The Great Barrel
The original Great Barrel fell victim to the turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War. In 1664, it was replaced by an even larger barrel which could hold 200,000 litres. Nearly 100 years later, Prince-Elector Karl Theodor, who had long since taken up residence in Mannheim Palace, had the third and current Great Barrel constructed. 220,000 litres of wine was stored here. One surprising detail: a staircase led to a platform above the barrel which was probably used as a dance floor.
Little Perkeo was brought to the Heidelberg court from South Tyrol by Prince-Elector Carl Philipp at the start of the 18th century. As a court jester, he provided entertainment for court society with his pranks and jokes. He is famous for his ability to hold his liquor and there are several stories to back it up. A painted wooden figure of Perkeo now stands guard over the Great Barrel.
One very practical feature: During celebrations, wine could be pumped through a pipe directly from the Great Barrel into the neighbouring Ladies’ Building and King’s Hall.