Before I visited I did not know that Heidelberg’s grand castle complex is actually a ruin. In 1689, after decades of warfare, the French army blew up and set fire to much of the castle so that no army may ever be sent from here to invade France again.
For over three hundred years now, much longer than the main structures of the castle ever stood intact, Heidelberg Castle remains as one of Europe’s grandest ruins.
Perhaps it is fitting I ended up taking most of my pictures of the castle, and Heidelberg, under overcast skies.
Altough the sun did peak out sometimes, like for this selfie.
And this is us about to enjoy a local treat, Kurfürstenknödel, with the castle looking on.
You enter the castle grounds through the Elizabeth Gate, built overnight February 14, 1613, as a birthday gift by Prince-Elector Friedrich V for his wife Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter England’s King James I.
According to Wikipedia, in 1689 portions of Heidelberg were also burned, but the mercy of a French general who told the townspeople to set small fires in their homes to create smoke and the illusion of widespread burning, prevented wider destruction.
The Fat Tower, one of several that were blown up.
Entering the inner courtyard.
Inside the castle, the largest wine barrel I’ve ever seen.
Also inside the castle grounds, Germany’s main apothecary museum. Yes, you can find many apothecary museums in Germany, but this is the big one.
These columns are originally ancient Roman, from the 1st Century, repurposed here in the 16th.
Let’s take some more views of Heidelberg from within the old town, which is a very large pedestrian zone.
The Church of the Holy Spirit
Across the Neckar river, you can take the Philosopher’s Walk with splendid views of the old town and castle.
Final parting glances…