberg Castle has only been partially restored. After lightning bolts set the partially renovated complex on fire on June 24, 1764, restoration was abandoned. The castle ruins made of red sandstone from the Neckar valleyrises 80 meters above the valley floor on the north slope of the Königstuhl and from there dominates the image of the old town . The Ottheinrichsbau , one of the palace buildings, is one of the most important structures of German Mannerism . In the cultural-historical epoch of Romanticism , the castle ruins were stylized as the epitome of a bygone and admirable epoch. Today it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe.


Until the destruction

First mentions

First representation of the castle by Sebastian Münster

Around the year 1182, Konrad der Staufer , half-brother of Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa and since 1156 Count Palatine of the Rhine , moved his court from Stahleck Castle near Bacharach on the Middle Rhine to Heidelberg Castle.

The city of Heidelberg is mentioned for the first time in a document in 1196. A castle in Heidelberg (" castrum in Heidelberg cum burgo ipsius castri ") is mentioned in 1225, when Ludwig I received this castle from Bishop Heinrich von Worms as a fief . In 1214, the dukes of Bavaria from the House of Wittelsbach were enfeoffed with the Palatinate.

From a castle most recently in 1294 the speech. In a document from 1303, two castles are listed for the first time : the upper castle on the Kleiner Gaisberg near the current Molkenkur and the lower castle on the Jettenbühl. For a long time, the opinion prevailed in research that the foundation of the lower castle must have been built between 1294 and 1303, especially since the building survey meticulously carried out by the castle construction office in the second half of the 19th century concluded that the building fabric was not dated of the castle before the 15th century. On the basis of architectural discoveries and recent building archaeological investigations, however, in recent research on Heidelberg Castle, the development of the lower castle is now dated to the first half of the 13th century. As early as 1897 a bricked up late Romanesque window was discovered in the partition between the Gläsernem Saalbau and Friedrichsbau. In 1976, excavation work on the northeast corner of the Ruprecht building uncovered a window fragment in the form of a clover leaf arch in a layer of rubble and demolition deposited around 1400, as can be found in a similar form in the arcade windows of Wildenberg Castle . An archaeological investigation carried out in 1999 in the area of ​​the Ludwigsbau condensed the evidence of building development on the palace area in the first half of the 13th century.

Castle in the Thesaurus Picturarum
Castle and town by Matthäus Merian , (detail)

The oldest works that mention Heidelberg Castle are:

All of these works are mostly superficial and contain nothing serious. The situation is different with Merian's Topographia Palatinatus Rheni from 1615, in which Elector Ludwig V is named as the one who “started building a new castle a hundred and several years ago”. Most descriptions of the castle up to the 18th century are based on Merian's information. The endeavor to move the founding time of the palace backwards later leads to indications that the famous court chapel on the Jettenbühl was built under Ruprecht I.

Royal Castle and Papal Prison

As Ruprecht III. became German King (Ruprecht I) in 1401, there was such a lack of space in the castle that when he returned from the coronation he had to set up his court camp in the Augustinian monastery (today: Universitätsplatz). The task now was to create space for representation and accommodation for the civil servants and the court. At the same time, the castle had to be expanded into a fortress .

After Ruprecht's death in 1410, the domain was divided between his four sons. The Palatinate ancestral lands went to the eldest son Ludwig III. After the Council of Constance , he brought the deposed Pope John XXIII as deputy of the emperor and supreme judge in 1415 on behalf of King Sigismund . in custody at the castle before he was brought to Eichelsheim Castle (now Mannheim-Lindenhof ).

The French poet Victor Hugo visited Heidelberg in 1838 and particularly enjoyed strolling around the ruins of the castle, the history of which he sums up in a letter:

“Let me just talk about his castle. (This is absolutely essential, and actually I should have started with it). What hasn't it been through! For five hundred years it suffered the repercussions of everything that rocked Europe, and in the end it collapsed under it. This is because this Heidelberg castle, the residence of the Count Palatine, who had only kings, emperors and popes over him and was too important to bend over under their feet, but could not lift his head without clashing with them that's because, I think, that the Heidelberg Castle has always taken some kind of opposition to the powerful. As early as 1300, when it was founded, it begins with a thebais ; in Count Rudolf and Emperor Ludwig, these two degenerate brothers, it has its Eteocles and its Polynices . In this the elector gains power. In 1400, Ruprecht II from the Palatinate, supported by three Rhenish electors, deposed Emperor Wenceslas and took his place; One hundred and twenty years later, in 1519, Count Palatine Friedrich II was supposed to make the young King Charles I of Spain Emperor Charles V. "

- Victor Hugo : Heidelberg

Badisch-Palatinate War

In the Baden-Palatinate War in 1462, Elector Friedrich I of the Palatinate (the " Palatinate Fritz ") arrested Margrave Karl I of Baden , Bishop Georg von Metz and Count Ulrich V von Württemberg at the castle. Friedrich had the prisoners chained on hard fare until they were ready to make the ransom payments required.

Margrave Karl I had to pay 25,000 guilders to be released, surrender his share in the County of Sponheim as a pledge and declare Pforzheim a Palatinate fief . The Metz bishop had to pay 45,000 guilders. The most important thing, however, was that Friedrich I of the Palatinate had secured his claim as elector .

The legend reports that Friedrich made his involuntary guests understand the lack of bread at meal by allowing them to look down on the devastated land through the window. This is retold in a poem by Gustav Schwab entitled "The meal in Heidelberg".

Wikisource: Das Mahl zu Heidelberg  - Sources and full texts

Reformation and Thirty Years War

Fortification plan from 1622

During the reign of Ludwig V , Martin Luther , who had come to Heidelberg to defend his theses ( Heidelberg Disputation ), visited the castle. He was shown around by Count Palatine Wolfgang, the brother of Ludwig V, and later, in a letter to his friend Georg Spalatin on May 18, 1518, he praised the beauty and military equipment of the castle.

During the Thirty Years' War , bullets were fired against Heidelberg Castle for the first time. This is where the actual history of the palace construction ends. The following centuries brought mainly destruction and restoration.

Despite many reservations, Frederick V of the Palatinate accepted the royal dignity of Bohemia and thus triggered a catastrophe. After the Battle of the White Mountains he was on the run as an outlaw and had prematurely dismissed his troops, so that General Tilly , the commander in chief of the Catholic League troops in the service of the Elector of Bavaria, had an undefended Palatinate in front of him. On August 26, 1622 he opened the bombardment of Heidelberg and took the city on September 16 and the castle a few days later. After the Swedes took the city of Heidelberg on May 5, 1633 and opened fire on the castle from the Königstuhl , the imperial commander handed the fortress over to the Swedes on May 26, 1633. After the heavy defeat of the Swedes in the Battle of Nördlingen in September 1634, the emperor's troops occupied the city again. With the intention of blowing up the castle, 24 tons of powder were deposited in tunnels under the walls of the castle within 14 days. The unexpected appearance of a French army with 30,000 men prevented the planned demolition. Only in July 1635 did the city again come under the control of the imperial troops, in which it then remained until the conclusion of peace. Only on October 7, 1649 did the new ruler move back into his family's destroyed master palace.

In the Palatinate War of Succession

Depiction of the destruction, 1693

After the death of the childless Elector Charles II , the last prince of the Palatinate-Simmern line, the French King Louis XIV demanded the handover of the Palatine allodial property in the name of the Duchess of Orléans . On September 29, 1688, the French armies moved into the Palatinate in the War of the Palatinate Succession and on October 24 they moved into Heidelberg, which had been left by Philipp Wilhelm , the new elector from the Palatinate-Neuburg line .

Against the allied European powers, the French council of war decided to deprive the enemy of the possibility of attack from this area by destroying all fortifications and devastating the Palatinate country. When the French left the city on March 2, 1689, the castle and the city were set on fire in many corners at the same time.

Immediately after moving into the devastated city, Johann Wilhelm had the walls and towers restored. When the French reached the gates of Heidelberg again in 1691 and 1692, they found the city in such a good state of defense that they had to leave without having achieved anything. On May 18, 1693, however, the French stood in front of the city again and took it on May 22. They probably tried to create the main base of operations against the castle with the destruction of the city. The following day the castle crew capitulated, and now the French caught up with what they had only incompletely carried out in 1689 in the hurry to leave: They now blew up the towers and walls that had escaped destruction the last time through mines. The Heidelberg Castle became a ruin.

Relocation of the residence to Mannheim

Bell tower of Heidelberg Castle with the Church of the
Holy Spirit on a painting by Jacques Fouquières (1618). At that time the church was still crowned with a Gothic pointed helmet.

The Peace of Rijswijk , which ended the War of the Palatinate Succession, finally brought some peace in 1697. It was planned to demolish the castle and use the usable parts to build a new palace in the valley. However, when difficulties arose in the implementation of this plan, the castle was poorly restored. At the same time, Karl Philipp was considering a complete reconstruction of the palace, but the lack of financial means put off this project, and when the Elector got into a dispute with the Protestants of the city in 1720 about the transfer of the Church of the Holy Spirit to the Catholics Residency in Mannheim resulted in the elector's interest in Heidelberg Castle. His intention was to rededicate the Church of the Holy Spirit to the Catholic Court Church, which the Heidelberg Reformed tried to prevent by all means. When he announced the relocation of his residence with all the authorities to Mannheim on April 12, 1720, the elector left the old capital to its fate and wished it that “grass should grow on its streets”. The religious conflict was probably only the last impetus to give up the old mountain castle, which was difficult to convert into a baroque complex, and to move to the plains, where he could re-establish a new one entirely at his will.

His successor Karl Theodor temporarily planned to move his residence back to Heidelberg Castle. However, he refrained from doing so when on June 24, 1764 lightning struck the hall building twice in a row and the castle burned again. Victor Hugo later thought this was a sign from heaven:

“You could even say that heaven interfered. On June 23, 1764, the day before Karl-Theodor was to move into the castle and make it his residence (which, by the way, would have been a great misfortune; because if Karl-Theodor had spent his thirty years there, it would have been severe ruin, which we admire today, surely provided with a terrible pompadour ornament), so on the previous day, when the prince's furniture was already in front of the door in the Heiliggeistkirche, the fire of heaven hit the octagonal tower and set it the roof on fire and destroyed this five hundred year old castle in a few hours. "

- Victor Hugo : Heidelberg.

In the following decades, necessary renovations were made, but from now on the Heidelberg Castle remained mainly a ruin.

Since the destruction

Slow decay and romantic enthusiasm

Romantic illustration by William Turner

In 1777, Elector Karl Theodor moved his residence from Mannheim to Munich. With that he lost sight of Heidelberg Castle even more. The covered rooms were now used by craft businesses. As early as 1767, the ashlars of the south wall were used as building material for Schwetzingen Castle . In 1784 the vaults on the ground floor of the Ottheinrichsbaus were laid and the castle was used as a quarry.

With the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 Heidelberg and Mannheim went to Baden . Grand Duke Karl Friedrich welcomed the large area increase, but he regarded Heidelberg Castle as an undesirable addition. The buildings fell into disrepair, Heidelberg citizens took stones, wood and iron from the castle to build their houses. Figures and decorations were also chopped off. In 1803 August von Kotzebue expressed outrage at the Baden government's intention to have the ruins removed. At the beginning of the 19th century, the destroyed castle became a symbol of the patriotic sentiment that was directed against Napoleonic oppression.

Even before 1800, painters and draftsmen recognized the castle ruins and the mountainous river landscape as an ideal ensemble. The highlight are the paintings by the Englishman William Turner , who stayed in Heidelberg several times between 1817 and 1844 and made several paintings of Heidelberg and the castle. For him and other artists of the Romantic era , it was not about a detailed building survey. They tended to be fairly free to deal with reality. In his painting of the castle, for example, the terrain is depicted at multiple elevations .

The term romanticism was declared a universal poetry by the philosopher Friedrich Schlegel at the end of the 18th century - a literary theoretical term from early romanticism . In it all arts and genres would merge into one form. However, in the general understanding this turned into a transfigured sentimental feeling of longing. This feeling was particularly expressed in the so-called Heidelberg Romanticism . For example in the song collections of the authors Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano , who often stayed in Heidelberg. Landscape painters made the remains of the castle the central motif of their paintings, in which the gracefulness of the surrounding landscape was often contrasted with the solemn and gloomy of the ruins. Clemens Brentano wrote:

"And as I turned the corner, - a cool breeze drew towards me - The Neckar rushes out of green halls - And gives a joyful sound on the rock, - The city stretches down the river, - With a lot of noise and noise very lively, - And over it on green mountain chest, - The castle rests big and sees the pleasure. "

- Clemens Brentano : Song of a student's arrival in Heidelberg and his dream on the bridge, in which a nice dialogue between Frau Pallas and Karl Theodor.

The poetics-based concepts of Romanticism were developed in discussions between Achim and Jacob Grimm about the relationship between natural and art poetry. Turning away from the elements of reflection, criticism and rhetoric in art poetry, the “Heidelberg Romanticism” deals with natural poetry. In the course of the 19th century, Heidelberg, with its castle and local nature, became increasingly known and popular with travelers and hikers. The town and castle became the epitome of romantic atmosphere.

The savior of the castle was the French Count Charles de Graimberg . He fought against plans of the Baden government, for which the Heidelberg Castle was the " old walls with its diverse, tasteless, ruinous decorations ", for the preservation of the castle ruins. He held the post of voluntary castle guard until 1822 and lived for a while in the front building of the glass hall building, from which he could best overlook the castle courtyard. Long before there was a preservation of monuments in Germany , he was the first to take care of the preservation and documentation of the castle, when no one thought of stopping the decay during the romantic craze. On behalf of Graimberg, Thomas A. Leger wrote the first castle guide. With his high-volume prints, Graimberg helped the castle ruins to become well-known that drew tourism to Heidelberg.

Inventory and restoration - the Heidelberg castle dispute

Inventory by Julius Koch and Fritz Seitz

The question of whether the castle should be completely restored led to long discussions. In 1868, the poet Wolfgang Müller von Königswinter campaigned for a complete renewal and thus provoked violent reactions that were carried out in the press and in meetings. From the dispute about the correct handling of the castle ruins, a fundamental discussion about the tasks of monument preservation developed. The results of this debate, which went down in history as the “Heidelberg Castle Dispute”, had a lasting impact on the principles of the preservation of historical buildings.

The grand ducal government of Baden established a palace construction office in 1883, which was managed by the district building inspector Julius Koch and the architect Fritz Seitz under the supervision of the building director Josef Durm in Karlsruhe . The task of the office was to take the most precise inventory possible and at the same time to propose measures to maintain or repair the main building. The work of this office ended in 1890 and formed the basis for a commission of experts from all over Germany. The commission came to the unanimous conviction that a complete or partial restoration of the castle was out of the question, but that preservation of the current condition should be strived for by all means. Only the Friedrichsbau, the interior of which had been destroyed by fire but was never in ruins, was to be restored. This restoration finally took place in the period from 1897 to 1900 by Carl Schäfer at the enormous cost of 520,000 marks. In 2019, the expense corresponds to € 3,600,000 adjusted for inflation .

Castle ruins and tourism

Detail from a general view by Theodor Verhas , 1856

The oldest description of Heidelberg from 1465 already mentions that the city is " much visited by strangers ". But real city tourism began at the beginning of the 19th century at the earliest. With his drawings, Count Graimberg ensured that the castle was widely used as an image motif. They practically became the forerunners of the postcard. At the same time, the castle was also a souvenir on cups. However, tourism did not get the decisive boost until Heidelberg was connected to the railway network in 1840.

Mark Twain described Heidelberg Castle as follows in his book Bummel durch Europa ( A Tramp Abroad ) in 1878 :

“To be effective, a ruin has to be in the right location. This one couldn't have been more conveniently located. It stands at a height that dominates the surroundings, it is hidden in green forests, there is no level ground around it, but on the contrary, wooded terraces, you can look through shiny leaves into deep crevices and abysses where twilight reigns and the sun does not can penetrate. Nature knows how to decorate a ruin in order to achieve the best effect. "

- Mark Twain : Stroll through Europe .
View of the castle from the south from the castle Wolfsbrunnenweg from

An arson attack carried out on May 18, 1978, which is attributed to the revolutionary cells , caused property damage of 97,000 DM to the castle.

In the 20th century, Americans fell even more deeply into the Heidelberg myth and carried it out into the world. So it happens that many other nationalities also count Heidelberg Castle among the few stopovers on their short trips through Europe.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Heidelberg has more than a million visitors and around 900,000 overnight stays every year. According to a survey by the Geographic Institute of Heidelberg University, the most important starting point is the castle with its viewing terraces.

Max Dudler's visitor center at Heidelberg Castle

The Heidelberg Castle is one of the state's own monuments and is looked after by the “ State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg ”. From the Baden-Württemberg state infrastructure program , 3 million euros were made available for the construction of a visitor center designed by Max Dudler . It opened in 2012.

According to the palace administration, the castle is also the largest bat winter quarters in North Baden. Because of the bluebat and the great mouse- eared bat that hibernated there , the part of the Christmas market taking place in the garden in front of the castle was relocated to Friedrich-Ebert-Platz in 2016.


The forecourt of the palace is roughly formed by the area between the main gate and the Oberes Fürstenbrunnen, the Elisabethentor to the piece garden, the bridge gate to the palace and the entrance to the gardens. Around 1800 the castle courtyard was used by the bailiff as a bleacher on which items of laundry were laid out. The forecourt was later auctioned off as a “grass and feeding place” for cattle. Chickens and geese also had free space here.

Main gate

The path to the former forecourt of the castle leads over a stone bridge over a partially filled ditch. The main gate was built in 1528, the guard house was destroyed in the Palatinate War of Succession and replaced by today's arched entrance gate in 1718. The gate to the left of the main entrance was closed by a drawbar that could be lowered for individual pedestrians.

Goethe memorial plaque

In 1961, a stone plaque was attached to a remnant of the wall of the bird house to replace an older plaque. The inscription with verses by Marianne von Willemers is intended to commemorate her last meeting with Johann Wolfgang Goethe at the end of September 1815. Of the nine stanzas that she wrote down here in the palace on August 28, 1824, Goethe's 75th birthday, three are reproduced:

On the high arched terrace there
was a time his coming and his going
The cipher pulled by the dear hand
I did not find it she can no longer be seen

These verses Marianne von Willemer wrote
in memory of her last meeting with
Goethe in the autumn days of the year 1815

Immediately opposite the Goethe memorial plaque once stood a ginkgo that Goethe knew. It is said that Goethe and friends looked at the leaves of Heidelberg Ginkgo and talked shop about their shape. The ginkgo symbol linked Goethe with Marianne von Willemer, who surprisingly visited him with her husband on September 23, 1815 in Heidelberg. In 1928, the ginkgo planted in 1795 was said to be " still the same in the palace gardens to whom Goethe owed the inspiration for his beautiful poem ". The tree was probably still standing in 1936. Marianne von Willemer was the third wife of his Frankfurt friend, the banker Johann Jakob von Willemer , who was more than twenty years younger than himself. Goethe met his lover several times at the former Schaumaintor when he was Stayed in Frankfurt in mid-September 1815. There he dedicated the poem Gingo Biloba to her on September 15, 1815 and enclosed two ginkgo leaves as an expression of his affection. The tree poem was later included in the book "Suleika" in the West-Eastern Divan .

Original writing of the Goethe poem

The art collector and writer Sulpiz Boisserée , who was a friend of Goethe, mentions in a diary entry from September 16, 1815 - he stayed with Goethe in the Gerbermühle near Frankfurt until September 17 - about the genesis of the poem Gin (k) go biloba:

“Cheerful evening. G. had sent a leaf of Ginkho (sic) biloba to Wilemer from the city as a symbol of friendship. It is not known whether it is one that divides into two or two that combine into one. Such was the content of the verse. "

The text of the poem reads:

Gingo Biloba

This leaf of the tree, which is
entrustedfrom the east toMy garden,
Gives a secret sense to taste,
How itbuilds the knower

The letter with the poem and the enclosed sheets can be seen in the Goethe Museum in Düsseldorf .

Tack room

The former tack room, originally a coach house , was probably initially a fortification. After the Thirty Years' War it was used for stables and as a tool, wagon and coach house. The vault collapsed in the 18th century and was not rebuilt until 1977 to 1979. Since then it has been used as a cafeteria for visitors to the castle.

Upper Prince Fountain

Stairs to the Upper Prince Fountain

The Upper Prince Fountain was redesigned and built over under Elector Karl Philipp . His monogram with the year 1738 is carved over the door of the fountain house. The following inscription is on the right-hand side of the staircase:

“[DIreCtione] ALeXanDro BIbIena CVra et opera HenrICI Neeb Fons hIC PRINCIpaLIs reparat (Vs) PVrIor sCatVrIt”

"Under the supervision of Alessandro Galli da Bibiena and executed by Heinrich Neeb, this fountain was renewed and now bubbles more purely."

The inscription is a chronogram from which the year 1741 results. This and the lower prince's fountain covered the water needs of the electoral court in Mannheim until the 19th century.

Johann Andreas von Traitteur recalls these water transports in 1798:

“Because of the lack of healthy, good well water, as long as the court was in Mannheim, the necessary water was brought in daily from the mountains. As is well known, the court chamber had to hold a special water truck which was set up for this purpose and which drove daily to Heidelberg and fetched the water from the prince's fountain in the castle courtyard. "

- Hans Weckesser : Beloved water tower.

The water quality in Mannheim was so bad that the noble families of the court society, who could afford it, joined this procedure and also financed water transports from Heidelberg to Mannheim. In 1777 there was still a “ Heidelberg water filler ” among the court servants in the electoral residence .

Castle building

Floor plan of Heidelberg Castle (from Meyers Konversationslexikon , 1888)

Nothing is known about the appearance of the medieval castle. It extended over the area of ​​today's castle courtyard without the later extensions to the west (thick tower, north wall (English building) and west wall with roundel) and within the inner circular wall, the sparse remains of which in the east wall of the Ludwig building, the east and south walls of the Farm building as well as the west wall of Ruprechtbau and Frauenzimmerbau still exist. The later castle made with the 1537 burned down castle at the level of today's Molkenkur a defensive line, with the Neckar good "masters" could be.

From around the middle of the 15th century, the castle was expanded into a fortress by building three towers for guns and the outer curtain wall on the east side. In the first half of the 16th century, Ludwig V extended the palace area considerably to the west and had new strong fortifications and individual residential buildings built. Thereafter, the castle was gradually expanded from a representative point of view. The ability to defend himself took a back seat among his successors.

Only gradually, from generation to generation, did the castle become a collection of spacious residential buildings.

The renowned art historian Georg Dehio describes Heidelberg Castle as follows:

“As a conglomerate of numerous buildings, the mixed style of which is only softened by the ruinousness and whose uniform impression is based on the crowdedness around the common courtyard, the castle towers high above the city on the forward Jettenbühl terrace of the Königstuhl. In keeping with the character of a fortification, the west, south and east faces turn towards the courtyard; only the buildings on the storm-free north side facing the city have a second, outward-facing, pompous facade. "

- Georg Dehio : Handbook of the German Art Monuments. Baden-Württemberg I. The administrative districts of Stuttgart and Karlsruhe

Buildings named after people


Castle courtyard, ruins of the Ruprechtsbau (right)
Angel coat of arms

The building is named after the Count Palatine and King Ruprecht .

The Ruprechtsbau is one of the oldest buildings in Heidelberg Castle. It was built by Elector Ruprecht III, who was German king at the beginning of the 15th century and around this time began building the parts of Heidelberg Castle that are still preserved today.

For a long time it was believed that the history of Heidelberg Castle began with this building. However, extensive archaeological investigations carried out during renovation work at the end of the 19th century revealed fragments of Romanesque and early Gothic windows. The construction of the castle is therefore estimated to have started around 1300.

In 1534 Ludwig V added a stone upper floor to the Ruprechtsbau . A ledge in the wall on the front edge and the year 1534 inside the building still tell of the renovation today.

An angel's coat of arms above the portal adorns the building. It is assumed that this is the badge of the builder who has immortalized himself in this way for posterity. According to tradition, the two angels on the coat of arms represent the builder's children, who fell from a scaffold during the construction work on the castle and were killed. Master became so sad about this that construction stalled.

Wilhelm Sigmund tells this legend as follows:

“But Emperor Ruprecht was angry that the building was progressing so slowly and had the master admonished by the priest who buried the children. He said everything was ready, but how he should close the gate, in his grief, did not follow him.
Immediately it was revealed to the master how to close the gate. He chiseled his boys as they had appeared to him, as lovely children of angels wearing a rosary. In the middle of the wreath he put the circle, the symbol of his art, from which he said goodbye forever. "

- Wilhelm Sigmund

As Ruprecht III. In 1400 when Ruprecht I became German King, the building was used for representation purposes. That is why there is a coat of arms on the Ruprechtsbau with the imperial eagle , which refers to the monarchy. Inside the Ruprecht building there is a renaissance chimney, one of the few elements of the interior that is still preserved today.

Ruprecht III.

Ruprecht III. was the only son of Elector Ruprecht II of the Palatinate . Together with the Archbishop of Mainz, he had been at the head of the princes since 1398, who deposed King Wenceslas on August 20, 1400 . The Archbishop of Cologne Friedrich III. von Saar Werden, after his election in Cologne, because Aachen and Frankfurt am Main did not open the gates to him, Ruprecht was crowned Roman-German king. In the empire, at least in the areas close to the king, he quickly found recognition, especially since Wenzel did nothing further. However, Ruprecht's sphere of activity was very limited.

Ruprecht had the castle's oldest recognizable residential building, the Ruprechtsbau named after him, built. He also began building the Church of the Holy Spirit .


Name: named after Elector Friedrich IV , the founder of the city of Mannheim

Elector Friedrich IV had the Friedrichsbau built from 1601 to 1607 after the residential building with the palace chapel threatened to collapse. Johannes Schoch was the architect of the building. Statues of the ancestors of the electors are incorporated into the courtyard facade of the Friedrichsbau. The sculptor of this ancestral gallery of the client was Sebastian Götz from Chur . The ancestors of Friedrich are depicted on the courtyard side. Starting at the top left, these are:

The gables also show allegorical representations of spring and summer, symbols of the transience of everything earthly.

The Friedrichsbau is the first palace of the castle, which was also built with a representative facade on the city side. The castle church is located on the ground floor of the building and is still intact today. The upper floors of the building were used as living space.

After the devastating fires in 1693 and 1764, this part of the castle was the only part to be rebuilt. From 1890 to 1900, the Friedrichsbau was fundamentally renewed in the style of historicism based on a design by Karlsruhe professor Carl Schäfer . At that time, a very controversial discussion sparked about how the interiors should be designed. In particular, the art historian Georg Dehio had spoken out in favor of preserving the building in its grown structure. Ultimately, the decision was made to use a neo-renaissance interior. Many rooms in the Friedrichbau today show a stylistic pluralism in free composition. Ultimately, however, the rooms were never used as living spaces again, but functioned as a museum building.

Friedrich IV. In the ancestral gallery of the Friedrichsbau, Heidelberg Castle

Friedrich IV.
Friedrich IV. Took over the leadership of the Union of Protestants in 1608 , which considerably intensified the conflict between the Catholic and Protestant principalities. Despite his inadequate training, Friedrich showed great interest in the humanities and set up chairs for history and oriental studies at Heidelberg University.

Friedrich gave himself up to his amusement and ruined the finances of his country. He describes his debauchery and the hangover afterwards in his own words: “ I must have been full again ”.

Elector Friedrich IV. Has lasting importance because he founded the Friedrichsburg Fortress named after him in 1606/1607 , from which the residence and city of Mannheim emerged . His main activities at Heidelberg Castle were the construction of the Friedrichsbau named after him and the old extension as well as the expansion of the three towers on the east side.


Ottheinrichsbau, 1894
Facade of the Ottheinrichsbau, the first Renaissance building north of the Alps
Name: named after Elector Ottheinrich (Otto-Heinrich)
First master builder: Hans Engelhardt - draft, at least partially by Peter Flötner
Second builder: Caspar Vischer

The Ottheinrichsbau was built under Ottheinrich after he became elector in 1556. The new palace was one of the first Renaissance buildings on German soil and is an important building of German Mannerism . For the Ottheinrichsbau, older buildings were partially covered (Gläserner Saalbau) or demolished (northern half of the Ludwigsbau). In the east, the building rests on the foundations of older buildings and on the outer defensive wall.

The facade of the four-storey building is decorated with 16 allegorical figures that symbolize the elector's government program. The figures come from the Dutchman Alexander Colin , who later worked for the Habsburgs . When Ottheinrich died in 1559, the building was not yet completed. Earlier illustrations (in Matthäus Merian's Kurpfälzisches Sketchbook ) show that the Ottheinrich building had two oversized double gables before the Thirty Years War, which did not harmonize well with the horizontal structure of the building, which was essentially based on Italian models of the early Renaissance. This was apparently due to one of Elector Friedrich III. caused change of plan and not included in the original planning. Under Karl Ludwig , the Ottheinrichsbau received a new roofing after the Thirty Years War, and the huge double gables disappeared.

Samson made of Heilbronn sandstone on Ottheinrichsbau

Figure program on the facade of the Ottheinrichsbau
The 16 statues (apart from the four portal figures) are allegorical representations and figures from the Old Testament and the world of the gods. From the latter, the Ottheinrichsbau had the name of the pagan construction in the 18th century :

  • Ground floor: mythical heroes ( Joshua , Samson , Heracles and David ) and Roman emperors as symbols of political and military power. In the triangular gables of the windows are the portraits of famous Romans, which were made from templates from the coin collection.
  • 1st floor: virtues of a Christian ruler (strength, faith, love, hope and justice)
  • 2nd floor: Personifications of the seven classical planets , Saturn , Mars , Venus , Mercury , Jupiter , Sol and Luna

The four statues on the first floor are explained by awkward verse in Gothic script:

He who duke Joshua through God made one and thirty kings killed.
Samson the strong one / Nasir Gotteß was shielded Israhel / wolwentzig Jar.
Joviss sun Hercules / am I addressed. Through my wonderful / well known things.
David was a young / ling hearted and wise to the cheeky Goliath / who cut off head.

The Heidelberg archaeologist Karl Bernhard Stark explained the meaning of this program of figures as follows:

“The three-dimensional representations of the facade of the palace together form a beautiful mirror of the princely government. Princely power is certainly built on the strength of personality, on the heroism of the people; it has its center in the practice of the Christian virtues, united with strength and justice, is finally under the influence of higher powers, a heavenly direction that manifests itself in the course of the stars. "


Ottheinrich introduced Protestantism in the Electoral Palatinate in 1557 , promoted science and obliged budding physicians to dissect corpses. His library, the Bibliotheca Palatina , was considered one of the most important of its time.

Due to his lavish lifestyle, Ottheinrich was threatened with bankruptcy . He also had a promissory note from his grandmother Hedwig's estate . This promissory note for 32,000 guilders , issued by King Casimir IV of Poland on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter Hedwig to George the Rich , was never paid out by the Polish royal court. Ottheinrich had interest and compound interest calculated and came to the sum of 200,000 guilders. So in 1536 Ottheinrich set out to visit his great uncle, the Polish King Sigismund I , in Krakow . During the three-week negotiations, Ottheinrich was able to achieve the disbursement of the promissory note, but not the payment of the interest.

Ottheinrich only ruled for three years and is still one of the most important electors. He had the Ottheinrichsbau, named after him, built on the castle, which is considered an outstanding example of German Renaissance architecture.


Name: named after Ludwig V.

The Ludwigsbau was built in 1524 by Ludwig V and served as a residential building. It replaced an older building, the walls of which were partially reused for the Ludwigsbau. The Gothic stepped gable that closed off the south wall is no longer there today.

Originally the Ludwigsbau was a symmetrical building. Elector Ottheinrich , however, had the northern part on the other side of the stair tower torn down to make room for the Ottheinrich building.

The Ludwigsbau originally had a larger extension to the north, so that the stair tower sat in the middle of the front. In 1764 it was destroyed by fire.

Under the coat of arms on the outside, two monkeys are depicted who play the game of pulling cats . This is probably to be seen as an allusion to the trials of strength of the noble boys who lived on the top floor of the Ludwigsbau.

Ludwig V
Ludwig V the peacemaker managed to limit the consequences of the Landshut War of Succession and to restore the rights of the Electoral Palatinate in the empire. He also succeeded in reconciling with the Bavarian Wittelsbachers . The friendly contacts his brother Friedrich had with the House of Habsburg came to his aid . He achieved that the imperial ban was officially lifted and the Palatinate privileges were confirmed. When the emperor was elected in 1519, Ludwig voted for
Charles V due to large donations from the Habsburgs .

In 1523 Ludwig put down the knight rebellion under Franz von Sickingen . During the peasant uprisings in 1525 he tried to negotiate with the peasants, as he considered demands such as the abolition of serfdom to be justified. But after the unrest got out of hand, he took part in the suppression of the peasant uprising.

Ludwig V is considered to be the "castle builder". It gained its special significance through the expansion of the large castle fortifications, the erection of the west wall and the thick tower, but also through the modernization of the other buildings in the residence.

English construction

English building, 1620 by Matthäus Merian
Name: named after the English Princess Elisabeth Stuart , the so-called Winter Queen and wife of Elector Friedrich V.

The architect is unknown. Salomon de Caus and Inigo Jones , who both came to Heidelberg with Elisabeth, come into question .

With the establishment of the English building, the basic ideas of protection and defense were ignored, as the kennel and moat were bridged and a possible enemy was given better opportunities to attack.

The English building - now in ruins - is the last large building in the history of Heidelberg Castle. Due to lack of space, it was laid out outside the palace area and is located between the thick tower and the barrel building. The large knight's staircase runs below the English building.

Today receptions and performances of the castle festival take place in the ruins. There is space for around 300 seats on an area of ​​500 square meters.

Elisabeth Stuart

Elisabeth Stuart , the granddaughter of Maria Stuart and sister of Charles I of England, was nicknamed "Pearl of Britain" and "Queen of Hearts" due to her beauty and was briefly titular Queen of Bohemia at the side of Frederick V of the Palatinate , also known as the "Winter Queen".

Elisabeth was born in 1596 as the only surviving daughter of Jacob VI. of Scotland , who was to become King of England and Ireland as James I. It got its name after the English Queen Elizabeth I.

After preliminary negotiations in 1612, two Palatine ambassadors arrived at the English royal court with a sales letter, where the allies welcomed the plan to combine the two ruling houses. Then Friedrich traveled to England to courtship. But the queen was against the marriage because Friedrich was "only" an elector . But his outward appearance won over the English and the sixteen-year-old princess. The two were considered the dream couple of their time.

Elisabeth persuaded Friedrich V, among others, to accept the Crown of Bohemia and shared his fate as a refugee after the battle of the White Mountain until his death in 1632. The hope of help from their royal relatives in England turned out to be deceptive.

After the end of the Thirty Years' War Elisabeth wanted to return to Heidelberg with Prince Ruprecht, but her son, Elector Karl Ludwig , refused this request, because he had an affair with Luise von Degenfeld and his broken marriage with Charlotte von Hessen-Kassel anyway to do the reconstruction of the country after the war.

Buildings named after functions

Library building

Ruins of the library building and the Ruprecht building as well as the gate tower, seen from the garden
Name: later named after the library that supposedly was housed here

The library building (earlier erroneously also: Rudolfsbau) is located between the Ruprechtsbau and the Frauenzimmerbau. It is in the late Gothic style and was built around 1520 by Elector Ludwig V by the court architect Lorenz Lechler .

The so-called library building was added in close connection with the neighboring women's room building on the west side of the castle ring. The name of this building, which appeared for the first time in the 17th century, is misleading, as there is no evidence that it was primarily used to house an electoral library. Rather, the vaulted room on the first floor is a so-called dining room for the elector's table. Table rooms emerged in the 16th century when the princes no longer went to the court room every day, but instead withdrew to separate rooms on the upper floors.

The library building differs from other castle buildings of the 16th century in that it was vaulted in stone up to the upper floors. This is attributed to the fact that the Electoral Mint may have been kept here. The library building was the " safe " of the palace and the court. Its walls on the first floor are three meters thick. The dining room, which must have had a clear height of 6.60 meters, expanded beyond the massive ground floor rooms, some of which were painted. The most beautiful part of the building still preserved is the bay window facing the courtyard on the upper floor. The library building was the only palace in the palace to be spared from the palace fire set by the French in 1689, but was destroyed in 1693.

Frauenzimmerbau (Königssaal)

Inner courtyard of the palace with the Frauenzimmerbau, Friedrichsbau, Gläserne Saalbau and Ottheinrichsbau, by Ulrich Kraus, 1683
Name: named after the apartments of the ladies-in-waiting (today's name: Königssaal)

Only the ground floor remains of the women's room. It was built under Ludwig V around 1510. Presumably the ladies-in-waiting lived here, who had their rooms on the upper floors of the women's room building. The second floor was made of half-timbered houses. The facade was adorned by several bay windows. In the 17th century, a decorative facade with columns and figures was painted on the courtyard side to visually enhance the building.

On the ground floor there was a large court room (later: King's Hall), which was used for daily meals and all kinds of festivities. The court room was 34.65 meters long, 16.70 meters wide and 7.40 meters high. The wooden ceiling rested on four stone supports that carried a continuous beam as a support for the ceiling beams.

The special feature of the electoral court room was its enrichment with a box-like bay window on all four sides, which are only partially preserved today. The electoral table was located directly in front of the bay window that originally opened on three sides in a northerly direction towards the Neckar valley. The remains of the oriel vaults still show a special design today, as the ribs were decorated with branches, flowers and bird motifs. In this decoration, the oriel by Peter Harer is described in a poem on the occasion of the princely wedding of Count Palatine Friedrich and Dorothea of ​​Denmark in 1535 and the dining room is compared with the Grail temple:

"Eß were probably three furstentisch: / On the first, which is decreed / Gewest in the back above, / Which of the art to praise cheaply / I think the tempell auf Montsaluat, / Has got the Titurell, / Does not like this work: / Gethierts, laubwerckh, and a picture, ma view, / Gantz artlich and reyn excavated, / Much possament technically sublime, / The tangle gracefully anthems, / Of colors already plummeted out. / Eß is not saved a lot. "

After the completion of the ballrooms in the Gläserne Saalbau and Ottheinrichsbau and changes with the table ceremony, the court room lost its role as a representation room. It became a room in which jousting games took place in bad weather, meetings were held or the servants dined on festive occasions.

In 1689 the building burned down completely, and the former courtyard room later served as a work space for the cooper , who worked on the large barrel and thus gave the building the name "Bandhaus". Since the coopers complained that the rainwater was pouring on the barrels, Karl Theodor had the ruins fitted with the current temporary roof. Today the building is mainly known under the name "Königssaal" , even if this Königssaal only occupies the ground floor of the former women's room. In the 1930s, the ground floor was restored and has served the city of Heidelberg as a ballroom for all kinds of events ever since.

Barrel construction

Name: named after the big barrel .

The barrel building was built by Johann Casimir from 1589 to 1592 especially for the famous large barrel . It is connected to the royal hall, so that there was as direct access as possible to the wine supplies in the barrel during celebrations.

What is unusual about the building is the late Gothic style, as the Renaissance style had already prevailed at the time of construction .

The statue of the barrel guard Perkeo , symbol of the wine connoisseur to whom Karl Philipp had handed over the care of the barrel, looks at the large barrel . Karl Philipp had brought Perkeo with him as a court jester from Innsbruck , where he had been the imperial governor of Tyrol before his accession to the throne . According to legend, the elector asked him if he could drink the big barrel alone. He is said to have answered: “ Perché no? ”(Italian: 'why not?'). The name Perkeo is derived from this.

Statue of the Perkeo in the barrel building

Reinhard Hoppe tells the story as follows:

“Elector Karl Philipp ordered his court jester, the dwarf Clemens Perkeo, to be the guardian of the big barrel. He had met him on a trip through Tyrol and had taken a liking to his small stature and his quick wit. When the elector had tested the little one for his ability to drink, he said to him: 'Come with me to Heidelberg. I appoint you to be knight and chamberlain to the barrel king. The largest barrel in the world is in my castle cellar. When you finish it, the city and castle shall be yours. ' 'Perche no' (why not), replied the toddler. Then the elector laughed and said: 'Your name should be Perkeo.' "

- Reinhard Hoppe : home around Heidelberg

Wine is said to have been the only drink Perkeo has consumed since childhood. When he first fell ill in old age, his doctor strongly advised him not to drink wine and recommended that he drink water. Despite great skepticism, Perkeo accepted this advice and died the next day.

Victor Hugo rumored that Perkeo had to drink fifteen bottles of wine a day and otherwise was flogged.

Glass hall construction

Arcade of the glass hall building with a view of the Ottheinrichsbau, by Baptiste Bayot 1844
Name: named after the hall of mirrors on the second floor, decorated with Venetian mirror glass

The glass hall was built by Elector Friedrich II . The building takes its name from the hall on the upper floor decorated with Venetian mirror glass. The building has very sturdy Renaissance arcades towards the courtyard, but late Gothic vaults in the arcades. The north side of the building facing the city is completely unadorned, the east side is adorned with a small Gothic bay window and, like the courtyard-facing bay porch, had an ornate gable. After the Thirty Years' War, Elector Karl Ludwig had the glass hall rebuilt. The floor heights were changed and new, arched windows were built into the north front. The jambs of the original windows are still visible partly in the north facade.

On July 24, 1764, lightning struck twice in a row, and the hall building burned down to the vaulted cellar.

In 1897 a walled up early Gothic window group was discovered in the western wall of the glass hall building, which indicates that the palace area was being built in the first half of the 13th century.

It is assumed that the Ottheinrichsbau was already planned when the Gläserne Saalbau was built, as the rear half of the building is behind the Ottheinrichsbau and was carried out without any facade decorations.

Economic building

Utility building, fountain house, gate tower and Ruprechtsbau; by Louis Hoffmeister , around 1820
Name: In the economic building were the economic rooms (economy = economy) of the castle and the kitchen.

The names Metzelhaus and Backhaus refer to the functions as a slaughterhouse and bakery.

The staircase to the upper floors led into the apartments of the castle officials. The farm buildings in the southeast corner of the courtyard are not particularly significant in terms of art history.

The actual kitchen was in the southeast of the castle and connected to the blown tower. Günter Heinemann, the former Heidelberg City Archives director, writes about these rooms and their peripheral location in the courtyard:

"What was originally a kitchen cabinet filled with smoke and the smell of cooking has long since ceased to be of interest as the quiet corner of the castle's courtyard."

- Günter Heinemann : Heidelberg

Soldier building

Name: Soldiers' living quarters

The soldiers' building is close to the main entrance in order to better protect it. The guardroom was located in the basement of the three-story building, with the soldiers' living quarters above it. A permanent garrison of about 50 men was quartered here for guard and honorary services.

Well construction

Well hall in front of the gate tower, 1895
Name: Draw well in the castle courtyard

The fountain hall, which was built under Ludwig V, is directly connected to the soldiers' building. The four free-standing monoliths and two half-columns leaning against the wall are striking . The once half-buried draw well is about 16 meters deep and was probably already there in 1508. Sebastian Münster reported about the pillars that they had stood at the former palace of Charlemagne in his hometown of Ingelheim and had been brought by Elector Philip to Heidelberg Castle, where they were still located. It is possible that these columns were taken from an ancient building near Mainz .

Castle towers

Thick tower

Thick Tower, by Carl Philipp Fohr , 1813
Name: named after its seven meter thick walls

The Thick Tower is one of the castle's fortifications built under Elector Ludwig V. It was nearly forty meters high, its walls were seven meters thick with a total diameter of 28 meters. Nevertheless, these strong walls could be blown up. The fault lines run where the masonry was broken, for example by loopholes . It is also noticeable that the red sandstone was not as resistant as the mortar that connected the sandstone blocks.

The tower looked threatening from the city, which was also the intention of the builder, because Ludwig the Peaceful was of the opinion that only fear could keep peace.

Frederick V had the upper part of the tower redesigned into a theater modeled on the London Globe Theater , which burned down in 1613 . With this theater hall in the thick tower, the elector showed his wife's British origins and wanted to continue Shakespearean theater tradition. The almost circular upper platform of the thick tower was almost 28 meters in diameter and 85 square meters in area.

Thick Tower in 1620, engraving by Matthäus Merian

On the inscription plaque on the thick tower not only the builder of the tower is named, but also the redesign of the upper floor is indicated. Only the Nuremberg builder Peter Karl dared to do this. The Latin inscription reads:


“Ludwig, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Elector and Duke in Bavaria, performed this building in the year of Christ 1533. Friedrich V, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Elector and Administrator of the Holy Roman Empire, Duke in Bavaria, broke it off to the main cornice, new erected, provided with a vaulted ceiling, the height of the dining room increased by 33 feet, the pillar bearing the load of the entire roof in the middle, without removing and damaging the roof, removed and these monuments erected in the year of salvation in 1619. "

The two stone figures show the Electors Ludwig V and Friedrich V , the two builders of the tower.

In 1689 the northern wall shell was blown off and fell into the valley. After the destruction in 1693, the citizens of the city of Heidelberg were officially given permission to fetch the cut stones from the thick tower and use them to rebuild their houses. For example, the noble court of Lieutenant General and Oberstjägermeister Friedrich Freiherr von Venningen in Hauptstrasse 52 ( Haus zum Riesen ) was built from ashlar stones from the thick tower with the express permission of the Elector.

Prison Tower (Rarely Empty)

Rarely empty (left) and gate tower
Name: The name Seltenleer (also Nimmerleer ) has been documented since 1603 and indicates its use as a prisoner tower , which was never empty, so to speak.

The ruin of the prison tower is on the southwest corner of the moat. The prison room was probably located in the lightless tower base. As a defense tower, it was hardly considered. It is the smallest of the flanking towers , has an outer diameter of around 10 meters and a height of around 19.50 meters with a wall thickness of 2.75 meters.

It is not certain where the antipope John XXIII. was held captive in Heidelberg. Some statements call the lock. Then the Seltenleer tower could have been the papal prison. Presumably it was housed near the Old Bridge , because in a translated letter from an Italian to Pope Paul V the bridge monkey ("to prison, as the old monkey is called") is mentioned.

Gate tower (clock tower)

Bridge and bridge house to the gate tower (far left: gate tower with the two " giants ")
Name: Gate of the defense system on which the castle clock is attached

The gate tower was built between 1531-1541 as part of the defenses that under Elector Ludwig V were applied. To this day it is the main entrance to the castle. In the basement there is a lightless room, which is often referred to as a castle dungeon. In the middle arch of the doorway there is an elevator hole that is repeated on the three floors above. These holes were necessary to supply the tower guard, who lived on the top floor of the tower.

The gate tower made of red sandstone blocks is 52 meters high, measured from the bottom of the moat, and has a floor area of ​​12.50 meters square. Today it is the tallest of the castle towers. A thick oak gate with a little gate (eye of a needle) and the tips of the portcullis are still preserved from the fortification . In 1689, the fire of the burning Ruprecht building spread to the roof of the tower and destroyed it. The currently existing slated tower dome was not added to the tower until the Baroque period, around 1716, in order to save the entrance area to the destroyed castle from deterioration.

The front side is dominated by the so-called 3.40 meter high gate giants and the shield-bearing lions. The supposedly silver coat of arms is missing and was probably melted down. The two knight figures are dated to the years 1534 and 1536. They stand on round consoles and are protected by canopies.

The bridge between the gatehouse and the gate tower was blown up by French miners in 1693 and restored with a drawbridge under Elector Karl Philipp . It was not until 1810 that the drawbridge was abandoned and a permanent road connection was created with another bridge pillar, the pillars of which rise from the twenty-meter-deep moat. At the gate tower you can still see the holes for the chains on which the former drawbridge hung.

The witch bite

The iron ring with the so-called "witch bite"

An iron ring hangs on the gate of the castle courtyard, with which visitors once knocked when they wanted to enter. According to legend, the lock is given to whoever manages to bite through the ring. A witch tried several times to bite through the ring, but her magical powers failed. Only a small indentation remained in the knocking ring, the so-called "witch's bite". Daniel Häberle tells the story as follows:

“The one, according to the lord of the castle, who can bite through the ring on the castle door, becomes the next king. The lord of the castle quietly thought that if you don't grit your teeth at this task, you will endure in life too. "

- Daniel Häberle

Krautturm (powder tower, blown tower)

Carl Blechen : "The blown tower of Heidelberg Castle"
Blown tower
Name: The name Krautturm can be traced back to the 17th century. It evidently stems from the fact that the lowest storey was used as a herb magazine ("herb" = powder ). This name was later superseded by the name "Blown Tower".

The tower was blown up in 1693 by French soldiers in the War of the Palatinate Succession, after a mine blast in 1689 failed. The mighty wall shell still rests on the cone of rubble from back then. During the demolition, the joint material proved to be more resistant than the red sandstone from which the tower was built.

The tower originally had a height of around 28 meters. In 1610 it was expanded to 42.50 meters. Today it still rises 33 meters as a ruin.

One of the admirers of this ruin was Johann Wolfgang Goethe , who drew this tower on September 23, 1779 from the bridge over the moat. Goethe had visited Heidelberg eight times, but kept silent about the fourth visit. So it was not discovered by research until 1899. Apparently secret political plans, possibly the creation of a princes' union against the overwhelming power of Frederick the Great , had brought him to Heidelberg. In any case, Karl August and Goethe interrupted their Swiss trip in Heidelberg on September 23, 1779 and spent the whole afternoon at the castle. Duke Karl August "crawled around in the beautiful old rubble" while Goethe made the earliest drawing of the destroyed powder tower.

Apothecary Tower

The tower takes its name from the Greek word "apotheca", which means something like "storage room". However, there was never a pharmacy there, it was housed elsewhere in the castle. Today part of the German Pharmacy Museum is located there .

The Apothecary Tower is a flanking tower that was built at the same time as the bell tower and the Blown Tower. The tower divides the 125 meter long east side of the castle roughly in the middle. The old loopholes are walled up or replaced by windows. Around the year 1600 the tower was raised and converted into a residential tower for the expanding court.

The German Pharmacy Museum only received some rooms in the Ludwigsbau and in the Apothekerturm for its collection in 1957. This museum was previously in Munich and - after it was bombed out during World War II - in the Bamberg New Residence .

The museum's exhibits include a first-aid kit or first-aid kit owned by a general, valuable storage vessels for medicines and mortars from the Gothic and Renaissance periods . In addition, four old pharmacy facilities, so-called " Offices ", from the 18th and 19th centuries can be visited. The center of the museum is the drug collection (" Materia medica "), in which the drugs from the mineral, animal and plant kingdoms are exhibited.

Bell tower

Bell tower and arbor by Laurent Deroy 1844
Name: In the lantern-like top of the tower hung a bell that could be heard from afar.

The armory made this corner of the castle so strong that the upper part of the bell tower could be used for residential purposes. Ludwig V had the round, single-storey gun turret raised to double its height in order to gain representative living space. A civilian structure was added to the relatively low artillery tower from around 1490. For this purpose, the old roof structure was removed, the masonry raised and a tent roof put on. The windows of this Belvedere building offered an imposing view over the Neckar valley.

The bell tower in the northeast corner is the landmark of the palace buildings. It has been in ruins since lightning struck here on the night of June 25, 1764. The resulting fire destroyed all buildings except for the outer walls.

Other facilities


Altan by Louis Hoffmeister, around 1820

The arbor (today's visitor terrace), the so-called “ balcony of the princes ”, offers a good view of the Neckar valley, the city of Heidelberg and the Heiligenberg opposite with the Philosophenweg . The door on the right, at the western end of the arbor, leads into the room of the large barrel. The arbor is separated from the Friedrichsbau by a space over 8 meters wide, through which the “Burgweg” leads from the city. Open bay windows protrude at the outer corners of the arbor (with the layout of the façades in expensive stone and a wide arbor).

With the installation of the facade to the arbor, the tradition of building on the edge of a house on a closed outer wall was broken. Count Palatine Friedrich II had an inscription with his name and the first letters of his Latin motto added to the retaining wall of the castle altar:

"Pfalzgraf Friderich / Churfürst bawet mich / 1552 / D (e) C (oelo) V (ictoria)" - (to German about: Heaven gives victory )

The substructure under the arbor was used to store weapons, ammunition, supplies and as a shelter for the soldiers. The arbor does not directly adjoin the Friedrichsbau, but keeps a distance of about eight meters. The Burgweg leads through this space from the city.

Below the arbor in the altan garden, the former “ Big Battery ”, a heavily patinated bronze gun barrel is exhibited, at the mouth of which the French name “ Le Coco ” (which means “chicken”) is poured into. This gun was cast in the third year of the French Republic, i.e. 1794, in Douai , France . “ Le Coco ” was possibly captured when a French troop contingent was defeated near Handschuhsheim and brought to the castle as a trophy.

The knight leap

" The Knight's Jump "

Wilhelm Sigmund tells the story in his book Alt Heidelberg as follows:

“When a fire suddenly broke out in the upper rooms of the castle at a banquet or some other event, all the ladies and gentlemen knew how to get to safety quickly - except for one knight. He was not familiar with the rooms, the stairs and hallways and finally found all exits blocked by the fire. The fire found new nourishment in the curtains and other easily flammable materials. The cries for help from the trapped were in vain. Nobody heard him, maybe those who were saved believed him saved too.
So he had no choice but to get to safety by jumping through the window below. And heaven rewarded the knight's bold act. He reached the bottom unharmed. But through the jump, the strong boot dug into the ground and left a footprint there that can still be seen today. The people occupied this strangely recessed place on the castle balcony with the name knight jump. "

- Wilhelm Sigmund : Old Heidelberg

Today visitors to the castle try out whether their shoe fits in the knight's footsteps. According to another legend, the footprint comes from Elector Friedrich IV , who jumped drunk from the window of his palace, the Friedrichsbau, and appeared on the palace terrace.

Burggraben (Hirschgraben / Halsgraben)

Castle moat, drawn by Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Name: Bears and deer were also kept here.

The moat was part of the castle's defenses. In 1962, considerations were made to keep red deer in the pit area again, but this was not realized because the trampled ground would have been an ugly sight. It is conceivable that show hunts could have taken place in the Hirschgraben.

At the foot of the wall of the west wall nine depressions can be seen that go back to attempts by French miners in 1693 to break down the west wall by so-called chain blasting. But the captured powder was only of limited use due to moisture, and relief from the Reich troops was on the march, so that the demolition squads did not have the time to complete their work.

View into the Hirschgraben

Inundation could have been an additional obstacle for attackers . The brook on the bottom of the Hirschgraben, a so-called trench , could be dammed and flood the Hirschgraben.

Elector Johann Wilhelm , who resided in Düsseldorf , was not satisfied with the residence in Heidelberg and planned to expand the castle with new buildings after the western moat was filled.

Lower prince fountain

Name: Well water for the electoral court in the Mannheim residence.

The Lower Fürstenbrunnen is a small well house that was built under Elector Karl Theodor to complement the Upper Prince Fountain and supplied the electoral residence in Mannheim with drinking water. The water transport over around twenty kilometers to Mannheim took place at night with mules.

The Latin inscription also refers to Elector Karl Theodor:


"The new and extremely healthy bubbling spring of Karl Theodors, the father of the fatherland, determined by the mother of the fatherland Elisabeth Augusta as a new divine health drink."

If you add the two components together you get the following Latin word:

  • "Scaturigo, -inis" = bubbling water, spring water (Georges),
  • "Scaturex = scaturigo" = gushing spring water (PONS),
  • "Scatur (r) igo" = spring water, spring water (Langenscheidt).

The shaft driven into the granite is closed by an iron door over which the following Latin inscription can be read:


"Bringing healing by nature, made famous by the leadership of Thomas Breyer"

The inscription is a chronogram that gives the year 1767.


Water casemates in the neck ditch

The casemates (vaults in the fortress building protected from artillery fire ) from the period after the Thirty Years War are remains of the aforementioned fortress.

The wall section below the towers and buildings also served to support the east section of the castle against the Friesental valley and for defense purposes. A part of these casemates was buried, but has been exposed again. They are still completely intact between the Apothecary Tower and the Krautturm. From the outside you can only recognize them by the loopholes. These casemates were in some cases considerably weakened by changes in use and renovations under the various electors. In 1998, a part of the Friesenbergweg at the foot of the casemates was therefore closed for security reasons.

The barrage wall, the water casemates, which runs towards the burst tower, is a double-arched gallery from the 16th century, the lower part of which barred the access to the moat from the Friesental valley. The upper part served as a water pipe that carried water from the Königstuhl into the castle.

Zeughaus and Karlschanze

Former Karlsturm and Zeughaus (left)
Name: stuff is a medieval expression for armor, later for guns and their accessories, especially as long as the artillery formed a guild.

The former armory was part of the defense architecture and was the last fortification phase of the castle. It forms the northernmost point of the castle complex and protrudes as a bastion far into the Neckar valley. In the front of the armory, cannon loops alternate with loops for handguns above.

Weapons, ammunition and armor were kept in the armory. During the Thirty Years' War, the armory suffered severe damage from shelling from Heiligenberg on the other side of the Neckar . This damage is still visible today on the patchwork in the masonry. In 1693 the armory was blown up by the French in the Palatinate War of Succession. But then it was repaired again. In 1764 the armory burned down and was not restored.

The Karlsschanze in front of the armory with the Karlsturm was a purely military building to secure the north gate and was built after the Thirty Years' War on the site of a ball game house. The transport to the castle with carts now only goes through the south gate. The Karlsturm was built in 1683 and blown up by the French occupation in 1689. Today the former turret has almost completely disappeared.


Piece garden

Piece garden with roundabout, Elisabethentor and birdhouse, drawn by Matthäus Merian , 1620
Name: The word piece comes from the cannons that were set up here. Piece is an outdated term for a single gun or a type of cannon .

The piece garden forms the west terrace of the castle. Originally, this facility was set up by Elector Ludwig V to set up cannons. By converting this area into a pleasure garden , Frederick V weakened the castle's defensive power.

Strolling through the redesigned piece garden was a noble pleasure, to which there was access through the Elisabethentor. The piece garden, which did not belong to the Hortus Palatinus , was only included in the overall complex in the 19th century. At the height of the Elisabethentor a bird house closed it off from the castle entrance. An avenue ran towards the English building, and flower beds covered the garden area.

When the Thirty Years War attacked Heidelberg, the terraces around the castle proved to be a hindrance to the defense. Since the castle looked like on a presentation plate from these terraces, walls and entrenchments were hastily erected above the garden .

When the view is clear, it is possible to see the Palatinate Forest beyond the Rhine plain from the Stückgarten . The view down leads over the roofs of the city of Heidelberg or the moat.

Commons : Stückgarten  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Elizabeth Gate

Elizabeth Gate
Name: named after the English princess Elisabeth Stuart

The Elisabethentor forms the entrance to the garden. Alongside the English building and the theater in the thick tower, it is one of the conversions that Frederick V had carried out in honor of his wife Elisabeth.

The gate is said to have been a surprise for the young wife and was allegedly erected in one night in 1615 as a present on the occasion of her 20th birthday. But there is no documentary evidence of this. It bears the Latin dedication carved in stone:


"Friedrich V had (the gate) built for his beloved wife Elisabeth in the year of the Lord in 1615."

The Elisabethentor was built in the style of a triumphal arch and is the first baroque monument at Heidelberg Castle. The architect of the gate was Salomon de Caus , one of the two architects who came to Heidelberg with Elisabeth. The four pillars are depicted as tree trunks with ivy wrapped around them. All kinds of animals are hidden in the leaves: frogs, beetles, snails, lizards and squirrels.

Bird house (orangery)

Foundation walls of the former bird house

Directly next to the Elisabethentor was the bird house, which formed the southern end of the garden. The orangery , the former bird house, was enlarged to the moat at the beginning of the 18th century by including the Elisabethentor. The orangery house was to be converted into a two-story inn with an apartment for the landlord, which was rejected by the Electoral Palatinate court. Today only remnants on the western wall and the stone slabs in the floor show the dimensions. The plants in the orangery are said to have been brought to Schwetzingen Castle in 1725 .

The approval for the demolition of the orangery was given on the occasion of a visit by the elector in 1805. After that, the garden, the palace forecourt and the terrace garden were combined into one garden and opened to the public as a public park.

Palace garden (Hortus Palatinus)

Main terrace of the former Hortus Palatinus

The palace garden had the Latin name Hortus Palatinus (= Palatinate garden ). and was commissioned by the Elector Friedrich V by Salomon de Caus created. This expanded the so-called Hasengärtlein, the late medieval castle garden. To do this, considerable amounts of earth had to be moved. The defense capacity of the castle was weakened at the same time. When Frederick was elected King of Bohemia and moved his residence to Prague, work on the Hortus Palatinus was stopped. The gardens were never completed. The form and layout of the parterres have only been passed on through paintings . The Hortus Palatinus was considered one of the most famous gardens in Europe in its time and was regarded by contemporaries as the “ eighth wonder of the world ”.

In 1719, Elector Karl Philipp began to bring parts of Friedrich V's gardens into a baroque form.

After a chair for forest botany was established at the Technical University of Karlsruhe in 1832 , interest in these plantings declined significantly. Over the years, evergreen conifers permeated the park, which was originally equipped with hardwood , and changed the overall impression considerably.

Bushel terrace

Bushel terrace

A garden house was planned on the Great Scheffel Terrace opposite the palace complex, but this was not implemented. The terrace reinforcement in the form of a 20 meter high arch construction is striking. The garden on Friesenberg could be expanded with this system.

The Scheffel Terrace is named after a bronze statue of the poet Joseph Victor von Scheffel , which stood here from 1891 to 1942 and was melted down in 1942. A new bushel memorial stone was only unveiled on June 26, 1976. This stone is more modest than the earlier monument and shows a medallion with the portrait of Scheffel, which was taken as a cast from the Scheffel grave in Karlsruhe.

Scheffel wrote several poems about Heidelberg. One of them, "Alt-Heidelberg, du fein", became popular as a student song in Anton Zimmermann's setting . Scheffel was very well known in Heidelberg, and there were images of him in many places. The Scheffel Monument has only been missing on the Scheffel Terrace since the First World War. Then some students decided to steal a bushel bust and put it on the bushel terrace. The following morning she was lying damaged on the floor. A student called a castle attendant and asked mischievously:

"Tell me, good man, is that the famous dwarf Perkeo from Heidelberg Castle?"

The castle guide replied angrily:

"Nah, he is fine. Awwer gsoffe hott der aach ...! "

"No that's not him. But he also drank! "

At the far end of the Scheffel Terrace, where the balustrade bends to the right, was the redoubt . Here Salomon de Caus wanted to build a tower-like building with an open hall. From this location one would have had an impressive panoramic view of the castle, the city of Heidelberg and the Neckar valley. The foundations were still being worked on when work was stopped at the end of 1619.



At the beginning of 1922, the Goethe-Marianne-Bank made of shell limestone was placed on the eastern edge of the main terrace. This stone bench goes back to an appeal by Heidelberg professors in 1919 to commemorate the appearance of the West-Eastern Divan a hundred years earlier.

A hoopoe is depicted in the backrest , which was considered a messenger of love in the Orient. The top text on the bench reads:

"And once again Hatem feels the breath of spring and summer fire."

This relates to Goethe's encounter with Marianne von Willemer . Goethe had the book Suleika of the West-Eastern Divan after an exchange of words Hatems and Suleika ordered. The two names stand for Goethe and Marianne von Willemer.

The text below is intended to clarify Marianne's feelings:

"Where high walls glow, I find my beloved."

A few meters from the stone bench is a two-meter high Goethe monument with a bronze head of the poet. It was unveiled on May 5, 1987, Europe Day . The following inscription is carved on the sandstone base:

"On the high arched terrace there was a time to come and go."

This inscription is from a poem by Marianne von Willemer and refers to the high arch of the Scheffel Terrace with its 20-meter-high arch construction.


Friesental, drawn by Matthäus Merian

The Friesental was included in the overall system. The files noted in 1750 that the area of ​​the Friesental became the " Thier-Garthen ", where roe deer and deer graze. The slope to the castle was formerly called the " Cold Valley " because it was only warmed up a little by the sun.

On the opposite east side of the Friesental valley is the Carmelite Grove, in which only a few remains are reminiscent of the former monastery of the Carmelites , who had built accommodation for studying confreres here at the Jakobskapelle donated by Elector Ruprecht I. In the Carmelite Church there was also a burial place of the Wittelsbacher . Because these were the direct ancestors of the Bavarian kings , when they resided in Munich, Wittelsbachers had the coffins transferred to Munich in 1805 and buried in the crypt of the Hofkirche Sankt Michael .

Inscription stone in front of the thick tower

Inscription stone in front of the thick tower

On the Friesenberg, on the east side of the castle, there was also the shooting range of the electoral artillery . Elector Karl often enjoyed shooting from the guns. An inscription stone from 1681, on the left in front of the Dicken Turm, refers to his special achievement, of which he was obviously very proud:


This inscription is intended to commemorate a shooting performance by Elector Karl on January 22, 1681, who allegedly let two guns (= pieces ) set up opposite each other fire bullets at the same time, which met in the air. This stone was later moved to the garden so that more people could take note of it.

Famous residents

The "Winter King" Friedrich V.

Friedrich V , the winter king

Friedrich V married the English king's daughter Elisabeth Stuart . This marriage was a love affair, and he spared no expense for his wife. Festivities were organized at great expense, and he had the Elisabethentor built for them at the garden.

Friedrich stayed in England for almost six months from October 1612 to April 1613, and the only 17-year-old made contact with important architects who later implemented his renovation and new building plans in Heidelberg Castle. It was Inigo Jones and Salomon de Caus , who both knew each other well and were in the service of the English royal family. Caus accompanied the young couple on the return trip to Heidelberg. Jones also came to Heidelberg in June 1613. Very soon the construction of a huge pleasure garden was started . However, the system was intended for the plain and now had to be implemented on the slope of a mountain. First of all, earth movements had to be carried out, which contemporaries regarded as the eighth wonder of the world .

Under the rule of Frederick V , the Electoral Palatinate tried to become the Protestant supremacy in the Holy Roman Empire , but this ended in a debacle. After Friedrich had accepted the election of the Bohemian king in 1619 - against the express advice of many advisors - he could not maintain the crown because he lost the battle of the White Mountain against the troops of the emperor and the Catholic league . He was nicknamed "Winter King" because his kingship only survived a little more than one winter. Now the Thirty Years War entered another phase and Friedrich became a political refugee.

When Friedrich V moved away from Heidelberg, it is said that his mother, Luise Juliane von Oranien , exclaimed:

"Oh, the Palatinate is moving to Bohemia."

Liselotte of the Palatinate

Elisabeth Charlotte, Liselotte of the Palatinate

Elisabeth Charlotte von der Pfalz was Duchess of Orléans and sister-in-law to Ludwig XIV. When the Wittelsbach line of Palatinate-Simmern became extinct, Ludwig XIV laid claim to the Palatinate and began the Palatinate War of Succession , in which the Palatinate was largely destroyed, and Liselotte had to look on helplessly how their homeland was haunted in their name.

Liselotte, the granddaughter of Frederick V, was born in Heidelberg Castle, but grew up with her aunt Sophie in Hanover and often returned to Heidelberg with her father. At the age of 19 she was married to the brother of the French king for political reasons and had an unhappy marriage with him. When her brother Karl died childless, Louis XIV raised claims to the Palatinate and tried to enforce these claims with war. Thirty-six years later in France, she still felt that Heidelberg was her home and wrote in a letter to the Raugräfin :

“Why didn't the elector read the lock against right? It’s going to be hard work. "

- Dirk Van der Cruysse : Being a Madame is a great craft

Liselotte's letters from the French court, with vivid descriptions of the customs of the time, have been handed down. Most of them she wrote to her aunt Sophie, the Electress of Hanover , and her half-sister, the Raugräfin Luise zu Pfalz.

Liselotte's childhood took place in a more middle-class setting. Karl Ludwig loved to go for a walk with his children in the city of Heidelberg and on the slopes of the Odenwald . Liselotte, who later described herself as a “great bumblebee”, rode at a gallop over the hills around Heidelberg and enjoyed her freedom. Often she would sneak out of the castle early in the morning to climb a cherry tree and stuff herself with cherries. In 1717 she remembers her youth in Heidelberg as a duchess and writes:

“My god, how often I have eaten cherries in the mountain at 5 o'clock in the morning with a good piece of bread! Back then I was funnier than I am now. "

- Dirk Van der Cruysse : Being a Madame is a great craft

Charles de Graimberg

Savior of the castle, Charles de Graimberg

The French engraver Charles de Graimberg fled the French Revolution and emigrated to England with his family. In 1810 he left for Karlsruhe to begin training with Christian Haldenwang, the court copper engraver from Baden. He was a friend and neighbor of Graimberg's brother, Louis. When Graimberg went to Heidelberg to sketch the castle for a landscape painting, he stayed there for the remaining 54 years of his life. With his copper engravings of the castle ruins, he documented their condition and laid the foundation for the castle's romanticism, which was supposed to save the ruins from final disintegration.

In his home (today: Palais Graimberg, at the beginning of the walk to the castle) he set up a cabinet of curiosities with finds from the castle, which later became the basis of the Palatinate Museum . Incidentally, he financed his collection of “antiquities” on the history of the city and the castle from his own assets. It is thanks to him that the lock is still standing. He also carried out the first historical excavations in the castle and lived in the castle courtyard for a while in order to prevent the citizens of Heidelberg from pulling out building materials for their houses from the castle.

On behalf of Graimberg, Thomas A. Leger wrote the first castle guide based on written sources. Victor Hugo acquired a copy of this guide from 1836 “ Le guide des voyageurs dans la ruine de Heidelberg ” (German: “ Guide for strangers through the ruins of Heidelberg Castle ”) during his stay in Heidelberg. This notated copy is on display today at the Maison de Victor Hugo in Paris.

Charles de Graimberg is commemorated by a plaque attached to the passage to the balcony in 1868:

In memory of Karl Graf von Graimberg,
b. to Schloss Paar in France in 1774,
died in Heidelberg in 1864.


Public transport connection

cable railway

A funicular has been running from Kornmarkt on the edge of the old town to the castle since 1890 .

Bus connection

In addition to the mountain railway connection, Heidelberg Castle also has its own bus stop called "Heidelberg, Schloss"

line course comment
30th Schlierbach, HITS - Carl-Bosch Museum - Old Town S-Bahn station - Universitätsplatz - Castle - Observatory - MPI Astronomy Only Mon-Fri mostly as a minibus
757 (Schatthausen-) Gauangelloch - Gaiberg - Castle - Central Station Two buses only on school days

Castle lighting

The illuminated castle ruin with a castle lighting
The castle seen at night from the Neckar (i.e. from the north)

The castle lighting that takes place several times a year, a fireworks display with the castle at its center, is also a staging of the destruction of the castle in 1693. Mark Twain saw the castle lighting in 1878 and described it as follows:

"[...] with breathtaking suddenness a handful of brightly colored rockets shot out of the black gullies of the castle towers amidst a howl of thunder. At the same time, every detail of the huge ruin against the mountain emerged. Again and again thick bundles of rockets shot out of the towers into the night, and the sky shone in the light of shining arrows, which hissed into the zenith, paused for a moment and then bent gracefully downwards to burst in a veritable fountain of colored sparks . "

- Mark Twain : Stroll through Europe

The castle lighting is also mentioned in the song Memories of Heidelberg by Peggy March , which was released as a single on July 7, 1967 : At the fireworks, in the old castle / I saw you, seconds.

The first castle lighting took place in June 1815 when Emperor Franz I of Austria, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. von Prussia, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and many other princes stayed in Heidelberg for several weeks to agree on the Holy Alliance against Napoleon , who had just left his exile on the island of Elba . In order to offer the regents present something special, the Heidelberg magistrate decided to illuminate the castle ruins. This was done with the simplest means by setting fire to wood and other combustible materials in the castle courtyard.

Another castle lighting was arranged in May 1830 by the castle garden engineer Metzger, in honor of the visit of the emperors of Austria and Russia as well as the king of Prussia. The current castle lighting is a reminder of the destruction of the castle by the French general Ezéchiel de Mélac in 1689 and 1693 during the War of the Palatinate Succession .

The Heidelberger Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung describes the historical background of the castle lighting in an article and also goes into the present:

“For decades now, around 50 fire brigade helpers have been working on every castle lighting. It is an honor to be there, and the father often 'passes on' the honorary position to his son and grandchildren. Around 30 years ago, Horst Hasselbach was asked if he would like to help. He hasn't missed a single lighting since then. Exactly at 10:15 p.m. (after the clock of the Holy Spirit Church) he gives the signal 'Attention!' With a signal rocket. Then all helpers light their fuses. Again exactly 30 seconds later the second shot comes and everyone holds their fuse to the Bengali fire - and the lock glows in the red light. "

- Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, August 30, 2005

Castle Festival

During the summer Heidelberg Castle Festival, all kinds of open-air performances are offered in the castle courtyard . The Castle Festival is organized by the Heidelberg City Theater and was founded in 1926 with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare .

The best known abroad - especially in the USA - is The Student Prince (German: " The Student Prince "), an operetta about the fictional Crown Prince Karl Franz von Karlsberg, who falls in love with the landlord's daughter Kathie while studying in Heidelberg and this relationship has to give up for reasons of state . This piece is performed in English (or with German lyrics and English songs) in the castle courtyard and mainly attracts visitors from overseas. The operetta goes back to the Alt-Heidelberg play by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster , which was performed for the first time on November 22, 1901 at the Berlin theater and was a must for all German students in Japan during the Meiji period , which is what makes Heidelberg and Heidelberg well known Castle there increased considerably. The play is hardly known in Germany today, but it was one of the most frequently performed German theater plays in the first half of the 20th century.

Todays use

Heidelberg Castle is open for tours. It is one of the state's own monuments and is looked after by the “ State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg ”.

See also


in alphabetical order by authors / editors

Older literature

  • Salomon de Caus: Hortus Palatinus . Frankfurt 1620. (Reprint = Green Series 1. Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1980, ISBN 3-88462-001-0 )
    • Reinhard Zimmermann: Salomon de Caus: Hortus Palatinus . (Comment) (Reprint = Green Series 2. Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1986, ISBN 3-88462-043-6 )
  • Julius Koch, Fritz Seitz (Ed.): The Heidelberg Castle. With the approval of the Grand Ducal Baden Ministry of Finance . 2 volumes. Bergsträsser, Darmstadt 1887 and 1891.
  • Communications from the Heidelberg Castle Association. 7 volumes. 1886-1936.
  • Adolf von Oechelhäuser : The Heidelberg Castle. Architectural and art history guide . Siebert, Heidelberg 1891, digitized version of the 6th edition, 1923 from Heidelberg University Library .
    • Adolf von Oechelhäuser: The Heidelberg Castle. 9th edition. Edited by Joachim Göricke. Guderjahn, 1998.
  • Adolf von Oechelhäuser (edit.): The art monuments of the district of Heidelberg (district of Heidelberg). (= The art monuments of the Grand Duchy of Baden. 8, Section 2). Mohr, Tübingen 1913.
  • Marc Rosenberg : Sources on the history of the Heidelberg Castle . Heidelberg 1882, Digitalisat the Heidelberg University Library .
  • Robert Salzer: "The castle blown, the city burned" - On the history of Heidelberg in the years 1688 and 1689 and from 1689 to 1693. Reprint of the editions from 1878 and 1879. Commented by Roland Vetter. Guderjahn, Heidelberg 1993, ISBN 3-924973-24-5 .
  • Adolf Zeller : The Heidelberg Castle. Becoming, decay and future. In twelve lectures . Braun, Karlsruhe 1905.

Newer literature

  • Michael Falser: Preservation of monuments of the German Imperial Era around 1900: Heidelberg Castle, ›Denkmalwuth‹ and the controversy between Georg Dehio and Alois Riegl. In: Michael Falser: Between Identity and Authenticity. On the political history of monument preservation in Germany . Dissertation from TU Berlin . Thelem, Dresden 2008, ISBN 978-3-939888-41-3 , pp. 43-70, online file.
  • Markus Forbriger, Hubert Mara, Bastian Rieck, Christoph Siart, Olaf Wagener: The " Blown Up Tower" at Heidelberg Castle. Investigation of a cultural monument using high-resolution terrestrial laser scans. In: Denkmalpflege in Baden-Württemberg , 42, Issue 3, 2013, pp. 165–168, doi: 10.11588 / nbdpfbw.2013.3 , (PDF; 387 kB).
  • Joachim Göricke: For the planned securing of the ruins of the English building on the Heidelberg Castle. In: Denkmalpflege in Baden-Württemberg 8, Issue 1, 1979, pp. 8–11, (PDF).
  • Julian Hanschke: Heidelberg Castle: Architecture and Building History . Karlsruhe 2015, ISBN 978-3-00-050927-8 ; see Hanschke's video, 4:35 min. , 2016.
  • Uwe Heckmann: Romanticism. Heidelberg Castle in the Romantic Age . Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 1999, ISBN 3-7954-1251-X .
  • Hanns Hubach, M. Quast: Electoral Palatinate Sketchbook. Views of Heidelberg and the Electoral Palatinate around 1600 . Braus, Heidelberg 1996.
  • Hanns Hubach: Elector Ottheinrich as Hercules Palatinus. Preliminary remarks on the iconography of the figure cycle on the facade of the Ottheinrich building in Heidelberg Castle . In: Barbara Zeitelhack (Ed.): Pfalzgraf Ottheinrich: Politics, Art and Science in the 16th Century , Regensburg 2002, pp. 231–248, online file (PDF) from the Heidelberg University Library .
  • Victor Hugo : Heidelberg. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-7973-0825-6 .
  • Stephan Hoppe : The architecture of Heidelberg Castle in the first half of the 16th century. New dates and interpretations. (online at ART-Dok) In: Volker Rödel (Red.): Middle Ages. Heidelberg Castle and the Palatinate County near the Rhine until the Reformation. (= Treasures from our castles. Volume 7). Regensburg 2002, pp. 183-190 and pp. 205-210.
  • Karl Kölmel: Heidelberg Castle Guide . Brewing print, 1956.
  • Middle Ages. Heidelberg Castle and the Palatinate County near the Rhine until the Reformation. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2002.
  • Elmar Mittler (ed.) Heidelberg - history and shape . Winter, Heidelberg 1996.
  • Burkhard Pape: The fortifications on Heidelberg Castle. Construction, architecture and function of the fortifications and the history of the sieges . Wiltschko, Neckargemünd-Dilsberg 2006, ISBN 3-00-017727-2 .
  • Franz Schlechter, Hanns Hubach, Volker Sellin: Heidelberg. The castle . Umschau, 2001, ISBN 3-89466-144-5 .
  • Heiko P. Wacker: The Heidelberg Castle: Castle - Residence - Monument . Regional culture publishing house, Ubstadt-Weiher 2012, ISBN 978-3-89735-721-1 .
  • Matthias Wallner, Heike Werner: Architecture and History in Germany. Munich 2006, ISBN 3-9809471-1-4 , pp. 66-67.
  • Gerhard Walther: The Heidelberg Castle Garden. Winter, Heidelberg 1990, ISBN 3-8253-7011-9 .
  • Achim Wendt: From the castle kitchen to the large canteen. The economic wing at Heidelberg Castle (1520 - 1620). In: Communications of the German Society for Archeology of the Middle Ages and Modern Times ( DGAMN ), 2007, pp. 77–95, ISSN  1619-1439 , doi: 10.11588 / dgamn.2007.0.17694 , online file, (PDF; 1,2 MB).
  • Wolfgang Wiese, Karin Stober: Heidelberg Castle. Guide to State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-422-03107-3 .


  • Wild castles - Heidelberg Castle. Documentary, Germany, 2017, 42:55 min., Written and directed: Miriam Zimmermann, Brian McClatchy, Robert Wiezorek, production: taglicht media, arte , ZDF , series: Wilde Schlösser , first broadcast: October 30, 2017 by arte, summary by ARD . To the biotope, medical history and history of the castle.
  • Heidelberg Castle: The historical development. Animated film with aerial shots, Germany, 2016, 4:35 min., Director: Julian Hanschke, production: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg , Internet publication: November 23, 2016 on YouTube, online video.

Web links

Commons : Heidelberg Castle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jörg Tröger: 06/09/1693: French troops destroy Heidelberg Castle. ( Memento from March 25, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). In: SWR2 Zeitwort , September 6, 2013, (PDF; 21 kB), audio file, 4 min. ( Memento from November 7, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ Bernd Müller: Architectural Guide Heidelberg, Buildings around 1000–2000. City of Heidelberg (Ed.), Edition Quadrat, Mannheim 1998, ISBN 3-923003-78-1 , p. 46.
  3. The longing led to Heidelberg. The romantic. In: schloss-heidelberg.de / State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg , accessed on August 28, 2019.
  4. a b Hartmut Goege: Heidelberg Castle. Romantic ruin. A thunderstorm 250 years ago and its consequences. In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur , June 24, 2014.
  5. de castrum Stalecka in castrum Heidelberg ”, Saint Vita of Eberhard von Kumbd (from approx. 1220). See: Franz Schneider: The Vita Eberhardi de Commeda (also called de Stalecke) as a Rhenish historical source for the second half of the 12th century. In: ZGO 110, NF 71, 1962, p. 37ff.
  6. Thomas Steinmetz: Castles in the Odenwald. Verlag Ellen Schmid, Brensbach 1998, ISBN 3-931529-02-9 , p. 62f.
  7. ^ A b Victor Hugo: Heidelberg
  8. ^ Christian Pantle: The Thirty Years War. When Germany was on fire . Propylaen Ullstein Buchverlage GmbH, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-549-07443-5 , p. 188 .
  9. ^ Clemens Brentano : Song of a student's arrival in Heidelberg ... 1806, quoted in: Heidelberger Geschichtsverein .
  10. Urs Büttner: Poiesis of the 'social'. Achim von Arnim's early poetics up to the Heidelberg Romanticism (1800–1808) . Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2015, ISBN 978-3-11-031457-1 , limited preview in the Google book search.
  11. ^ Ingrid Scheurmann : Preserve, not restore. The Heidelberg Castle. ( Memento of November 7, 2017 in the Internet Archive ). In: German Foundation for Monument Protection , November 2009; to the trend-setting fundamental dispute about a complete or partial restoration or only conservation of the Heidelberg Castle around 1900.
  12. ^ Mark Twain: Stroll through Europe , 1878.
  13. ^ Dudler in Heidelberg. Castle visitor center ready. In: BauNetz , February 24, 2012, with photos.
  14. Birgit Sommer: The visitor center is ready. "A highlight of international standing". In: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung , February 24, 2012.
  15. ^ Rüdiger Soldt: Heidelberg Christmas market relocated because of bats. In: faz.net . October 19, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2016 .
  16. ^ Hans Weckesser: Beloved water tower , Mannheimer Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH (MMV), Mannheim 1991, ISBN 978-3-87804-206-8 .
      Source: Johann Andreas von Traitteur: The water pipes of Mannheim: with a map of the area near Mannheim, Schwetzingen, Rohrbach ... 1798, limited preview in the Google book search.
  17. In detail about the expansion to a fortress: Ulrich Schütte: The castle as a fortification. Fortified castle buildings from the early modern period. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1994, ISBN 3-534-11692-5 , pp. 89-101.
  18. ^ Georg Dehio : Handbook of German Art Monuments . Baden-Württemberg I. The administrative districts of Stuttgart and Karlsruhe . Edited by Dagmar Zimdars u. a.
  19. ^ Wilhelm Sigmund: The angel heads at the Ruprechtsbau. ( Memento of June 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). Quoted in: heidelberger-altstadt.de .
  20. Quoted in: Adolf von Oechelhäuser , Das Heidelberger Schloss. Architectural and art history guide. 6th edition, Hörning, Heidelberg 1923, p. 163, footnote.
    Source: Karl Bernhard Stark : The Heidelberg Castle in its art u. cultural history Meaning , in: HZ 6, 1861, pp. 94–141.
  21. ^ Stephan Hoppe: The architecture of the Heidelberg Castle in the first half of the 16th century. New dates and interpretations. In: Volker Rödel (Ed.): Middle Ages. Heidelberg Castle and the Palatinate County near the Rhine until the Reformation . Publication accompanying the permanent exhibition. Regensburg 2002, pp. 183-190.
  22. Quoted from Marc Rosenberg : Sources on the history of the Heidelberg Castle. Heidelberg 1882, p. 97, see: Digital copy from Heidelberg University Library .
  23. Reinhard Hoppe: Perkeo. ( Memento from June 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). Quoted in: heidelberger-altstadt.de .
  24. ^ Günter Heinemann: Heidelberg. Prestel, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-7913-0622-7 .
  25. ^ Daniel Häberle: The witch bite. ( Memento from April 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). Quoted in: heidelberger-altstadt.de .
  26. ^ Wilhelm Sigmund: The knight jump. ( Memento of July 16, 2006 in the Internet Archive ). Quoted in: heidelberger-altstadt.de .
  27. Bushel anecdotes. ( Memento of September 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). Quoted in: heidelberger-altstadt.de .
  28. a b Dirk Van der Cruysse: »To be a madame is a great craft. «Liselotte von der Pfalz - a German princess at the court of the Sun King . Translated from the French by Inge Leipold. Piper, Munich 1990, ISBN 978-3-492-12141-5 , limited preview in the Google book search.
  29. Mark Twain: Stroll through Europe .
  30. Memories of Heidelberg, in: Der Sonntag (Karlsruhe), June 25, 2017, p. 4.
  31. Marion Gottlob: Local researcher Horst Hasselbach has died. In: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung , December 17, 2017.
  32. Because the magic of fire makes the crowned happy ... In: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung , August 30, 2005.

Coordinates: 49 ° 24 ′ 36 "  N , 8 ° 42 ′ 58"  E