It was designed and built by Salomon de Caus, a French Huguenot refugee to the English court, for Frederick V and his wife Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I. It took five years (c.1614-1619) for the massive terraced construction to be carved out of the hillside outside of Heidelberg and become known as the 8th wonder of the world
Walking through it you would have been enveloped in a mysterious landscape of statues that wept, robotic birds that sang, mythical beasts carved into hedges, and strange symbolic patterns in the paths and groundscape speaking a garden language as lost as the garden itself. Some have interpreted it as displaying Rosicrucian symbology, but there is no evidence that Salomon had such leanings.
He was a scientist and a polymath; a Leonardo-type character without the name recognition. In addition to his hydraulic engineering, he published treatises on perspective drawing (he was drawing tutor to Elizabeth's brother, Prince Henry who was England's great hope and whose early death from typhoid certainly altered the course of history), music, and sundials. He made what was perhaps the first modern greenhouse (it was at that time poorly understood that plants needed light!) was a pioneer of anamorphosis in art and an unsurpassed fountain engineer...his constructions moved and wept, organs played, birds chirped, and balls were suspended on jets of water in mysterious grottos.