Sights - Rooms and Decorations
The Friedrich Building contains most of the decorated rooms in Schloss
Heidelberg. As noted earlier in our description of the Castle,
the Friedrich Building was rebuilt and decorated to reflect how castles
looked and were decorated in the 17th century. The workmanship and
materials are largely modern, although most of the furniture represents
period pieces imported from locations around Germany. Touring these
rooms is informative and allows you to sense the grandeur of the Palace
before its destruction.
While there are
numerous attractions to see within the Castle, one of the most popular is
the "Great Barrel" located in the Barrel Cellar
. The Great Barrel held the tithe wine from the
Palatinate (wine owed the ruler by his tenants), and all wines, regardless
of variety (both whites and reds) were
mixed together into a blend. Wine was one of the few safe drinks in the past, as its fermentation
killed most germs. At the time the drinking of water was an unsafe practice due to
pollution, as was bathing in it, which could infect cuts, scrapes or sores.
The current version of the Great Barrel has a capacity of 58, 000 gallons or 220,000
liters. This is the third wine barrel constructed for the Barrel Building.
The present Great Barrel was constructed in 1750. The first barrel was
destroyed in the 30 Years War, while the second barrel was destroyed in the
War of the Palatine Succession.
The Great Barrel is located in the Barrel Cellar, underneath the Ladies
Building , which hosts the Castle's Banquet Hall. The entrance
to the Barrel Cellar is down a narrow lane between the Ladies Building and
the Friedrich Building. Public restrooms are located in the spacious
Barrel Cellar, as is a restaurant that serves both food and drink.
There is a
platform on top of the barrel that was built to serve as an area for dancing.
In the view below, you can see the platform at the top of the barrel.
We have added (and lightened) the picture on the top right to give you a
sense of scale, as it shows two adults standing on the platform at the top
of the Great Barrel. The statue in the photograph at the bottom left
wall opposite the Great Barrel. The statue is a comical likeness of Clemens Perkeo, the court jester who,
also, was the barrel watchman ( a dangerous combination, we think). A humorous rumor dating from the 18th
century suggested that Perkeo could empty the barrel in one, prolonged
gulp. Although the Great Barrel has not been used for centuries, the
aroma of wine is quite strong in the Barrel Building, and the aroma
pervading the building will be familiar
to those who have visited a working winery.
The strange apparatus shown in the photo on the lower right,
is lacking some of its original parts, but was once used to pump wine from the Great Barrel and
deliver it directly to the Banquet Hall for the pleasure of all.
If you would like to see the some of the interesting objects to be found
in the Castle Museum in the Ruprecht Building ,
Return to the Best Places to Visit in Germany
Return to Heidelberg's Old Town
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