Electoral Palatinate

Regional Overview

At the Heart of an Empire

The story of the Electoral Palatinate starts with a leading role as the heartland of the medieval Holy Roman Empire. The Salian and Hohenstaufen Dynasties founded cities and raised monuments to cement their rule. As their glories faded into the past, their monuments fell victim to those seeking to erase their legacy. The story we see today is about reconstruction from the ashes of war.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • Romanesque Architecture of the Salian and Staufen Imperial Dynasties, e.g. in Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Otterberg and Maulbronn.
  • The Austere Baroque Architecture of the Palatine Court as is still visible in Heidelberg, Schwetzingen, and Mannheim.
  • The Dramatic Cultural Landscape of the Rhine Valley

8

6

4.5

Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted.

What is the Electoral Palatinate?

For a region so central to German geography, the Electoral Palatinate is a region far off the radar for most tourists. Heidelberg, of course, features prominently in travel guides to Germany, but few guides give cities like Speyer or Mainz similar weight. Three German states now divide the ancient region of the Palatinate, and these modern borders prevent easy travel across the old territory. This guide reconnects the divided pieces of the Palatinate and retraces the forgotten connections that once defined one of the most powerful states of the Holy Roman Empire.

Regional Overview

Thematic Tours of the Region

The Elector Palatine

The Elector Palatine

The goal of this guide is to take you through the reconstruction of the Rhineland following the devastating War of Palatine Succession which ended in 1697. The focus is on the Baroque architecture of Mannheim Court, with brief excursions to the different styles of Mainz, Meisenheim and Mosbach.
Remnants of a Forgotten Empire

Remnants of a Forgotten Empire

Travel through the heartland of the most powerful state in Medieval Europe and uncover the vestiges of past imperial glories. In focus are the cities of Speyer and Mainz.

Hiking in the Region

Hike: Redcliff Canyon

Hike: Redcliff Canyon

One of Germany’s truly hidden gems is the Nahe Valley and the dramatic gorge that the river carves through the landscape. The Rothenfels or the…

Hike: Palatine Meadows

Hike: Palatine Meadows

Highland meadow landscapes are confined to the well-known areas in the Alps. The Palatinate has a small meadow-landscape thanks to centuries of pasture animals grazing…

Hike: Nahe Valley Panorama

Hike: Nahe Valley Panorama

The Nahe Valley has several spectacular viewpoints. This hike focuses on one, in particular, simply the “The Best Nahe Viewpoint” or the “Two Land Viewpoint.”…

Hike: Kirner Dolomites

Hike: Kirner Dolomites

The Nahe Valley is one of the underrated natural gems of Germany. The river flows from the Saarland into the Rhine and cuts through a…

Hiking: Vineyards of the Wormser Heights

Hiking: Vineyards of the Wormser Heights

The vineyards of the Palatinate stretch across the rolling hills of the Rhine Valley without end. Above the city of Worms are old terraces with…

Hiking: The Donnersberg Highlands

Hiking: The Donnersberg Highlands

The Donnersberg “Mountain” is a large volcanic hill on the edge of the Rhine valley. It’s full of interesting rock formations, castle ruins, and ancient…

Cities of the Palatinate

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 10
  • Transportation: 10
  • Volume/Capacity: 5
  • Infrastructure: 10
  • Interactivity: 5

6 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 2
  • Monuments: 8
  • Quality: 8

4.5 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 5
  • Tradition: 4

Navigation

Upper-Rhine

The legacy of the Empire in stone can be seen in the villages of the Alsace and in the soaring cathedrals of the Palatinate.

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