Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany

Augustusburg Palace

Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle. In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François ...
Founded: 1725-1768 | Location: Brühl, Germany

Schwetzingen Palace

Schloss Schwetzingen was the summer residence of the Electors Palatine Charles III Philip and Charles IV Theodore (of the House of Wittelsbach). It is situated in Schwetzingen, roughly equidistant from the electors' seats at Heidelberg and Mannheim, and is most notable for its spacious and ornate gardens. Other than these exceptionally well preserved gardens and the palace proper, the compound also features the Schlossthe ...
Founded: 1700-1750 | Location: Schwetzingen, Germany

Landshut Residence

In 1536 Louis X, Duke of Bavaria laid the foundation stone for a new residence in the inner city of Landshut. It was begun in German Renaissance style under the architect Bernhard Zwitzel from Augsburg. During a journey to Italy the duke got the inspiration for an additional palace. Behind the German building, close to the river Isar, the so-called 'Italian building' was constructed from 1537 to 1543 in Italian ...
Founded: 1536 | Location: Landshut, Germany

Johannisburg Palace

Schloss Johannisburg was erected between 1605 and 1614 by the architect Georg Ridinger for Johann Schweikhard von Kronberg, Prince Bishop of Mainz. A keep from the destroyed 14th-century castle that had formerly stood on the site was included in the construction and is the oldest part of the castle. Until the end of the ecclesial princedoms in Germany in 1803, it was the second residence of the Prince Bishop of Mainz. At ...
Founded: 1605-1614 | Location: Aschaffenburg, Germany

Nordkirchen Palace

Schloss Nordkirchen was largely built between 1703 and 1734 and is known as the 'Versailles of Westphalia' since it is the largest of the fully or partly moated Wasserschlösser in that region. It was originally one of the residences of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster. In the 18th century, the structure visible today was raised in several building campaigns for Friedrich Christian von Plettenberg zu Lenhausen and ...
Founded: 1703-1734 | Location: Coesfeld, Germany

Dachau Palace

The Dachau Palace is a former residence of the rulers of Bavaria. The castle was constructed around 1100 as a castle by the cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach. In 1182, the last Count of Dachau, Konrad III, died without issue and Duke Otto I of Bavaria took possession of it shortly thereafter. The original castle was demolished between 1398 and 1403. In 1467 Sigismund, Duke of Bavaria resigned and then kept only Bav ...
Founded: 1546 | Location: Dachau, Germany

Schloss Benrath

Schloss Benrath is a Baroque-style maison de plaisance (pleasure palace) in Benrath, which is now a borough of Düsseldorf. It was erected for the Elector Palatine Charles Theodor and his wife, Countess Palatine Elisabeth Auguste of Sulzbach, by his garden and building director Nicolas de Pigage. Construction began in 1755 and was completed in 1770. The ensemble at Benrath has been proposed for designation as a ...
Founded: 1755-1770 | Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Mannheim Palace

Mannheim Palace is a large Baroque palace, originally the main residence of the Prince-electors of the Electorate of the Palatinate of the House of Wittelsbach. It is now primarily used by the University of Mannheim. The city of Mannheim, founded in 1606, was fortified and at the present site of the castle there was a fortress called Friedrichsburg, sometimes serving as alternative residence for the Elector, one of the m ...
Founded: 1720 | Location: Mannheim, Germany

Biebrich Palace

Biebrich Palace is a Baroque residence built in 1702 by Prince Georg August Samuel of Nassau-Idstein. He wanted a more impressive seat of authority than his palace in Idstein in the Taunus. In the immediate vicinity of the Rhine, opposite the Biebricher Wörth, he began construction of a chateau. The structure was designed by the Baroque architect Julius Ludwig Rothweil and was completed in 1702. It survives today as the ...
Founded: 1702 | Location: Biebrich, Germany

Fulda Residence

Stadtschloss, the baroque palace, was built between 1706-1714 by Johann Dietzenhofer as the Residence of the prince-abbots (and later of the prince-bishops). It is the centrepiece for all the baroque buildings in Fulda. The Historical Rooms in the Residence give you a good impression of how life was in the Age of Absolutism. Apart from the Banquet Hall withits adjoining rooms and the Princely Apartments which date back to ...
Founded: 1706-1714 | Location: Fulda, Germany

Weikersheim Palace

Weikersheim Palace (Schloss Weikersheim) was built in the 12th century, however the exact year is not known. The palace was the traditional seat of the princely family of Hohenlohe. In the 16th century, Count Wolfgang II inherited Weikersheim after a division of estates and made it his main home. He converted the moated castle into a magnificent Renaissance palace, whose splendid rooms have been preserved with their furni ...
Founded: 1586 | Location: Weikersheim, Germany

Köpenick Palace

Schloss Köpenick is a Baroque water palace of the Hohenzollern electors of Brandenburg which stands on an island in the Dahme River surrounded by an English-style park and gives its name to Köpenick, a district of Berlin. The castle was originally built on the foundations of a Slavic castle (6th century) in 1558 as a hunting lodge by order of Elector Joachim II Hector of Brandenburg. The building in a Renaissance style ...
Founded: 1677 | Location: Berlin, Germany

Hohenheim Palace

Hohenheim Palace was built in 1782 by Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg. Today it is the site of Stuttgart's oldest university, the University of Hohenheim. After the duke had acquired the former manor of the Bombast von Hohenheim family, minor nobility - with Theophrastus von Hohenheim called Paracelsus as its most notable member - in 1768, he gave it to his mistress Franziska Leutrum von Ertingen. From 1772 Karl Eugen ha ...
Founded: 1782 | Location: Hohenheim, Germany

Electoral Palace

The Electoral Palace was the residence of the last Archbishop and Elector of Trier, Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony, who commissioned the building in the late 18th century. It was erected between 1777–1793. In the mid-19th century, the Prussian Crown Prince (later Emperor Wilhelm I) had his official residence there during his years as military governor of the Rhine Province and the Province of Westphalia. It now houses ...
Founded: 1777-1793 | Location: Koblenz, Germany

Roman Baths

The Roman Baths reflect the Italiensehnsucht of its creator Frederick William IV of Prussia. Various classical Roman and antique Italian styles were melded into an architectural ensemble, created between 1829 and 1840. While still crown prince, Frederick William commissioned both Charlottenhof (1826-1829) and the Roman Baths (1834-1840). Coming up with numerous ideas and drawing many actual drafts, the artistically incli ...
Founded: 1829-1840 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Pfingstberg Belvedere

The Belvedere on the Pfingstberg is a palace in the northern part of the New Garden in Potsdam, atop Pfingstberg mountain. It was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm IV and is only one part of an originally substantially more extensive building project. The twin-towered building was modeled on of Italian Renaissance architecture, and it was built between 1847 and 1863 with an interruption from 1852 to 1860. From sketches of ...
Founded: 1847-1863 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Schloss Solitude

Schloss Solitude was built as a hunting lodge between 1764 and 1769 under Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg. Schloss Solitude was originally designed to act as a refugium, a place of quiet, reflection and solitude (thus the name). Construction of the castle was plagued by political and financial difficulties. Karl Eugen had taken Württemberg into the Seven Years' War on the losing side against Prussia. The building exceede ...
Founded: 1764-1769 | Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Charlottenhof Palace

Charlottenhof Palace is located southwest of Sanssouci Palace. It is most famous as the summer residence of Crown Prince Frederick William (later King Frederick William IV of Prussia). Officially the palace and park were named Charlottenhof in honor of Maria Charlotte von Gentzkow who had owned the property from 1790 to 1794. The park area with its various buildings can be traced back to the 18th century. After it had ch ...
Founded: 1826-1829 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Albrechtsberg Palace

Albrechtsberg Palace is a Neoclassical stately home above the Elbe river in the Loschwitz district of Dresden. It was erected in 1854 according to plans designed by the Prussian court and landscaping architect Adolf Lohse (1807–1867) at the behest of Prince Albert, younger brother of the Prussian king Frederick William IV. After Prince Albert and his wife Rosalie had died, their younger son Count Frederi ...
Founded: 1854 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Villa Hügel

The Villa Hügel was built by Alfred Krupp in 1870-1873 as his main residence and was the home of the Krupp family of industrialists until after World War II. Today the villa is now open to the public. Its hall is the regular concert venue of the chamber orchestra Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen. It is also used for exhibitions. Up to around 800 people worked on the construction project at a time. Since Alfred Krupp ...
Founded: 1870-1873 | Location: Essen, 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.