The Heidelberg Castle is one of the most famous ruins of Germany and the landmark of Heidelberg. Not until it’s devastation in the War of the Palatinate Succession the castle was the residence of the electoral princes of Palatinate. Today with the term “Palatinate” they describe the former palatine territories around Heidelberg and Mannheim. The residential city of the Electoral Palatinate first was Heidelberg, then Mannheim.
The Heidelberg Castel is probably the most famous ruin of Germany. It is visited by millions of people a year.
In former days here used to be instead of the ruin a castle which was allotted the Duke of Bavaria in 1255 with his County Palatinate. There used to be one of the noblest courts of Germany before the devastation of the castle.
The castle was augmented by further additions with each change of government of the elector princes. In this way a huge building complex was formed. Some buildings were given names of the elector princes who were governing at that time.
Thus, the oldest and nowadays still recognizable dwelling house bears the name of the elector prince Karl Ruprecht III (governed 1398 – 1410). Today it is called Ruprechtsbau.
The Ludwigsbau is named after the elector prince Ludwig V. (governed 1508 – 1544). He has the fortifications and the agriculture buildings renovated, so he could have more reinforcement against invaders.
The Gläserne Saalbau was built during the government of the elector prince Friedrich II. The building started in the period of time between 1544 and 1556 and it signified the passage to the style of Renaissance.
The Ottheinrichsbau was named after the elector prince Ottheintich. He has this part of the castle completed after his appointment as the elector prince in 1556. The Ottheinrichsbauwas one of the first buildings of the Renaissance style in Germany.
The Friedrichsbau was builtduring the period ofthe elector prince Friedrich IV. in the early 17th century.
His successor the elector prince Friedirch V. (governed 1610 – 1632) has the famousSchlossgarten, the Englischer Bau and, to honor of his wife, the Elizabethentor built. He has also the defensive ditches filled in for having enough place for all of that gorgeousness of the buildings. However, that way the ability of the castle to defend itself was reduce.
During the Thirty Years War Heidelberg and also with it the castle was conquered by General Tilly in 1622. The castle was shattered, set on fire and devastated during the capture of the town by the French troops in 1688/89 and during the War of Succession in 1693.
The Heidelberg castle could not be rebuilt any more. Nevertheless, the ruin witnesses and is reminiscent of the glory which used to be there once.