Romantic palaces and grand gardens, ruined castles and atmospheric monasteries: SouthWest Germany boasts an array of cultural landmarks that are fun to explore. In the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg, the Staatliche Schlösser & Gärten heritage organisation looks after an impressive number of monuments, bringing them back to life and offering delightful days out…. often off the beaten track!
But visits offer so much more than looking at old buildings. How about sipping wine in Maulbronn – the lovingly-preserved monastery that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Then there are the atmospheric ruins of Heidelberg Castle, long one of the world’s most romantic spots. Just outside Stuttgart, you can explore one of Europe’s finest examples of Baroque architecture: Ludwigsburg’s Residential Palace, with its special museum just for children. And, for breathtaking views over the countryside and distant mountains, climb up to the ramparts of ruined hilltop castles, such as Hohentwiel and Hohenneuffen. In summertime, SouthWest Germany’s formal gardens are a delightful surprise for horticultural enthusiasts, combining culture and history with unusual designs. This summer, there is so much to enjoy in palaces, monasteries, castles and gardens. Take a guided tour, go to a concert or special exhibition; have fun at numerous special events and festivals.
Highlight FOR 2017 – Bruchsal PALACE AND ITS Bel étage
Top of the list of “must-sees” for 2017 has to be Bruchsal Palace. After suffering bomb damage in 1945, this 1732 bishop’s palace, 45 miles northwest of Stuttgart, has been painstakingly restored to the way it looked in the 18th century. The highlight is the bel étage, the grand main floor upstairs with its reception rooms and bedrooms. When they reopened in April, a lost chapter from Bruchsal’s history came back to life. As soon as you visit, you can see why, back in the 18th century, this prince bishops’ palace was one of Europe’s cultural and artistic “hotspots”. Luckily, all the artistic treasures were taken away for safe keeping during the Second World War, and today they are back where they belong: antique furniture, fine paintings and intricate tapestries. More than 350 priceless items that have been in storage for seven decades are home again. And this grand floor, all of 10,000 square feet, has been restored using the original architect’s plan. Old inventory lists and photographs provide precise insights into where each piece originally belonged. Scientists and craftspeople have been working hand in hand to reconstruct the grandeur of the past. Over recent years, several items that were thought to have been lost, have been successfully purchased from art dealers and private individuals. It is no exaggeration to say that the collection of valuable tapestries in Bruchsal Palace is absolutely unique. Altogether, there are 38 of them, one of the biggest collections in Europe.
More details: www.schloesser-und-gaerten.de/EN/