Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany

Neues Schloss

The Neues Schloss in Meersburg was the seat of the Prince-Bishop of Constance from its construction in 1750 until the bishopric was dissolved in 1803. Construction began in 1710 under Bishop Johann Franz II. von Stauffenberg, with Christoph Gessinger designing and supervising the work. It would be two years later in 1712 that the project was finished. The building was, however, a bit unfinished as a symbol of the power of ...
Founded: | Location: Meersburg, Germany

Schwerin Palace

For centuries the Schwerin Palace was the home of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg and later Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Today it serves as the residence of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament. It is regarded as one of the most important works of romantic Historicism in Europe and is designated to become a World Heritage Site. It is nicknamed 'Neuschwanstein of the North'. The first records of a castle at this ...
Founded: 1845-1857 | Location: Schwerin, Germany

City Hall

Together with St. Nicholas´ Church, the City Hall facade forms one of the city’s most splendid sights in Stralsund. The complex, originally composed of two long parallel wings, was originally used as a place for merchants to trade, with small shops and stalls on both sides of the inner courtyard as well as in the 'Butter Passage' that led through the City Hall from Ossenreyerstrasse to the former mai ...
Founded: 1278 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

New Chambers

The New Chambers in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam, were constructed for King Frederick the Great of Prussia from 1771 to 1775. The building, which stands to the west of Sanssouci Palace, serves as a complement to the Picture Gallery, which lies to the east. Both buildings flank the summer palace. The chambers replaced an orangery, which had been built at that site in 1745 on plans by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff and held ...
Founded: 1771-1775 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Augsburg Town Hall

The Town Hall of Augsburg is one of the most significant secular buildings of the Renaissance style north of the Alps. On 25 August 1615, the foundation stone of the building was laid. The exterior of the building was completed in March 1620, and the interior in 1624. Technologically, the Augsburger Rathaus was a pioneering performance; upon its completion it was the first building in the world with more than six storeys. ...
Founded: 1615 | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Karlsruhe Palace

Karlsruhe Palace was erected in 1715 by Margrave Charles III William of Baden-Durlach, after a dispute with the citizens of his previous capital, Durlach. The city of Karlsruhe has since grown around it. The first building was constructed by Jakob Friedrich von Batzendorf. The city was planned with the tower of the palace at the centre and 32 streets radiating out from it like spokes on a wheel, or ribs on a folding fan. ...
Founded: 1715 | Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

Electoral Palace

The Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss) in Bonn is the former residential palace of the Prince-Electors of Cologne. Since 1818, it has been the University of Bonn"s main building in the city center, home to the University administration and the faculty of humanities and theology. The palace was built by Enrico Zuccalli for the prince-elector Joseph Clemens of Bavaria from 1697 to 1705. The Hofgarte ...
Founded: 1697-1705 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Schleissheim Palace

Schleissheim Palace actually comprises three palaces in a grand baroque park in the village of Oberschleißheim, a suburb of Munich. The palace was a summer residence of the Bavarian rulers of the House of Wittelsbach. Old Schleissheim Palace The history of Schleissheim Palace started with a renaissance country house (1598) and hermitage founded by William V close to Dachau Palace. The central gate and clock tower ...
Founded: 1617-1704 | Location: Munich, Germany

Schloss Drachenburg

Schloss Drachenburg is a private villa in palace style constructed in the late 19th century. It was completed in only two years (1882–84) on the Drachenfels hill in Königswinter, a German town on the Rhine near the city of Bonn. Baron Stephan von Sarter (1833–1902), a broker and banker, planned to live there, but never did. Today the Palace is in the possession of the State Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia ...
Founded: 1882-1884 | Location: Königswinter, Germany

Bensberg Palace

Bensberg Palace (Schloss Bensberg) is a former hunting lodge of the Counts Palatine of the Rhine (the House of Wittelsbach). The palace was commissioned by Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine for his wife Anna Maria Luisa de" Medici. Anna Maria Luisa enjoyed the site"s elevated scenery and views onto the River Rhine, Rhine Valley and Cologne Bight. The building was designed by Italian Baroque architect  ...
Founded: 1711 | Location: Bensberg, Germany

Bruchsal Palace

Bruchsal Palace (Schloss Bruchsal) is the only Prince-Bishop’s residence on the Upper Rhine. It is famous for its opulent Baroque staircase constructed by Balthasar Neumann. Bruchsal Palace was constructed in 1720 as a residence for the Prince-Bishops of Speyer. The then Prince-Bishop, Damian Hugo von Schönborn, an avid art collector, played an important role in planning the complex. The three-wing palace is bu ...
Founded: 1720 | Location: Bruchsal, Germany

New Town Hall

Leipzig New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) is the seat of the Leipzig city administration since 1905. It stands within the Leipzig's 'ring road' on the southwest corner opposite the city library at Martin-Luther-Ring. The main tower is, at 114.8 meters, the tallest city hall tower in Germany. In 1895 the city of Leipzig was granted the site of the Pleissenburg by the Kingdom of Saxony to build a new town hall. A compe ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Leipzig, Germany

Herrenchiemsee Palace

Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria"s largest lake. After being purchased by King Ludwig II of Bavaria the former Herrenchiemsee monastery was converted into a royal residence known as the Old Palace (Altes Schloss), while the king built Herrenchiemsee Palace also known as the New Palace (Neues Schloss), the largest of his palaces. The unfinished New Pala ...
Founded: 1878-1886 | Location: Chiemsee, Germany

Bellevue Palace

The immaculately-looking white neoclassical palace on the Spreeweg, just off the Tiergarten’s northwestern corner is the official residence of the German President. The palace was erected in 1786 as a private residence for Friedrich the Great’s youngest brother Prince Ferdinand of Prussia as three-winged palace ideally situated on the Tiergarten hunting grounds. It was designed by architect Philipp Daniel Boumann. Ove ...
Founded: 1786 | Location: Berlin, Germany

Orangery Palace

The Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloss) was built by the Romantic on the Throne, Friedrich Wilhelm IV from 1851 to 1864. The architects Friedrich August Stüler and Ludwig Ferdinand Hesse designed it in the style of the Italian Renaissance, after the image of the Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence. The middle building with its twin towers is the actual castle. This building is joined to the 103 meter long and ...
Founded: 1851-1864 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Fuggerhäuser

The Fuggerhäuser (Fugger houses) is a complex of houses built for the Fugger family of businessmen. From 1512 to 1515 Jakob Fugger the Younger built two linked houses on the Via Claudia (now Maximilianstraße) near the wine market, one as a town-house and the other as a warehouse. He designed them himself, based on notes he had taken on his travels in Italy. The secular building was the first Renaissance style building c ...
Founded: 1512 | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Poppelsdorf Palace

The design of a new structure to replace the old ruined castle of Poppelsdorf commenced in 1715 at the request of the owner, Joseph Clemens, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, who engaged the French architect Robert de Cotte. Clemens wanted a maison de plaisance that would be near his remodeled Bonn Palace one-half mile to the north. There was to be a canal between the two, following the example of the Palace of Versail ...
Founded: 1715-1746 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Leineschloss

The Leineschloss, situated on the Leine in Hanover, is the former residence of the Hanoverian kings and the current seat of the Landtag of Lower Saxony. The first building on the site was a Franciscan friary, constructed in about 1300, which was abandoned in 1533 after the Protestant Reformation. In 1636, George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, began construction of the palace on the site as his residence. In 1 ...
Founded: 1636 | Location: Hanover, Germany

Cecilienhof Palace

Cecilienhof Palace was built from 1914 to 1917. Emperor Wilhelm II ordered the establishment of a fund for constructing this new palace at Potsdam for his oldest son, Crown Prince Wilhelm (William) and his wife, Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 19 December 1912. Cecilienhof was the last palace built by the House of Hohenzollern that ruled the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire until the end of World War I. ...
Founded: 1914-1917 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Ehrenburg Palace

Ehrenburg Palace was built by Johann Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg, in 1543-47. It replaced the Veste Coburg as the Dukes" city Residenz. The new city palace was built around a dissolved Franciscan monastery. According to tradition, the palace was named Ehrenburg ('Palace of Honour') by Emperor Charles V for having been constructed without the use of forced labour. In 1690, a fire destroyed the northern part ...
Founded: 1543 | Location: Coburg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.