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Truly romantic: the world-famous ruins

Heidelberg Palace

Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
Booming construction by the prince-electors

The buildings

Heidelberg Palace is not a coherent structure. Over the centuries, prince-electors continued to add residential palaces in the respective style of their time. Today, the palace is a fascinating architectural ensemble, surrounded by proud walls and towers.

View of the stag pit at Heidelberg Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

A deep, dry moat protects the palace.

Mighty fortifications

A walk around the actual palace is worth visitors' time. The palace garden terraces offer the best view of the mighty fortifications. To this day, defensive towers bear witness to fateful sieges and successful defenses. The pointed roofs of the casemates can be seen deep down in the castle moat. In the 17th century, the fortifications were partially repurposed: the north casemate, for example, served as a pedestal for the English Building.

View of the Friedrich Building at Heidelberg Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

The richly decorated facade of the Friedrich Building.

Stately Renaissance residential palaces

The two ostentatious Renaissance palaces in the palace courtyard, with their lavishly decorated show facades, are especially eye-catching. To the right, the older Ottheinrich Building fascinates with upper stories full of glassless windows that jut skyward. Front and center, the larger-than-life figures on the imposing Friedrich Building demand closer investigation. And between them, a connecting structure, the Hall of Glass, sports beautiful arcades.

View of the palace courtyard at Heidelberg Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl

View of the palace courtyard.

Atmospheric palace courtyard

The atmospheric, cobbled palace courtyard is accessed via the bridge gatehouse and the gate tower. Visitors are met with a fascinating panorama of Early Modern architecture. To the left are the older residential buildings from the Middle Ages, such as the Ruprecht Building, the library and the Ladies' Building. To the right are the economic building and the picturesque fountain house.

Breathtaking view from the Great Terrace

A passageway in the Friedrich Building leads to the Great Terrace, which offers a fantastic view of Heidelberg's historic district. On clear days, visitors can see far into the Rhine plain. Below the Great Terrace is the remnant of the Karlschanze (entrenchment), a fortification built during Prince-Elector Karl II's time.

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Below the palace, the Rhine plain stretches to the horizon.

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