Heidelberg Castle Location – Heidelberg Castle 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 metres (260 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 1214 and later expanded into two 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 caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
Early history Heidelberg Castle
The earliest known depiction of the castle, from Sebastian Münster’s Kalendarium Hebraicum published in 1527 (detail).
Heidelberg was first mentioned in 1196 as “Heidelberch”. In 1155 Conrad of Hohenstaufen was made the Count Palatine by his half-brother Frederick Barbarossa, and the region became known as the Electorate of the Palatinate. The claim that Conrad’s main residence was on the Schlossberg (Castle Hill), known as the Jettenbühl, cannot be substantiated. The name “Jettenbühl” comes from the soothsayer Jetta, who was said to have lived there. She is also associated with Wolfsbrunnen (Wolf’s Spring) and the Heidenloch (Heathens’ Well). The first mention of a castle in Heidelberg (Latin: “castrum in Heidelberg cum burgo ipsius castri”) is in 1214, when Louis I, Duke of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach received it from Hohenstaufen Emperor Friedrich II.