Ludwigslust Palace

Ludwigslust, Germany

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').

In 1765, Duke Friederich made Ludwigslust the capital of the duchy instead of Schwerin. Consequently the little town that had already grown in the service of the schloss, was further expanded, and a cornerstone for a new, grander residenz was laid directly behind the old hunting box in 1768. In the years 1772-1776 Ludwigslust was rebuilt to late Baroque plans by Johann Joachim Busch. The structure is brick, clad in the local sandstone; forty over-lifesize allegorical figures, also in sandstone, by Rudolf Kaplunger, alternating with vases, crown the low attic above the cornice.

The interiors of Ludwigslust are more fully neoclassical. The grand reception rooms are on the piano nobile, or Festetage ('Reception floor'), above a low ground floor that contained guestrooms. The Goldener Saal ('Gilded Hall') in the central block rises through two storeys, with a colossal order of Corinthian columns and massive decorations carried out in stucco and the innovative moldable and modelable paper-maché called Ludwigsluster Carton; it is used today for summertime concerts. One flanking range was semi-public, with a sequence of antechamber, salon and audience chamber, and a gallery. The opposite range was semi-private, with the Duke's drawing-room and bedchamber (hung with framed miniatures), a cabinet and a gallery with a porcelain chimneypiece.

The palace's surrounding Schlosspark of 120 ha. was laid out with formal canals, fountains and a frankly artificial cascade, tamed of all the wildness that a later, Romantic generation would venerate; it was built according to sketches by the French architect Jean-Laurent Le Geay, who had laid out the formal garden at Schwerin in 1749-55, but was quickly overtaken at Ludwigslust by his assistant, Johann Joachim Busch, who began the work in 1763. The trees laid out in the pattern and at the scale of Bernini's colonnades in Piazza San Pietro have disappeared, but there are the neoclassical stone bridge designed by Busch about 1780, with a cascade that falls across a lip so perfectly regular that it has the name Der Waltze (the 'Roll'), a grotto built as a ruin, a Gothic chapel, two mausoleums and a monument to a favourite horse.

In 1837 Grand Duke Paul Friedrich returned Schwerin to its capital status. As a summer residence, Schloss Ludwigslust was preserved from further alterations. In the mid-nineteenth century much of the park was re-landscaped in the more naturalistic English landscape garden manner, under the direction of a garden designer with an extensive clientele among the German aristocracy, Peter Joseph Lenné. Water near the schloss was recast in more naturalistic manner and the surrounding woodland edges were varied, with clumps of trees as outliers, but the main axia Hofdamenallee centered on the palace, still stretches dead straight through the woods, and the narrow Great Canal, laid out at an angle to one side, still extends a kilometer and a half.

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Details

Founded: 1768-1776
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

M SR (2 years ago)
One of those places which could never be built nowadays. So many beautiful details, a park as big as a small village and stunning views. Bring your picnic along with you, maybe a baguette, a bottle of wine and whatever else you enjoy and simply pick one of the many quite places after a long walk in the park.
Emiliano Leonardi (2 years ago)
Absolutely gorgeous castle in the middle of nowhere! It has an endless park you can spend pretty much the whole day walking around. The castle itself was marvellous but sadly due to reconstruction we could only access the half the second floor. Ask for the guided tour! It's worth every penny! Even if you don't speak German you get to access certain areas of the park you wouldn't otherwise
Nancy Underwood (2 years ago)
There are great gardens to walk around and the buildings are very nice. We didn't go inside so can't comment on that (closed Mondays). The town is also very different, red brick buildings line the main cobble stone street which is very different from the German style houses of most towns. Very unique.(sorry no photos as it was really rainy)
Rock Yam (2 years ago)
A giant graveyard. While the place on the surface is aesthetically pretty, like the generations of Germans 3 decades ago, looks can be deceiving. The most important site, the castle, is a giant graveyard of concentration camp victims whom the town "denied" knowing about. When Germany was winning the war, everyone knew about the battles hundreds of miles away but in their own backyard, nothing. Giant cemetery. Minor memorial.
Manuel M (3 years ago)
Beautiful palace, interesting exhibition and good cafe inside. I would recommend the audio guide. Unfortunately our experience got ruined by the people that stole one of our umbrellas - so just make sure you take them with you if they don’t fit into the lockers.
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