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Hunting palace and summer residence with glorious views

Solitude Palace

Solitude Palace, painting by Jean Adrien Claude Servadoni, circa 1765. Image: Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain
The magical gardens of Solitude Palace

The garden

Expansive meadows and forests characterize the area surrounding Solitude Palace and invite visitors to take a stroll. Today, hardly anything can be seen of the once extensive gardens with alternating beds and paths, a labyrinth and theater, sculptures and pavilions.

A dream in green

Many historical drawings and plans show the garden: The lavish gardens were primarily on the south side of the palace. In the beginning, there was no overall design for the individual parts. In 1764, Friedrich Christoph Hemmerling became the first head gardener. He created the central gardens using pre-existing paths. From 1766 to 1772, architect Reinhard Ferdinand Heinrich Fischer developed plans to expand the garden to the east and west. He created additional primary and secondary axes that pointed toward the palace. In the process, he followed the French garden theory forms of Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d'Argenville.

Solitude Palace, R. F. H. Fischer "Topographischer Plan," 1784. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

Expansive and diverse: Fischer's plan shows how ornamentally planted beds, geometric lawns, and carefully cut hedges formed a pleasure garden in the French style.

Solitude Palace, colored graphic, circa 1770. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Court society gathered in the garden for enjoyment.

Where the duke played "hide and seek"

The south garden was divided into small areas, as was typical for the Rococo period. For the enjoyment of the court, there was a hedge theater, a labyrinth, a small "pleasure lake," a maze, and various pavilions. The many structures in the garden include buildings such as the "Laurel Hall" (three sequential halls, used as a greenhouse in winter and a festive building in summer), the riding hall, the orangery, the Chinese house and the lavish stables for up to 380 animals. There were also fruit and vegetable gardens.

Title page from "Reglement vor die von Sr. herzoglichen Durchlaucht gnädigst aufgestellte Militarische Pflanz-Schule" ("Rule of the Military Academy Created by His Ducal Majesty"), 1770. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

Title page of the school rules.

"Military Academy" or "Hohe Karlsschule"

Northeast of Solitude Palace, Duke Carl Eugen had a giant complex of buildings built: The "Military Academy" he founded in 1770 was& housed here, later called "Hohe Karlsschule." Approximately 300 foreign and domestic students also lived on the grounds of Solitude Palace. They were frequently presented by the duke at official occasions. This facility, which was moved to the Stuttgart city center in 1775, added more splendor to life at the pleasure palace.

Solitude Palace, exterior, Solitudeallee avenue. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Sven Grenzemann

The avenue can still be seen today.

Long and broad: the Solitudeallee

Beginning from the north side of the palace, Carl Eugen had a straight, 13-kilometer long avenue built between 1764 and 1768 as a visual and connection axis between Solitude Palace and Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. The Solitudeallee avenue was reserved for the royal household. All others were prohibited from entering the avenue. To this day, it still connects the two places and ends at the edge of Ludwigsburg. In 1820, the avenue served as a basis line and a reference point for land surveys in Württemberg.

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