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Heidelberg Castle.

The Heidelberg Castle (German: Heidelberger Schloss) is a famous ruin in Germany and is the symbol of the city of Heidelberg.

The castle has only been partially restored since its destruction in the 17th century. It stands 80 m (262 feet) up the slope of Königstuhl hill and from there it dominates the town. It is served by an intermediate station on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway that runs from Heidelberg's Kornmarkt to the summit of the Königstuhl.

The oldest description of Heidelberg from 1465 mentions that the city is "frequented by strangers," but it did not really become a tourist attraction until the beginning of the 19th century. Count Graimberg made the castle a pervasive subject for pictures which became forerunners of the postcard. At the same time, the castle was also found on souvenir cups. Tourism received a big boost when Heidelberg was connected to the railway network in 1840.

In the 20th century, Americans spread Heidelberg's reputation outside Europe. Thus, Japanese also often visit the Heidelberg Castle during their trips to Europe. Heidelberg has, at the beginning of the 21st century, more than one million visitors a year and about 900,000 overnight stays. Most of the foreign visitors come either from the USA or Japan. The most important attraction, according to surveys by the Geographical Institute of the University of Heidelberg, is the castle with its observation terraces.

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