The name refers to the statue of a Roman knight (Ritter) atop one of the many gables, and there's a suit of armor standing at the entrance to the building, now a hotel. Its French builder, Charles Bélier, had the Latin inscription "Persta Invicta Venus" added to the facade in gold letters—"Venus, Remain Unconquerable." It appears this injunction was effective, as this sturdy stone building was the city's only Renaissance structure to survive the fires from the invading
French in 1689 and 1693. Between 1695 and 1705 it was used as Heidelberg's town hall; later it became an inn.