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Heidesheim gate


A few metres away from “Karlsbad“ there is the opening into the Zanggasse, which leads to the best-preserved ruins in the Carolingian Pfalz in the 8th century. After houses which were badly in need of repair were removed in 1999 / 2000, two parallel gates were revealed, which were presumably given the name Heidesheimer Tor in the 19th century. The jambs of the two openings were made of sandstone ashlars. On the northern one there is also a monolithic sandstone architrave, and above that a blind arch made of quarry stone and tiles is still remaining. During earlier excavations in 1913 / 1914 C. Rauch assumed that this was a gatehouse. In the reconstruction model made in 1930 the impressive portal has five naves, and was said to be the main gate to the Pfalz. The two sandstone portals seemed to be low side gates, whereas in the middle a three-arched opening was reconstructed.

Reconstruction of the Heidesheim gate Reconstruction of the Heidesheim gate | © 

The latest archaeological excavations, not yet completed at the time this brochure was finished, makes the finding more precise. The side portals do notlead out of the Pfalz into the land in front of it, but it adjoined arched alleyways which ended at round towers with an interior diameter of 4 metres. There is no confirmation of a three-arched opening either. Small traces of building work seem to indicate a single-nave gate. Remains of these openings themselves and evidence of their layout, shape and size no longer exist. The gateways which supply the name were built at the same time as the foundations were built just before or around 800 AD. In the high Middle Ages the use of the building was changed: on the location of the gate opening a defensive wall was erected, which served as fortification of the Pfalz. This rebuilding changed the function in the long term: the Palatium, based on ancient models, became a castle-like fortification, which the Staufer used to implement and secure their territorial politics. Inside the area of the current archaeological investigations the Heidesheimer Tor is planned to be permanently exposed and conserved for visitors between 2003 – 2005, in keeping with ancient monuments guidelines.

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