Sitting high on the hillside above the city of Heidleberg, Germany, the Heidelberg Castle is an elegant ruin.
Now the vine-covered walls are softened by time and hint of history. Strolling down the paths it is impossible not to stop and look and imagine what once was. To imagine the castle, a rambling structure of towers, halls and wings of many architectural styles, filled with life; with the sound of carriage wheels on cobblestone courtyards and the voices of men and women going about their work. Looking at the ruin, the violence of war, even an ancient war, is all around you.
The castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years War, rebuilt, then, after a lightning strike in 1764, abandoned again, and for decades, until the practice was forbidden in 1800, the castle's stones were used by Heidelberg citizens to build their homes.
But now, at night, as seen from the bridges and the river below, the illuminated castle sits over the city like a heavy crown of parapets, empty windows and open, mysterious, doorways.
(Photos by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)