Heidelberg Castle

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Germany >> Heidelberg >> Attractions >> Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

History

Heidelberg Castle, known as Heidelberg Schloss is visited by several million tourists annually and with good reason too. It’s undoubtedly one of the most magnificent and majestic of medieval buildings in all of Germany. Although the oldest standing parts of the castle date back to the 1400s, each building highlights a different period of German architecture. Much of the structure was built between the 16th and 17th centuries, when Heidelberg was the capital of the Palatinate. The castle was first destroyed in 1622 by Tilly’s troops, later by the French in 1689 and 1693 and finally by lightning in 1764. In 1800, Count Charles de Graimberg began the difficult task of conserving the castle ruins. Up until this time, the citizens of Heidelberg had used the castle stones to build new houses. The castle has been rebuilt a number of times and this aptly shows in its variety of architectural styles. A huge complex, built largely of red sandstone, the Heidelberg Schloss sits amidst gardens and a number of palaces and other buildings, all built in an ornate Gothic-Renaissance style. Amongst the main attractions in the Castle are the Palace of Friedrich IV (a rather severe edifice, whose terrace offers an excellent view of the surrounding countryside) and the Ottheinrich Building. Ottheinrich Building, a fine example of Gothic architecture, contains a dazzling Hall of Mirrors. The castle gardens, the Great Vat (the world's largest wine barrel) and the remarkable Pharmacy Museum are also worth a visit. Heidelberg Castle (Schloss) offers breathtaking views over the university city of Heidelberg, the Neckar River and the Neckar Valley far into the Rhine plain from the summit.

Best time to visit

The main tourist season runs from May to late October, when the weather is at its best. Winters get to be really cold.

Trivia

The castle is brightly lit up followed by fireworks on first Saturdays in June and September and the second Saturday in July. The castle is lighted in memory of the three times it went up in flames (1689, 1693 and 1764). The sight is attended by thousands of visitors and is simply remarkable.

Timing

The castle can be visited all days from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Courtyard: 8:00am - 6:00pm (last entry 5:30pm); Big Vat: 8:00am - 6:00pm (last entry 5:50pm); Pharmacy Museum: 10:00am - 5:30pm (last entry 5:10pm)


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