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Hortus Palatinus

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Source: Immanuel Giel

The Hortus Palatinus, or Garden of the Palatinate, was a Baroque garden in the Italian Renaissance style attached to Heidelberg Castle, Germany. The garden was commissioned by Frederick V, Elector Palatine in 1614 for his new wife, Elizabeth Stuart, and became famous across Europe during the 17th century for the landscaping and horticultural techniques involved in its design. At the time it was known as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', and has since been termed 'Germany's greatest Renaissance garden.'
The Hortus Palatinus was commissioned by Frederick V the ruler of the Palatinate, a leading member of the Holy Roman Empire and the head of the Protestant Union, with a martial family tradition stretching back several centuries. Frederick had spent the winter of 1612 in England, where he married Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of King James I. Although the match had a political purpose - effectively uniting the Protestant lines of England, the Palatinate, the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau and Denmark - the two were genuinely in love, and remained a romantic couple throughout the course of their marriage. Frederick returned to Heidelberg, his capital, ahead of his bride and set about transforming his castle, creating an 'English wing' for her, a monkey-house, a menagerie - and the beginnings of a new garden in the Italian Renaissance style popular in England at the time.


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