Gemälde des Hortus Palatinus von Schloss Heidelberg, unbekannter Meister um 1600

An Italian garden in HeidelbergThe Hortus Palatinus

In the 17th century, Heidelberg Palace was famous for its unusual palace garden: the Hortus Palatinus. This "Palatine garden" set itself apart because of its terraced design, ornate beds and water features.

Image: Design by Salomon de Caus for fountain figures

Salomon de Caus' garden designs have been preserved.

An uncompleted synthesis of art

After Friedrich V was elected King of Bohemia and had left the Electoral Palatinate, work on the Hortus Palatinus ceased. In the 18th century, some of the lavish ornamental sculptures were moved to the palaces in Mannheim and Schwetzingen. The garden grounds served primarily as a vegetable garden. The engravings created by Salomon de Caus give a sense of the planned artistic synthesis; a constant temptation to dream about reconstructing the garden.

[Translate to Englisch:] Schloss Heidelberg, Garten, Grottengalerie

[Translate to Englisch:] Von der einstigen Bädergalerie sind nur noch Fragmente erhalten.

Ornate ornamental beds and fanciful grottoes

The individual garden sections were designed in a variety of ways following the style of Italian Renaissance gardens. Ornamental beds, labyrinths, pergolas and exotic plants drew the promenading court society. Fanciful grottoes and pavilions invited strollers to linger. To this day, the locations of the former labyrinth, the orange garden and the rotating flower beds can be identified, though their splendor is gone forever.

Detail of a painting of Heidelberg Palace with the Hortus Palatinus, Jacques Fouquières, oil on canvas, 1620

Knot beds and labyrinths were part of the Hortus Palatinus.

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