One of the largest historic residences in Europe

Mannheim Baroque Palace

Aquarell mit Ansicht der Gartenseite von Schloss Mannheim, um 1890; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
A garden with a widely varied history

The palace garden

A garden was part of the prince-elector's residence from the beginning. But it was not until Grand Duchess Stéphanie came along that the garden of Mannheim Palace became famous. Today, little of it remains. Large railroad tracks and streets cut through the former green areas.

View of Mannheim Palace from the south, copper engraving by Schnell based on Fries, circa 1830. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Both prince-electors ordered trees and flowers for the Baroque palace garden.

The Baroque gardens

Prince-Elector Carl Philipp was the first to arrange a garden between the palace and the fortification wall in the French style. In 1730, 400 elms and 400 yew trees were purchased in the Netherlands and brought to the prince-elector's residence by ship along the Rhine. Under Carl Theodor, flowerbeds and areas of lawn were added to the simple groves of trees. The prince-elector spent great sums on tulips and hyacinths in the Netherlands and had footpaths and fountains landscaped.

Mannheim Palace with its landscape garden, watercolor by J.P. Karg, 1819. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Winding paths invite visitors to take a walk.

The landscape garden in the English style

At the beginning of the 19th century, Mannheim's fortifications were dismantled. The director of the garden, Johann Michael Zeyher, now created a landscape garden in the English style on behalf of Grand Duchess Stéphanie. The Mannheim Palace park extended to the Rhine and was open to the public. Winding paths led through the park. Groups of trees offered variety and created fascinating views of garden architecture, such as pavilions. In front of the eastern part of the palace stood a nursery and a vegetable garden. Small avenues near the west wing of the palace invited passerby to go on shady walks.

The gardens and Mannheim Palace from the main courtyard side, before its destruction in 1936/37. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Railroad tracks were laid through the garden.

The end of the palace garden

The idyll barely lasted half a century. The city of Mannheim, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar, developed into an important center of industry and trade: goods were transferred from water to railway here. The palace garden had to give way to the development of the new transportation network. Beginning in 1865, railroad tracks and roads went through the palace garden in the direction of Ludwigshafen. The palace was now cut off from the Rhine. In 1893 and 1894, additional bridges and streets were added, dissecting the palace garden into many pieces.

Main courtyard of Mannheim Baroque Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Since 2007, the main courtyard has once again been cobbled.

Main courtyard and Friedrichspark

In the 1930s, Garden Construction Director Zeyher shaped the main courtyard as a green space with round lawns, groups of shrubbery, and fountains. At the end of the 19th century, the Friedrichspark and its Italian flowerbeds was created west of the palace, only to be built over with more streets and railroad tracks after World War II. And the main courtyard? On the occasion of the city's anniversary in 2007, it once again received its original Baroque form as a representational space with stone cobbles.

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