Heidelberg's Stunning Historic Sites

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle

[ source: Wikipedia]

As one explores the beautiful city of Heidelberg (Heidelberg vacation rentals | Heidelberg travel guide) and its historic sites, you can briefly stop in the Old Town to see the building that Louis XIV did not destroy and where stands the Hotel Ritter - one of the famous landmarks of the Old Town square which also has a gothic style Church of the Holy Ghost. Further down is the Old Bridge which offers a spectacular view of the Heidelberg Castle on the other side of the Neckar River. The funicular station which is the gateway to Heidelberg Castle is also located less than 5 minutes from the Old Town Square. The original building was built over 400 years ago by a cloth dealer and has undergone several renovations retaining its original architectural beauty and renaissance style which makes the Hotel Ritter one of the most historic sites and artistic buildings of this charming town and is an ideal place to stay especially as it is located right in the centre and in close proximity to major tourist attractions.

Just across the Old Bridge in the Old Town is the famous Vetter Alt Heidelberg, a famous Brauhaus and a must-visit place in Heidelberg not only for its ambience but the fine cuisine served. Here you will get traditional German food and it is extremely popular with tourists as they brew their own beer. A meal would cost you in the vicinity of 6 to 8 Euros; good value for money indeed. Further down is another one of Heidelberg's major historic sites, Holy Ghost Church which was started in the 1400s and then it was Catholic and now it is Heidelberg's main Protestant church. Until 1623, the church's galleries contained Europe's largest collection of handwritten books and documents, the Biblioteca Platina. After passing the Rathaus or Town Hall where civil marriages are held, we saw the statue of the Madonna on the Corn Market Square which has been part of Heidelberg since 1718 and it was the Jesuits who built this statue here to motivate people of Heidelberg to switch to Catholicism. Next we took the 90 seconds funicular up to the Heidelberg Castle, by far the most famous of Heidelberg's historic sites. The Heidelberg Castle, now a ruin, is one of the most important of the Renaissance structures and was built before 1214 AD and later expanded into two castles. Thereafter it was destroyed by lightening, wars and fires before being rebuilt. The castle is located approximately 260 feet on a hillside known as Konigstuhl and you can get a spectacular view of the old town from this castle. The highlight of the tour was the story of Frederick V, also known as the “Winter King” who at 16 years fell in love with the daughter of the King of England, Elizabeth Stuart and he built for her an English building connected by a tower as much as 7 metres thick and also commissioned the Elizabeth Gate at the peace garden.

He was nicknamed the Winter King as his rule merely lasted one winter after which there was the Thirty Years War – the most brutal war in German history. Later, Liselotte, the granddaughter of Frederick V, was born in Heidelberg and grew up in Hannover (Hannover vacation rentals | Hannover travel guide) but often returned to Heidelberg. The other highlight was the biggest wine barrel in the world which can be visited in the cellar of the Heidelberg Castle and was originally built in 1591. Thereafter, the barrel was made bigger in 1751 and can store almost the 225000 litres of wine. In the 18 Century, the vat's guardian was a dwarf named Perkeo, a court jester with tremendous thirst for wine. Perkeo had the capacity of consuming eighteen bottles of wine to empty the cask for almost fifty years till one day he consumed water and that led to his demise. Today, an antique statue of Perkeo stands next to the Great Cask. Such interesting legends are part of the guided tours of the castle.Our last stop was at the North Patio - the large balcony which overlooks the Old Town. Here one finds a footprint and local legends say that the footprint was that of a knight who tried to save the princess from a burning castle. Another legend is that the Queen was having an affair and the King caught them in the act.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Hauptstraße 178, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany

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