View of the Barrel Building at Heidelberg Castle

Celebrating in the King's HallThe Barrel Building

The (Great) Heidelberg Tun in the Barrel Building is a special attraction at Heidelberg Castle. The prince-electors celebrated lively parties in the neighboring King's Hall. Today, this great hall can be rented for private celebrations.

Copper engraving of the (Great) Heidelberg Tun at Heidelberg Castle, 18th century

The (Great) Heidelberg Tun, 18th-century copper engraving.

Massive storage capacity

The best view of the Barrel Building is from the Great Terrace. The Gothic windows installed when the functional building was constructed in the 16th century, were entirely out of fashion. The reason why its builder, Johann Kasimir, uncle and guardian to Friedrich IV, chose them remains a mystery to this day. A giant barrel was installed in the building's basement in 1591, holding 130,000 liters of tithe wine from the Palatinate.

View of the (Great) Heidelberg Tun in the Barrel Building at Heidelberg Castle

Close-up, the true size of the (Great) Heidelberg Tun becomes apparent.

The famous (Great) Heidelberg Tun

The original (Great) Heidelberg Tun fell victim to the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War. In 1664, it was replaced by an even larger barrel with 200,000 liters capacity. Nearly 100 years later, Prince-Elector Carl Theodor, who had long since taken up residence in Mannheim Palace, had the third and current (Great) Heidelberg Tun constructed. 220,000 liters of wine were stored here. Surprising detail: Stairs lead to a platform above the barrel. It was likely previously used as a dance floor. 

Perkeo, the barrel guard, in the Barrel Building at Heidelberg Castle

There are many legends about this court jester.

Carl Philipp's wine-loving court jester

Little Perkeo was brought to the Heidelberg court from South Tyrol by Prince-Elector Carl Philipp at the start of the 18th century. As court jester, he provided entertainment for court society with his pranks and jokes. He is famous for his ability to hold his liquor and there are several stories to back it up. A painted wooden figure of Perkeo now stands guard over the (Great) Heidelberg Tun.

Royal celebrations in the King's Hall

The Ladies´ Wing is located next to the Barrel Building and was built circa 1515. It is named for the living quarters located on the upper floors, which were reserved for ladies in waiting. The King's Hall, Heidelberg Castle's large ceremonial hall, is located on the ground floor. Very practical: During celebrations, wine could be pumped through a pipe directly from the (Great) Heidelberg Tun into the neighboring Ladies’ Wing and the King's Hall located there. The hall was named in 1619, after Prince-Elector Friedrich V had been elected King of Bohemia.

Interior of the King's Hall in the Ladies’ Wing at Heidelberg Castle

The King's Hall in the Ladies’ Wing.

Dreaming of a lively party with historic ambiance? The King's Hall offers space for 600 guests. More information is available from castle administration.

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