Heidelberg Castle revisited
Strikes of lightning, fires, wars -- not only ravages of time left their traces on Heidelberg Castle. Today, it is considered one of the most important renaissance buildings north of the Alps. And it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany with about 1.1 million visitors from all over the world every year -- many of them from English speaking countries and Asia. Now, a researcher of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has reconstructed the castle as it looked before its destruction by means of a three-dimensional virtual model.
|A magnificent residence: Reconstruction of the Heidelberg Castle around 1683 [Credit: KIT]|
Today, empty windows look down on the picturesque Neckar valley and ivy-covered wall remains point into the sky like rugged rocks. In the simulation by Julian Hanschke of the KIT Institute of History of Art and Architecture, however, visitors can climb up the formerly massive, but now half-destroyed Bulky Tower, walk under the groined vaults of the Emperor Hall of the Ottheinrich Building, look at the figures decorating the Friedrich Building reminding us of a Venetian palazzo, or let their eyes wander through the courtyard of 1683.
|Corner chapel in the library building [Credit: KIT]|
"We do not just scan a few photos, while the rest of the work is done by the computer," Hanschke says. The architectural historian points out that his approach in a certain way is similar to that of developers of imaginary video-game worlds. However, his reconstruction is no fantasy, but scientifically accurate. Every small detail is based on historical sources.
|The complex of castle buildings requires a storage capacity of 3 gigabytes [Credit: KIT]|
Hanschke continues that he does not want to reconstruct the castle in reality. He only wishes the results of his research project to be experienced directly. Frank Thomas Lang of Staatliche Schlosser und Garten Baden-Wurttemberg, the state heritage agency responsible for the palaces, castles, and gardens in the federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg, is highly excited about Hanschke's project: "The reconstructions are highly impressive and even laymen will realize what Heidelberg Castle was in its prime."
|View of the courtyard around 1683 [Credit: KIT]|
"With the emergence of the Bauhaus style ornaments went out of style," the architectural historian says. He cannot conceal his admiration of the ancient builders, who constructed their buildings for eternity. "Just have a look at this building in front of us," Hanschke says and points to a rather modern functional building that can be seen from his office. "In 30 years from now, the facade panels will drop off." And, no one will wish to visit that ruin.
Apart from his computer simulations, Julian Hanschke wrote a publication of about 500 pages, which also represents his thesis for post-doctoral lecture qualification. In addition to suggestive views of the castle, this publication contains many photos and historical views as well as a comprehensive summary of the castle history based on sources exclusively.
According to Hanschke, there has been no such project on Heidelberg Castle for a century. "It is the first representation of the history of Heidelberg Castle that is based on historical photos exclusively."
Click here for an interactive view of the courtyard: http://360.schloss-heidelberg.de/innenhof/
Source: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology [February 01, 2017]