Truly romantic: the world-famous ruins

Heidelberg Palace

Blick über den Englischen Bau von Schloss Heidelberg auf die Heidelberger Altstadt; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
Residential palace with a view of Heidelberg

The English Building

Its name references the resident of high nobility for whom Prince-Elector Friedrich V had the palace built between 1612 and 1614: his English bride, Elizabeth Stuart. The view of Heidelberg, the Neckar valley and the Rhine plain through the windows of the English Building is fantastic.

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

The English Building.

A palace for a princess

Young Prince-Elector Friedrich V married Princess Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James I of England, in 1613. He wanted to offer his regal wife a suitable residential palace at his Heidelberg residence. The open spaces around the palace courtyard, however, were already occupied, so that the new structure had to be built outside the actual palace, along the north wall. Today, the English Building is best admired from the Artillery Garden.

View of the English Building at Heidelberg Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ursula Wetzel

The building offers dramatic insights and views.

Splendid decor

The English Building's base is a trapezoid. Today, the window facades jut up into blue skies. The roof was lost in the destruction of the Nine Years' War between 1688 and 1697 as well as the palace fires of 1764. The few remnants of stucco decor along the window jambs of the ruins demonstrate how lavish the decor once was.

View from the Fat Tower at Heidelberg Palace down to the historic district and the Neckar river. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

View from the Fat Tower at Heidelberg Palace down to the historic district and the Neckar river.

The Fat Tower

The fascinating rampart on the west side of the English Building is call the Fat Tower. Friedrich's predecessor, Ludwig V, fortified his residence with this mighty tower in 1533. The walls are roughly seven meters thick. Friedrich V placed a 16-cornered room with large windows on the substructure and these offer a breathtaking view into the distance. This is where the electoral court dined and celebrated with guests. Theater performances and concerts entertained courtly society.

TIPP

Many of the special tours offered by the State Palace and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg take visitors through the English Building.