Ludwigsburg Palace is one of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany and features an enormous garden in that style. From the 18th century to 1918 it was the principal royal palace of the dukedom that became in 1806 the Kingdom of Württemberg.
The foundation stone was laid on May 17, 1704 under Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg (reigning monarch from 1693 to 1733). Begun as a hunting lodge, the project became much more complex and gained momentum over the years.
On August 17, 1709, the duke established the city of Ludwigsburg directly next to his palace, copying the proximity of Versailles to Paris. Previously, the royal palace was the cramped and outdated Old Castle (Altes Schloss) in the heart of Stuttgart. In 1718, Ludwigsburg temporarily became capital and sole residence of the dukes of Württemberg.
In 1733, when construction was complete, the baroque style prevailed in Germany. Eventually, successors of Eberhard Ludwig modified the original design of the palace, especially, Duke Charles Eugene of Württemberg and King Frederick I of Württemberg.
In the 1740s a New Palace was built in Stuttgart, and it was favoured by some of the dukes and kings of Württemberg as their primary residence, but Ludwigsburg remained in use as well. However, under King William I of Württemberg (reigned 1816-84), the palace and especially the gardens gradually decayed because the monarch, in contrast to his predecessors, showed no interest in Ludwigsburg.
Ludwigsburg Palace was not destroyed during World War II, so a renaissance of the complex could start in the mid-20th century. The continuous garden show 'Baroque in Bloom' (Blühendes Barock), that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, opened in 1953. Today, the palace and its surrounding gardens are presented to the public in a state similar to their appearance around 1800.
The palace theatre (Europe's oldest preserved theatre) and its stage machinery from 1758 are still operational.
Ludwigsburg Palace today contains three museums, Baroque Gallery, Porcelain Museum and Baroque Fashion Museum.References:
Ängsö Castle was first named as "Engsev" in a royal charter by king Canute I of Sweden (r. 1167-1196), in which he stated that he had inherited the property after his father Eric IX of Sweden. Until 1272, it was owned by the Riseberga Abbey, and then taken over by Gregers Birgersson.
From 1475 until 1710, it was owned by the Sparre family. The current castle was built as a fortress by riksråd Bengt Fadersson Sparre in the 1480s. In 1522, Ängsö Castle was taken after a siege by king Gustav Vasa, since its owner, Fadersson's son Knut Bengtsson, sided with Christian II of Denmark. However, in 1538 it was given by the king to Bengtsson's daughter Hillevi Knutsdotter, who was married to Arvid Trolle.
In 1710, the castle was taken over by Carl Piper and Christina Piper. Ängsö Castle was owned by the Piper family from 1710 until 1971, and is now owned by the Westmanna foundation. The castle building itself was made into a museum in 1959 and was made a listed building in 1965. It is currently opened to visitors during the summers.
The castle is a cubical building in four stores made by stone and bricks. The lower parts is preserved from the middle ages. It was redecorated and expanded in the 1630s. The 4th storey as well as the roof is from the expansion of Carl Hårleman from 1740-41. It gained its current appearance in the 1740s.