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Hunting palace and summer residence with glorious views

Solitude Palace

Solitude Palace, exterior photograph. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl
The duke and his palaces

Milestones

In the 18th century, a residence was only considered representational and appropriate if there were several smaller hunting lodges and pleasure palaces surrounding the residential palace. Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg had many magnificent buildings constructed around Stuttgart.

Engraving of Hohenheim Palace in Stuttgart-Hohenheim. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

A summer residence: Hohenheim Palace.

The royal household

A Baroque ruler typically lived in the main residence: it was necessary for important official occasions, and the royal household was housed here. Duke Carl Eugen used Ludwigsburg as his residence, while the other dukes and kings of Württemberg had selected Stuttgart. Nearby pleasure palaces and hunting lodges, such as Monrepos Palace, Solitude Palace, or Hohenheim Palace, were used as housing for the court, particularly during the summer months. Duke Carl Eugen liked to host large hunts in autumn on the hunting grounds around Kirchheim Palace and Urach Palace.

The Palm Room of Solitude Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Playful Rococo in the Palm Room.

Living in style

Solitude Palace is the sole example of southern German architecture in the second half of the 18th century. In contrast to other palaces, it was neither redesigned by subsequent generations nor destroyed in World War II. Solitude Palace can be considered a typical example of a royal pleasure palace, created at the transition from Rococo to early Classicism and uniting both styles.

The ceiling painting in the White Hall of Solitude Palace depicts the welfare of the land. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Honoring the reign of Carl Eugen in the White Hall.

Self-expression at a high price

The extravagant parties, hunts, and opera productions of the Duke of Württemberg, Carl Eugen, were famous among his contemporaries. The well-traveled Giacomo Casanova described the court in his memoirs as the "most radiant in Europe." The construction of Solitude Palace as the location of this royal household was one of the most extensive undertakings of the 18th century in southwest Germany. But it came at a price: Carl Eugen brought the Duchy of Württemberg to the edge of ruin, and came under significant political pressure at home.

Chairs in Solitude Palace, Stuttgart. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

Elegant furniture served representational purposes.

What was the next chapter of Solitude Palace's history?

The last grand celebration took place in 1782. The rulers of Württemberg gave up the high-maintenance gardens and even had some garden buildings torn down. Since approximately 1830, Solitude Palace has been a popular destination. In the following decades, it was refurnished, and was renovated under King Karl. Queen Olga often used Solitude Palace for meetings with her Russian relatives. In the second half of the 20th century, extensive restoration measures were undertaken. Since then, the main palace has been open to visitors and the side wings have been used by the Solitude Palace Academy.

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