Four years ago the 3 sisters were on a Rhine cruise with APT and one of our tours was a visit to the Heidelberg Castle in Germany. Our ship was moored at Mainz and we took a bus to this magnificent place.
Heidelberg Castle is one of Germany’s most visited tourist spots. The castle is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance style.
The initial Castle dates back pre 1214, extra levels were built in 1294. In 1537 the castle was struck by lightening and this destroyed the upper level.
In 1650 the castle had further building works done only to have lightening strike it a second time in 1764. Over years the structure decayed and its been noted that locals used some of the material for their own homes.
In 1689, the French set fire to the Castle and the town, this was the start of the 9 year war. Then on September 6th 1693 Louis X1V set about destroying the castle by blasting the castle with tons of gunpowder. This war ended in 1697. The castle was also entangled in the 30 year war. In the 18th century the royals lost interest in the castle and moved to Mannhien.
There are many myths and legends surrounding this castle. We learnt of the story of the castle’s jester Perko who was able to drink you under the table. His main job was looking after the stores of the wine. Legend has it he could empty the wine barrel that stored 200,000 liters in a single gulp. He only drank wine until one day a glass of water passed his lips. Next day he was found dead! What killed him was a single glass of water! Whoever thought water was bad for you!
Another myth is the one about the Witches Bite. There is a strong iron ring on the gate tower that has a crack in it. The myth is that if you could bite through the iron ring you gained ownership to the castle. They say a witch tried to do this but only managed to put a slight crack in the ring. The poor witch broke her teeth and left the castle in anger!
The Tree of Life in the main courtyard of the Castle is said to be where lovers would put their arms through the gap in the trunk to secretly hold hands. It was forbidden back then to have contact.
Every Summer there is the Heidelberg Castle Festival held in the castle courtyard. We arrived the day after it was held in 2016. Something you might want to put on your calendar when you visit.
The view over the old town of Heidelberg from the grounds of the castle are simply stunning. One of my favorite photos of all time.
Mark Twain even wrote about Heidelberg Castle in the Tramp Abroad. He is said to have hiked up to the castle which now you can do it easily on the funicular. This place in the photo below is where Mark Twain is said to have stayed.
We had an amazing time wandering around the castle and its one place I would love to visit again. Once back down in the Old Town we found a cafe in one of the many side streets. Coffee and chocolate was the order of the day.