Heidelberg Castle in Germany is home to a remarkable, unusual piece of history – the Heidelberg Tun. This massive wine barrel is one of a kind and has been a source of fascination and inspiration for hundreds of years.
Despite its imposing size, the tun has remained empty for most of its life, but its legacy as a symbol of unparalleled drunkenness lives on. This is why we decided to visit it in the winter of 2023 when we spent a few days in Heidelberg.
A bit of the history behind the Heidelberg Tun
The Heidelberg Tun was constructed in 1751 and was the third such barrel built in the area. However, it is the only one that remains today. Despite its seemingly whimsical design, the tun served a practical purpose in its day.
In the era when it was created, taxes were paid on goods. And in a region renowned for wine-making, which meant a lot of wine was being collected by the government. The giant casks were used to store these donations, and the wine was combined into a single slurry. We wouldn’t do this today, but people drank wine differently back then.
Although the tun was used to collect taxes, it was mostly empty. However, it still bears the marks of a failed attempt by French soldiers who occupied the castle and tried to break into the barrel for a celebratory drink. The soldiers gave up when they discovered that the barrel was empty.
Today, the Heidelberg Tun continues to draw crowds of tourists who marvel at its size and grandeur. Over the years, the tun has been updated to cater to visitors, with something that seems to be a dance floor on top and wine tastings. Despite these modern touches, the barrel still exudes the filigreed elegance of a pirate’s treasure trove, as you can see in the pictures we took there. It could be a location from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but in Germany.
The Heidelberg Tun is a unique piece of history that continues to captivate visitors today. Its impressive size and elegant design make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Heidelberg Castle. Whether you’re a history buff or just love a good drink, the Heidelberg Tun is an unforgettable experience.
To visit the Heidelberg Tun, you must buy a ticket to see the Heidelberg Castle. You can go up the hill to the castle and get your access at the entry. Or do like we did and take the funicular to the palace and use the same ticket to walk around and see the largest wine barrel in the world. We walked up the hill the day before we visited the barrel, and the funicular is a better choice!
You can check their website if you need to check prices, opening hours, and more information.
Heidelberg Tun: The largest wine barrel in the world can be found in Germany
Schlosshof 1, 69117 – Heidelberg