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One of the largest historic residences in Europe

Mannheim Baroque Palace

Exterior view of Mannheim Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
A monumental palace complex

The palace

With its huge main courtyard and 440-meter-long show facade, the giant Mannheim Baroque Palace is one of the largest palaces in Europe. The impressive complex was intended to display the political position of the Prince-Electors of the Palatinate.

Portrait of Prince-Elector Carl Philipp von der Pfalz, painting by Johann Philipp van der Schlichten, 1729, Mannheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Carl Philipp began construction in 1720.

From stronghold to royal residence

Mannheim Palace traces its history back to "Friedrichsburg," the fortress founded by Prince-Elector Friedrich IV in 1606. In the Nine Years' War, this simple palace was destroyed. In 1720, Prince-Elector Carl Philipp laid the foundation stone for a new, representational palace building. French architects Louis Rémy de la Fosse, Jean Clemens Froimon, and Guillaume d'Hauberat took part in the planning. The first rooms in the western corps de logis, the central building of the palace, were ready for habitation in 1731.

Visitors in the knights' hall in Mannheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

Still impressive today.

Magnificent expansion in the 18th century

Carl Philipp's successor, Prince-Elector Carl Theodor, continued to build onto the mighty palace complex. In the exterior design, he preserved the representational style of the Baroque. In the interior, however, rooms that were inspired by Rococo and the beginnings of Classicism were created. Carl Theodor's residence developed into a famous European court of muses thanks to his patronage of the arts and sciences.

Bedroom in the former apartment of Stéphanie von Baden in Mannheim Palace, watercolor by Pieter Francis Peters, 1842. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

The grand duchess had elegant taste.

New splendor in the time of the House of Baden

In 1777, Prince-Elector Carl Theodor inherited the Prince-Electorate of Bavaria and moved the royal household to Munich. After the Electoral Palatinate transferred to Baden, Mannheim Palace served as the residence of the Hereditary Grand Duke Carl von Baden and Duchess Stéphanie de Beauharnais from 1806 to 1811. After becoming a widow relatively early, Stéphanie returned to Mannheim in 1818. The former apartment of the prince-electors was now furnished in the Empire style. Thanks to the private salons hosted by the widowed grand duchess, Mannheim Palace bloomed once more.

The destruction of war at Mannheim Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

World War II destroyed the palace.

Destruction and reconstruction

In 1918, the palace became the property of the Free State of Baden. A palace museum was established in 1926. World War II reduced the residence, once so magnificent, to dust and ashes. After the war, the palace was rebuilt, and a few rooms were reconstructed. However, it was not until 2007 that the original mansard roof of the central building, some room ensembles, and the main courtyard were restored. It was also at this time that 800 precious objects that had once furnished the palace returned.

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