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State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Wuerttemberg

Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg

Friday, 19 July 2019

Heidelberg Palace | Exhibitions

Famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the Heidelberg Palace souvenir

Famous Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio holding a Heidelberg Palace souvenir – that’s what we discovered in Quentin Tarantino's new movie, hitting German theaters in August. In a scene in “Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood,” DiCaprio, who plays the hero of a western series, can be seen holding a souvenir beer stein from Heidelberg. Front and center: the palace ruins, demonstrating just how widespread these souvenirs from the romantic “place of longing” are.

HEIDELBERG PROP IN A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE
Famous director, producer and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino has come out with a new movie. “Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood” is a crime drama about the Manson Family murders written and directed by Tarantino. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, along with Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. The “Tarantino Fan Club” Twitter page has now posted a still featuring the star (you can also see it at minute 1:20 in the movie's trailer). Leonardo DiCaprio is lying in a pool; in his hand, he holds a beer stein with a picture of Heidelberg Palace and town – proof of just how prevalent this Heidelberg souvenir is! The movie, which opened in the United States on July 26, will be playing in Germany as of August 15.

 

A ROMANTIC SPOT

Heidelberg Palace, which had been ravaged in the 1690s during the Nine Years' War and then completely destroyed by a lightning strike in 1764, began its second career at the turn of the 19th century, when it began to be considered the pinnacle of the Romantic sentiment and became a place of interest. It inspired artists like no other structure before. Painters and illustrators saw the harmony created by the town, palace ruins and the Neckar valley as a one-of-a-kind ensemble of beauty, and thus the myth was born. William Turner's images took the Romantic depiction of Heidelberg to new heights. Turner spent a great deal of time in Heidelberg between 1817 and 1844, producing numerous sketches, watercolors and paintings of the town on the Neckar river. His images are considered high art, but they were also purchased as souvenirs.

 

A PROMINENT VISIT FROM OVERSEAS

Fascination with the “most romantic ruins in the world” even reached America! On his 1878 “Tramp Abroad,” Mark Twain took a raft trip down the Neckar river, stopping in Heidelberg. In the account of his travels, he spoke enthusiastically, “Away down on the level under the black mass of the Castle, the town lay, stretched along the river, its intricate cobweb of streets jeweled with twinkling lights. [...] Behind the Castle swells a great dome-shaped hill, forest-clad, and beyond that a nobler and loftier one. The Castle looks down upon the compact brown-roofed town; and from the town two picturesque old bridges span the river. [...] I have never enjoyed a view which had such a serene and satisfying charm about it as this one gives.”

 

200 YEARS OF SOUVENIRS

It is no wonder then, that everyone wanted something by which to remember the famous palace. Countless Heidelberg souvenirs were created, and the grand palace ruins were always the central motif. With the early 19th-century wanderlust, merchandising gained momentum. Palace views were now seen in graphic artwork, on postcards, glassware, cups, plates, and bags. Heidelberg experienced its first tourism boom in the mid-19th century. Today, well over one million guests visit each year to be awed by the architectural treasure and the spectacular view across the historic town, of the Neckar valley and the Rhine plain. And almost everyone purchases a souvenir to take back home.

 

A RESIDENCE FOR THE PRINCE-ELECTORS OF THE PALATINE

In the 13th century, the counts and later the prince-electors of the Palatine along the Rhine river erected their first residence above Heidelberg. Over the centuries, the fortified medieval castle became a representative palace. The prince-electors assembled the best architects of their time and generation after generation built palace structures of European distinction. The result is an ensemble that, even as ruins, still demonstrates its importance in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, Heidelberg Palace, with its Renaissance palaces, is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Germany.

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