Heidelberg Castle with Friends

I mentioned in my In and Around Munich post that my cousin took me to see Neuschwanstein Castle. I was spoiled again when my friends who live near Stuttgart took me to Heidelberg to visit this charming German town and Heidelberg Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Germany.

Heidelberg is located about 120 km north west of Stuttgart, right on the Neckar River. The town is known for Heidelberg University, Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386, and the red sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle.

Heidelberg panorama by the Neckar River
Heidelberg panorama by the Neckar river: The Gothic Heiliggeistkirche church on the left, Marktplatz in the centre, and the Old Bridge on the right.

HEIDELBERG OLD TOWN

Upon arriving in Heidelberg, we strolled in the Old Town and admired the beautiful buildings. The Gothic Heiliggeistkirche church towers over the vibrant town centre Marktplatz. One can spend many days in this town to examine its architectural details. From the main square, we could see Heidelberg Castle standing on Königstuhl hill.

Heidelberg
Heidelberg Castle on Königstuhl hill in the background

HEIDELBERG CASTLE

To conserve our energy and time, we took the funicular from the ground level to Heidelberg Castle. Below are some of my photos during our exploration of the various buildings on the castle site. I organized them in chronological order with the earliest structure first.

The Ruprecht Building single-story, simple medieval structure was built under King Ruprecht I, who ruled between 1400 and 1410. It is the oldest surviving residential palace within Heidelberg Castle.

Rupretch Buidling at Heidelberg Castle
Surviving tower by the Ruprecht Building at Heidelberg Castle

The Powder Tower (aka the ‘Exploded’ Tower) was built under Prince Ludwig V, who ruled between 1508 and 1544. It once functioned as a gun turret. “Kraut,” or powder, specifically gunpowder, was stored in the basement. French mines destroyed the roughly 7-meter-thick wall during the war between 1688 and 1697.

The Powder Tower at Heidelberg Castle
The Powder Tower at Heidelberg Castle

The Hall of Glass was named for its magnificent second-story hall, once adorned with Venetian mirror glass. It was constructed by Prince Friedrich II, who ruled between 1544 and 1556. Its Italian arcades connect the two most beautiful buildings within Heidelberg Castle: the Friedrich Building (left) and the Ottheinrich Building (right).

The House of Glass at Heidelberg Castle
The Hall of Glass with its Italian arcades in the centre

The Ottheinrich Building was erected during the rule of Ottheinrich (1556–1559). The elaborate decorative figures on the stately facade were created by sculptor Alexander Colin. The roof was damaged by fire from French troops in 1693 and was finally destroyed by a lightning strike in 1764.

Ottheinrich Building at Heidelberg Castle
The Ottheinrich Building at Heidelberg Castle

The German Apothecary Museum has resided in the basement of the Ottheinrich Building since 1958. The castle admission ticket includes a visit to this interesting exhibition on the history of pharmaceutics.

Apothecary Museum at Heidelberg Castle
German Apothecary Museum in Heidelberg Castle

The Friedrich Building and its lavishly decorated facade was built during the rule of Friedrich IV (1583–1610) by his architect, Johannes Schoch, between 1601 and 1607. The electoral family lived on the two top floors. The attic floor was reserved for the servants.

Friedrich Building at Heidelberg Castle
The Friedrich Building at Heidelberg Castle
Statues at Heidelberg Castle
Statues at Heidelberg Castle

The Bell Tower seen next to Scheffel Terrace was originally constructed as a gun turret in the early 15th century. Over the centuries it was reinforced, built up, and finally converted into a bell tower and lookout tower.

The Bell Tower at Heidelberg Castle
The Bell Tower seen from Scheffel Terrace

The English Building was built between 1612 and 1614 during the rule of Friedrich V (1613–1619) for his English bride Elizabeth Stuart. The surviving window facade is on the left in the photo below.

English Building at Heidelberg Castle
The English Building at Heidelberg Castle
Facade details at Heidelberg Castle
Facade details at Heidelberg Castle

The Barrel Building was constructed in the 16th century. A giant barrel was installed in the building’s basement in 1591, holding 130,000 liters of wine. In 1664, it was replaced by an even larger barrel with 200,000 liters capacity. Nearly 100 years later, Prince Carl Theodor had the third and current Great Barrel constructed. 220,000 liters of wine were stored here.

After visiting the beautiful Heidelberg Castle, we strolled in the castle gardens, and took the stairs (some 300 steps) to get down to Heidelberg Old Town. Walking with my longtime friends made the descent from the summit seem shorter.

I’m hosting the Wellness Wednesday link up on August 14. The optional prompt is Friends with regards to how they affect our well-being. Since I’ve written my Health updates in my July Wrap-Up post, I’m sharing my wonderful outing in Heidelberg with my friends for Wellness Wednesday. Please click here to join in on the fun.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Copyright © 2019 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

55 thoughts on “Heidelberg Castle with Friends

  1. Erica/Erika August 11, 2019 / 8:09 am

    Hi Natalie, This castle was a very memorable visit for us about 15 years ago. Unfortunately, we did not see Heidelberg Castle. Your photos depict how vibrant the town is. It is amazing how thick the walls were made at that time. Likely for good reason. You are in amazing shape, Natalie, likely thanks to all the walking you do every day. 300 steps down is sometimes worse than up (for me, anyways). Thank you for sharing a very interesting post. Danke:)

    Like

    • Natalie August 11, 2019 / 8:44 am

      Hi Erica – I think Heidelberg University students give the town its vibrancy (aside from tourism). It’s too bad that you didn’t see Heidelberg Castle. I found it interesting with the layers of history and architecture from the various royal families. The 300 steps down can be hard on the knees. Thank you for reading my post and for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. RetirementallyChallenged.com August 11, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    What a lovely city and how nice that you were able to explore it with friends! The castle is so different from Neuschwanstein.

    Like

    • Natalie August 11, 2019 / 8:00 pm

      Hi Janis – It was a wonderful outing with my friends as they have very busy work schedules. I like that we could walk around freely on our own at Heidelberg Castle where several royal families lived. Neuschwanstein Castle required guided tour to see the rooms in the castle and it was built (unfinished) for one King.

      Like

    • Natalie August 11, 2019 / 8:01 pm

      It’s a big castle site with lots to see and explore.

      Like

  3. Retirement Reflections August 11, 2019 / 5:29 pm

    HI, Natalie – Thank you for the awesome tour. I greatly enjoyed it.
    And…220,000 liters of wine is very impressive!

    Like

    • Natalie August 11, 2019 / 8:03 pm

      Hi Donna – The wine barrel is huge. Unfortunately it’s in a darker room and my photos didn’t turn out well.

      Like

  4. Jo August 11, 2019 / 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the tour! I love how university towns tend to have a vibrancy that others may not. As for the 220,000 litres of wine? I’d like to see that.

    Like

    • Natalie August 11, 2019 / 8:09 pm

      Heidelberg town centre is very nice and vibrant with plenty of good, inexpensive eats, plus lots of nice buildings to look at. I read somewhere that the wine barrel at Heidelberg Castle is the biggest in the world. Everyone looked tiny standing next to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sanch @ Sanch Writes August 12, 2019 / 5:57 am

    Wow! That’s beautiful…love the intricate architecture! Buildings like that are always inspiring!

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 7:50 am

      The Heidelberg Castle is different from other castles that I’ve seen. It’s like a village of royal buildings from different times. Thank you, Sanch, for stopping by.

      Like

  6. Debbie Harris August 12, 2019 / 6:28 am

    I enjoyed this tour with you Natalie! Thanks so much for showing this to us. #lifethisweek

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 7:51 am

      My pleasure to share this. Thank you, Debbie, for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Suzanne@PictureRetirement August 12, 2019 / 8:00 am

    Natalie, I am finding it hard to wrap my head around a university founded in 1386. How special is that !Germany and castles are like ice cream and chocolate sauce; perfect for each other. We visited Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau in Fussen, but have not seen this one. Both the town and the castle look like a place I’d want to explore and how better to do that than with friends. Thanks for sharing your visit.

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 8:42 am

      Hi Suzanne – I like that at Heidelberg castle, visitors can go on their own and freely take photos inside and outside. The castle and its grounds are quite big, easily taking up a few hours to explore. The town is very nice, too with lots of historic buildings and architectural details. I was in awe looking at the year when some of the buildings was constructed. My friends sure have spoiled me on this visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Joanne Sisco August 12, 2019 / 8:10 am

    Great photos and brief history of this area. I’ve travelled only very briefly in Germany so I don’t associate it with spectacular castle ruins like these.

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 8:57 am

      Hi Joanne – My friends sure picked a wonderful town and castle to show me a part of Germany. I’d recommend a visit to Heidelberg town and castle to other travellers.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. lunalyon August 12, 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Lovely pictures. My son just visited Heidelberg and sent a few pictures but yours are better and I learned more!

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Luna, for your kind words. I’m humbled to hear you think my photos are better and you learned more about the castle from my post. I hope your son is enjoying his time in Germany.

      Like

  10. Laurie August 12, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    Heidelberg is so beautiful! Living in the US, I can’t imagine the antiquity of some of these buildings. I love learning about new places and your posts never disappoint. I will be sure to check out your Wellness Wednesday.

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 4:00 pm

      Hi Laurie – I love going to Europe and other places in the world that have years and years of history. Please feel free to join in on the Wellness Wednesday link up with your wellness-related post.

      Like

  11. 3sistersabroad August 12, 2019 / 5:14 pm

    Just over 3 years ago we visited this amazing place. Our guide was kinda weird so didn’t get all the information that you have on this post. Brings back so many memories. Thank you. Loving your blog so much xx #SeniSal

    Like

    • Natalie August 12, 2019 / 5:32 pm

      Thank you, Bree, for your kind words. I’m glad my post brought back memories and gave you additional information. Your comment made my day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Darlene August 13, 2019 / 8:16 am

    Some gorgeous buildings in Heidelberg. Great photos. #SeniSal

    Like

    • Natalie August 13, 2019 / 8:30 am

      Thank you, Darlene, for stopping by. It’s a beautiful castle with rich history and architecture.

      Like

  13. Lydia C. Lee August 13, 2019 / 4:34 pm

    That looks wonderful – and it’s fun meeting up with friends OS.

    Like

    • Natalie August 13, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      I greatly appreciated my friends’ hospitality. They took time off work to be with me at a few beautiful places near Stuttgart. Thanks, Lydia, for stopping by.

      Like

  14. csuhpat1 August 13, 2019 / 9:09 pm

    What a beautiful place. Very nice. Thanks for sharing. #MLSTL

    Like

    • Natalie August 13, 2019 / 9:32 pm

      Thank you, Patrick, for your kind comment.

      Like

  15. Johanna August 14, 2019 / 12:21 am

    I’d love to see more of Germany and Heidelberg Castle looks amazing. I’m a big fan of castles and large country houses. Thanks for the tour and the great photos 🙂 #MLSTL and Pinned

    Like

    • Natalie August 14, 2019 / 8:36 am

      Thank you, Johanna, for your visit and comment. I like castles and large country houses, too. There are some outstanding castles in Germany that gave me an idea to plan a castle-themed trip in the future.

      Like

  16. leannelc August 14, 2019 / 12:57 am

    What an interesting place Natalie – and very much a step back in time. I loved the apothecary display – which would have been an education to view I’m sure.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie August 14, 2019 / 8:40 am

      Hi Leanne – The apothecary museum is very interesting and has more rooms and displays than what I share in my post (to keep my post at reasonable length). Thank you for hosting. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  17. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond August 14, 2019 / 1:16 am

    Hi Natalie, thank you again for taking me on your travels through your blog posts. Heidelberg looks so lovely and I’ve not visited there before. Thank you for linking up at #MLSTL and I’ve shared on SM 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie August 14, 2019 / 8:43 am

      Thank you, Sue, for hosting and sharing. Heidelberg is lovely. I’d recommend the town and castle to visitors who are in their vicinity. Have a beautiful week!

      Like

  18. Denyse Whelan August 14, 2019 / 4:42 am

    I am not sure how you compile your photos and information but it is done well and full of interest.

    Amazing details.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is 33/51 Tea, Coffee or What? 19/8/19. Hope to see you linking up then too. Denyse.

    Like

    • Natalie August 14, 2019 / 8:51 am

      Thank you, Denyse, for your kind comment. I take a lot of photos when I travel, including some maps or descriptions of the places or items I was looking at. When I write my travel posts, I select the photos I like the most and build my story from there. I try hard not to be too detailed. I look forward to next week’s link up. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  19. Jennifer August 14, 2019 / 7:02 am

    It’s amazing how long that castle has been standing, considering all the damage that it’s taken through the years. What a testament to builders without modern-day equipment. Thanks for sharing the pictures and history lesson.

    Like

    • Natalie August 14, 2019 / 9:03 am

      Thank you, Jennifer, for your comment. The construction of the various buildings at Heidelberg Castle is amazing. There has been restoration to the site so hopefully the castle will last for many more years.

      Like

  20. Deborah August 14, 2019 / 8:45 pm

    Oh wow, I love how the castle kinda looms over the city. I guess perhaps that was the purpose once? Fiefdoms and all that. I’m always relieved to see buildings like that protected and being restored. It’s so important to keep that history, though I wonder if people will be saying that in centuries about some of the boring monstrosities now. Perhaps… if others no longer exist?

    Like

    • Natalie August 14, 2019 / 9:01 pm

      Yes, this castle was built on a hill, presumably for demo of power and strategic defense. I guess if there is any interesting story associated with some of the tallest buildings in the world today and if those buildings remain for a few centuries, people would still be in awe when they see them.

      Like

  21. Min Write of the Middle August 14, 2019 / 10:19 pm

    From what I’ve seen in pictures and on TV Germany is beautiful and somewhere I’d love to travel to one day. Heidelberg Castle is gorgeous – I’m fascinated with old architecture. It’s done well to be still standing after all these years! #TeamLovinLife

    Like

    • Natalie August 15, 2019 / 8:20 am

      There are some beautiful castles in Germany, Min. One could easily spend hours studying and taking photos of the architectural details in Heidelberg. Thank you for sharing your interest in old architecture.

      Like

  22. Mary-The Boondocks Blog August 14, 2019 / 11:19 pm

    This castle would be a feast for an architecture buff like me. Love all the pretty details.

    Like

    • Natalie August 15, 2019 / 8:26 am

      Heidelberg castle and its grounds are big enough to fill several delightful hours of sightseeing and taking photos. Thank you, Mary, for stopping by and sharing your interest in architecture.

      Like

  23. Cindy Moore August 14, 2019 / 11:48 pm

    What a gorgeous castle! I could explore there for hours. The town is so pretty too. Germany is definitely on my list of countries to visit.

    #SeniSal

    Like

    • Natalie August 15, 2019 / 8:27 am

      Thank you, Cindy, for your visit and comment. I’d plan a full day to visit Heidelberg town and castle, or even overnight stay if time allows.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. betty - NZ August 17, 2019 / 3:31 am

    I do love castles! This one is just fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us.

    Like

    • Natalie August 17, 2019 / 7:17 am

      You’re welcome, Betty. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

    • Natalie August 19, 2019 / 5:11 pm

      A long list of places to visit is a good thing. It will keep you entertained for a long long time 🙂

      Like

  25. mommyhon333 September 5, 2019 / 2:13 pm

    I think the Apothecary Museum would be quite interesting. We missed out on both the Heidelberg and Neuschwanstein Castles when we were in Germany. But did go to a charming castle – PC is not home to remind me of its name – tucked in the woods in southern Germany. Could have spent hours there and at the Nuremberg Museum. Would gladly revisit Germany. How fortunate you had friends and family on your trip.

    Like

    • Natalie September 5, 2019 / 4:45 pm

      The Apothecary museum was interesting. Nuremberg is a nice place to visit. Maybe next time you go to Germany, you can explore Heidelberg and Neuschwanstein Castles. Thanks, Leslie, for stopping by.

      Like

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