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Hunting palace and summer residence with glorious views

Solitude Palace

Solitude Palace in the fall. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Norbert Stadler
A world of their own

The buildings

Solitude Palace could be described as a pavilion ensemble with the character as a small city. Everything is arranged symmetrically, typical for the Baroque period. Individual buildings housed living areas for the duke, royal household, and guests, drawing rooms, and service areas.

Aerial view of Solitude Palace with administrative building and cavalier building. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

The outbuildings frame the palace building.

The ensemble

The central group of buildings is similar to Baroque stage sets. When traveling the long approach from Ludwigsburg, Solitude Palace both caught the eye and offered a vantage point. The outbuildings to the side were intended to loosen the whole impression and led gradually to the garden area. They are lined up along a semicircular layout, similar to the radial arrangements of Baroque hunting lodges.

Garden side of Solitude Palace with perron and terrace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Joachim Feist

The perrons lead directly to the terrace where a marvelous view is guaranteed.

Perrons for the view

The representative main floor on the second level, the bel étage, rises above the basement level, which is surrounded and hidden by arched arcade. These arches support a terrace that runs around the building. On both the front and rear sides, curved double flights of stairs lead up to it. This circular platform, called a "belvedere," was a favorite feature in pleasure palaces and served as both a vantage point and a royal reception area.

The important rooms

The center of the main floor houses the White Hall, a representative ceremonial hall. The west wing houses the duke's official apartment, including a bedroom, study, and library, while the drawing rooms are in the east wing. Both sets of rooms served representational purposes. The present entrance does not correspond to the historical arrangement: The bel étage was accessed through the White Hall. There were additional apartments for high-ranking guests on the basement level. On the whole, the palace was primarily the backdrop for courtly ceremony; in fact, the duke and his guests were actually housed in the administrative building and cavalier building.

Visitors discover the White Hall on the main floor of Solitude Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

The White Hall: where the royal household celebrated under Duke Carl Eugen

Aerial view of the eastern wing of Solitude Palace with Duke Carl Eugen's apartment. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

Duke Carl Eugen lived in the east wing.

Administrative building and cavalier building

On the south side, the palace building is framed by two wings, each consisting of a head building, single story semicircular side wings and rear wings. The west wing—called the administrative building—housed the theater, a painting gallery as well as a confectionery, the coffee storeroom, and the silver chamber. The east wing—called the cavalier building—housed the duke's private apartment on the ground floor and his mistress' apartment, drawing rooms, and ducal palace chapel on the upper floor.

Aerial view of the ten cavalier houses, part of the eastern wing. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele-Crop

The royal household lived in the cavalier house.

The cavalier house

Because the two wings served to house the duke and his court and supply practical needs, they took priority during the construction between 1764 and 1766. From here, the duke was able to stay apprised of the construction work performed on the main building. 10 pavilions to both the west and east extended the wings. In the cavalier houses, there were: a dining hall, a billiard room, baking, roasting, and cavaliers kitchens, the domain of the head cook, administration, rooms for the royal household, and for servants.

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