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The Deep Well


An ancient legend has it that Emperor Charlemagne resides deep under castle hill in Nuremberg. No one has ever seen him, but strange noises can sometimes be heard coming from the Deep Well there. Once, a long time ago, the city council sentenced a poor man to death, but so desperately did he plead for his life that the council granted him a chance to live.

He was to be lowered into the Deep Well to see if he could solve the mystery of the legend. And so into the well he was lowered, hundreds upon hundreds of meters, until his feet were in the water. But there in the darkness of the well he discovered a small opening in the wall. Through the opening he climbed and then he crept, for what seemed to be an eternity, through a long, low corridor. He blinked at the magnificent sight that greeted him.

Sparkling gems adorned the walls, knights in gleaming armour and a long, grand table fashioned of the finest cherry wood ever beheld by man. At the far end of the table sat an old man whose massive beard had actually grown through the table. It was Emperor Charlemagne. Fear suddenly seized the man as whispering went round the room and several knights inched ever closer to him.

Three black ravens under the table appeared as if they were ready to attack. The man swiftly turned, ripped a gem off the wall and fled back down the corridor to the well. When the city council raised him out of the well the man explained what he had seen and showed his gem as proof. The council thereupon spared his life. Every year, on the night before the first of May, there are traces of strange noises, seemingly of horses and men, that echo throughout Nuremberg Castle. They are surely Emperor Charlemagne as he leads his horses through the narrow corridor to the well so that his horses may drink.


The "Deep Well" (Tiefer Brunnen) goes down 50 meters (over 150 ft.) and has stood in the courtyard of Nuremberg Castle since the 12th century. Mr Karl der Große (Emperor Charlemagne) moved to room no. 32.