The palace complex in Urach was built in the early 15th century as the home of Count Ludwig I von Württemberg, at a time when the county was divided. After reunification of Württemberg in 1482, the palace became a well-frequented residence and hunting lodge for the Dukes of Württemberg. Duke Carl Eugen (1728 – 1793) enjoyed staying in Urach, where he would host grand hunting expeditions.
The interiors of the palace bear witness to the preferences and pastimes of its residents, for example the Dürnitz (a type of large hall), the Palmensaal (hall of palms) and, in particular, the unique Goldener Saal. This is the only preserved Renaissance hall built for the Duchy of Württemberg, and one of Germany’s most spectacular Renaissance ballrooms. The Golden Hall was designed for the opulent wedding celebrations of Duke Eberhard im Bart to Italian princess Barbara Gonzaga of Mantua in 1474. It was lavishly decorated in the 17th century. Three Corinthian capitals support the flat ceiling. The room is flooded with natural light on three sides. Its walls and pillars are extensively gilded in gold.
An extraordinary highlight of the palace is the exhibition of sledges belonging to the Württemberg State Museum. Featuring 22 ornate Baroque sledges from the 17 th to 19 th centuries, it is the largest collection of its kind in the world. The sledges of the Dukes of Württemberg illustrate their need for public shows of grandeur and document the changing taste of the court.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.