Sunday, June 9, 2013

 Heidelberg Castle is almost completely in ruin. But these ruins, overlooking the city of Heidelberg, stir all of those romantic notions of Knighthood and chivalry that we have all seen in the movies. (click on the photos to see the full sized versions)
 We took a funicular up to the castle with our Go Ahead group and then walked up the hill to the gates. The first view we had of the ruins is here, at the gate.
The ruins vary between complete shells, like this multi-storey building to complete facades. 
 Following the path around you come to the actual entry way to the courtyards, still guarded by a knight and his lion. 
 The inside is completely not what you were imagining! Based on the ruins you could see from the gate you expect something more medieval, not the vision you see when you enter the courtyard.
 This mishmash of styles is due to the fact that this castle was constructed over many centuries beginning with 1214 and ending with the last additions in 1650. So the styles that were popular of those centuries dominated the sections that were being built at that time. 
 Your walk through the courtyard will eventually lead you out to the views from the balcony of Heidelberg and the rest of the valley and the river Neckar.
 The view to the right reveals the beautiful hillsides of the Heidelberg region.
 The view to the left reveals Heidelberg including the great Cathedral and the arched bridge over the river Neckar.
 The many details of these ruins is what truly makes it fun to visit. And there are details within the details. When you first look at this lion, the most comical I've found in my travels, you see the lion and his wings...wings? But then when you look below the tips of the wings you find more faces hidden in the arch as well! 
I have a "thing" about doors and windows. I love all of the many details and types of details that you find in them. At first glance you see the gorgeous door with the amazing iron work on the wood as well as over the doorway. But if you look at the "frames" next to the door you find even more wonderful details like the carved woman and lions. Beautiful!

Along with the wonderful types of architecture you find here at the castle there is also a winery with one of the biggest casks I have ever found. So big you can climb stairs to get to the top of it! Unfortunately the room where it is stored is quite dark and I didn't manage to get a good photograph. Perhaps next time we visit!

We'll move onto a Summer Palace next week and I hope you can join us!


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