Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany

Japanisches Palais

Japanisches Palais (Japanese Palace) is a Baroque building in Dresden on the Neustadt bank of the river Elbe. Built in 1715, it was extended from 1729 until 1731 to store the Japanese porcelain collection of Augustus the Strong that is now part of the Dresden Porcelain Collection. However, it was never used for this purpose, and instead served as a library. The palace is a work of architects Pöppelmann, Longu ...
Founded: 1715 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Babelsberg Palace

Babelsberg Palace lies in the eponymous park and quarter of Potsdam, the capital of the German state of Brandenburg. For over 50 years it was the summer residence of Prince William, later Emperor William I and his wife, Augusta of the House of Saxe-Weimar. On 22 September 1862 in the palace and adjoining park the discussion between King William I and Bismarck took place that ended with the nomination of Bismarck as Minist ...
Founded: 1835-1849 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Ludwigslust Palace

Ludwigslust Palace had its origins in a simple hunting lodge within a day"s ride of the ducal capital, Schwerin. In 1724 Prince Christian Ludwig, the son of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, decided to build a hunting lodge on this site, near a hamlet called Klenow. Even after he became duke in his turn in 1747, he passed most of his time at this residence, which he called Ludwigslust ('Ludwig"s joy'). ...
Founded: 1768-1776 | Location: Ludwigslust, Germany

Amalienburg

The Amalienburg is an elaborate hunting lodge in the grounds of Nymphenburg Palace. It was constructed in 1734-1739 by François de Cuvilliés, in Rococo style, for the later Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII and his wife, Maria Amalia of Austria. Most of the ground floor is given over to the round Hall of Mirrors in the center of the building which mirrored walls reflect the external nature. It was designed by Johann Bapti ...
Founded: 1734-1739 | Location: Munich, Germany

Glienicke Palace

Glienicke Palace was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for Prince Carl of Prussia in 1826, The building, originally merely a cottage, was turned into a summer palace in the late classical style. Particularly striking are two golden lion statues in front of the frontage, which were also designed by Schinkel. The lions are versions of the Medici lions from the Villa Medici. In the palace are antique objets d"art, whi ...
Founded: 1826 | Location: Wannsee, Germany

Residenz Ansbach

Residenz Ansbach (Ansbach Residence), also known as Margrave"s Palace was the government seat of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. The palace was developed from a medieval building. From 1398 to 1400 Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg, expanded a Stiftshof outside the city walls to a water castle. Structural remains are preserved in the northwest wing of the present building. George Frederick, Margrave of Bra ...
Founded: 1705 | Location: Ansbach, Germany

Pompeiianum

Inspired by the excavations in Pompeii, King Ludwig I of Bavaria commissioned the architect Friedrich von Gärtner to build an idealized Roman villa, which was completed from 1840–1848. On the ground floor are the reception and guest rooms, the kitchen and the dining room, grouped around two inner court yards, the Atrium with its water basin and the Viridarium with its garden in the rear section of the house. T ...
Founded: 1840-1848 | Location: Aschaffenburg, Germany

Tiefurt Mansion and Park

Built in 1765 as a tenement house for a grand ducal demesne, Schloss Tiefurt served from 1776 as the residence of Prince Friedrich Ferdinand Constantin, the younger brother of the reigning Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. After the expansion of the tenement house to a country mansion, he and his tutor Karl Ludwig von Knebel designed a landscaped park in English style. Meandering paths were laid together with the ...
Founded: 1776 | Location: Weimar, Germany

Granitz Hunting Lodge

Granitz Hunting Lodge lies in the middle of the forested Granitz ridge which covers an area of about 1,000 hectares and has been part of the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve since 1991. The name Tempelberg given to the highest hill in the Granitz comes from the 18th century, when a small hexagonal belvedere stood on the site of the present schloss. The hunting lodge was built between 1838 to 1846 by order of Prince ...
Founded: 1838-1846 | Location: Binz, Germany

Oberhausen Palace

A predecessor of current Oberhausen palace was a medieval castle about 200 meters away from today's location. This 12th or 13th century building has now completely disappeared. In 1443 the moated castle controlling an Emscher River passage fell to the von der Hoven clan based in the fiefdom of Kleve. In 1615, Overhus then passed on to become the domain of Conrad von Boenen. The castle was often plundered and seized due t ...
Founded: 1804-1820 | Location: Oberhausen, Germany

Marmorpalais

The Marmorpalais (marble palace) was a royal residence commissioned by Frederick William II of Prussia and designed in the early classicist style by the architects Carl von Gontard and (from 1789) Carl Gotthard Langhans, designer of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. The Marmorpalais was reserved for the private use of the king, who had an artistic temperament. With this new construction the nephew and successor of Frederick the ...
Founded: 1787-1792 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Lemgo City Hall

Lemgo city hall eastern nave was erected in 1325. From 1480-1490 the western gable was constructed. In 1565 the city counsel alcove located on Mittelstraße was built. Furthermore, in 1589, the Kornherrenstube was constructed at the same time as the new city hall meeting area was constructed on the southern side of the market place in the Weser Renaissance style. The pharmacy was built in 1612. Particularly noteworthy ar ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Lemgo, Germany

Schloss Rheydt

Schloss Rheydt is a Renaissance palace in Mönchengladbach. Over the years the building has been the family seat of various noble families, including the Bylandt-Rheydt dynasty that ruled over Rheydt for over 300 years and gave the palace its present look. Originally a castle dating from 1060, the palace has evolved over the years to become the palace it is today. The castle's first documented mention dates to 118 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Mönchengladbach, Germany

Seehof Palace

Seehof Palace was built from 1686 as a summer residence for the Bamberg Prince-Bishops from plans by Antonio Petrini. After secularization it fell into disrepair under private ownership, and by the end of the 20th century extensive renovation work was necessary. Most of the palace is today used by the Bavarian State Conservation Office. The nine state rooms of the restored Prince-Bishops" apartment, including the & ...
Founded: 1686 | Location: Memmelsdorf, Germany

Schloss Jägerhof

Schloss Jägerhof was built between 1748-1772 by the Elector Carl Theodor. He had commissioned architect Johann Joseph Couven from Aachen. In 1796, Jägerhof was sacked by the revolutionary forces and had finally become completely uninhabitable. The building was restored in 1811 on the occasion of Napoleon’s visit to Düsseldorf, according to Adolf von Vagedes’ plans. Today Jägerhof is a cultural-historical museum ...
Founded: 1748-1772 | Location: Düsseldorf, Germany

Güstrow Palace

Güstrow Palace is a Renaissance-era palatial schlossb built in 1558 for Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg. The palace features stucco decorations and a Baroque-classicist gatehouse. Construction of the present palace was initiated in 1558 by Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, in place of a medieval castle. Franciscus Pahr was the master builder who constructed the additional south and west wings in a fusion of Italian, French, ...
Founded: 1558 | Location: Güstrow, Germany

Rastatt Palace

Schloss Rastatt is a baroque palace built between 1700 and 1707 by the Italian architect Domenico Egidio Rossi. The palace and garden were built to Margrave Louis William of Baden. During the Palatine war of succession the residence of Margrave Louis William of Baden-Baden had been burnt by French troops. A rebuild of the destroyed castle would not have suited the representative needs of the court of Baden-Baden. Since he ...
Founded: 1700-1707 | Location: Rastatt, Germany

Bayreuth New Palace

After the Old Palace burned down, the new town residence (Neues Schloss) for Margrave Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth was begun by Joseph Saint-Pierre in 1753. Margravine Wilhelmine had considerable influence on its final form, designing some of the rooms herself, including the Cabinet of Fragmented Mirrors and the Old Music Room with its pastel portraits of singers, actors and dancers. The Palm Room with its outstandi ...
Founded: 1753 | Location: Bayreuth, Germany

Falkenlust Palace

Just a short, enchanting stroll away from Augustusburg Palace in Brühl, Falkenlust is located on the edge of a secluded grove as the favourite hunting lodge of the Cologne elector and Archbishop Clemens August (1700-1761). One of the most intimate and precious creations of German Rococo was built in a few short years (1729-1737) according to the plans of François de Cuvilliés, court architect of the Ba ...
Founded: 1729-1737 | Location: Brühl, Germany

Ettlingen Palace

Ettlingen castle was first mentioned in the 13th century. It has been destroyed several times over the centuries, rebuilt and expanded. In 1727 decided the Margravine Sibylla Augusta to use the castle as a retirement home. Johann Michael Rohrer created the Baroque palace from the castle ruins. Artists Riccardo Retti and Lucca Colomba equipped the rooms of sumptuous paintings and stucco. The great master of the late Baroqu ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Ettlingen, 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.