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 West Pavilion of the palace. Only four years later, a duplicate structure was built only 86 meters to the east. While the West Pavilion was reserved for the prince and his entourage, the East Pavilion served his wife.
Prince Georg August Samuel began further development of the castle in 1707. Baroque architect Johann Maximilian von Welsch linked the two pavilions with a gallery and built a circular ballroom in the exact center. The Rotunda was completed in 1721, giving Biebrich Castle its distinctive appearance.
After the death of Georg August Samuel, the House of Nassau-Idstein was extinguished and the castle came into the possession of the line of Nassau-Usingen. Prince Karl von Nassau-Usingen decided after his inauguration in 1734 to relocate his permanent residence to Biebrich. Such a residential and government office demanded further premises, so the Baroque architect Friedrich Joachim Michael Stengel designed today's eastern wing. Only three years later, Stengel built the identical western wing. The gardens were designed by landscape architect Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell in 1817 at the request of Duke Wilhelm of Nassau.
Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, sold the palace to the State of Prussia in 1935. Heavily damaged during World War II, it was renovated and partly reconstructed between 1980 and 1982 by the State of Hesse. It is now used by the state government for representation purposes and houses the state's historic preservation agency.References:
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 de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.