Façade of the Otto Heinrich Building in Heidelberg Castle

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The Heidelberg Castle (in German language named: Heidelberger Schloss) is a famous ruin in Germany and landmark of Heidelberg. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is located 80 m (262 ft) up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. It is served by an intermediate station on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway that runs from Heidelberg’s Kornmarkt to the summit of the Königstuhl. The earliest castle structure was built before AD 1214 and later expanded into 2 castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt destroyed some rebuilt sections. “The Renaissance style was not employed in Germany before the middle of the sixteenth century, and the most noteworthy instances of it are the Belvedere of Ferdinand I., on the Hradschin at Prague, and the so-called Otto Henry buildings at Heidelberg Castle (1556-1559) The Façade of the last-mentioned structure, of which [this image] represents [a portion], in peculiar for a richness and variety of details which almost border on excess. At the same time a certain heaviness prevails, which forms a contrast to the graceful elegance of the best Italian buildings in the same style: in fact these faults may be said to characterize the productions of the German Renaissance style in general.”


A. Rosengarten, W. Collett-Sandars A Handbook of Architectural Styles (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895)


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