Mannheim Palace

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The central building of the Mannheim Palace in 2007, after the restoration of the historic roofs
Location in Mannheim

The Mannheim Castle was under the reign of Elector Karl Philipp and Karl Theodor in three building phases from 1720 to 1760 in Mannheim built and was the residence of the Elector Palatine 1720-1777.


The Mannheim Palace, built in the Baroque style, consists of several wings: the east wing, the east courtyard, the central building, the west courtyard, the south and the west wing. In addition, a castle church and the castle library are integrated into the building. The elongated facades mostly have three floors, the four-story pavilions added to the building loosen up the austerity of the rectangular architecture. The main building and the central pavilion are each one floor higher. The historic interior, especially on the main floor, was a total work of art of European standing.

With its length of almost 450 meters and a built-up area of ​​six hectares, the extensive complex is one of the largest castles in Europe. The Mannheim Palace is the second largest Baroque palace complex in Europe after Versailles Palace . During construction, care was taken to ensure that it had exactly one more window than Versailles. This should u. a. represent the important position of the electors near the Rhine, which they occupied in the Holy Roman Empire .

Ehrenhof and Kurpfalz axis

The so-called Mannheimer squares , the division of the city center according to blocks of houses instead of streets, start from the palace and are aligned towards it . The right-angled, uniform building principle of the city of squares is architecturally adopted throughout the palace. The central building complex has elongated wings attached to both sides at right angles, the main front of which runs parallel to the opposing city squares.


Mannheim, 1663


Friedrichsburg was the name of a fortress that Elector Friedrich IV of the Palatinate had built in 1606 on the boundary of the then village of Mannheim together with the Rheinschanze on the other bank of the Rhine. After destruction in the Thirty Years' War by imperial troops, the “Protestant” citadel was replaced in 1664 by a simple Daniel de la Rousses palace , which consisted of three pavilions with connecting structures. Built in 1673's then kurpfälzische "Baumeisterei-adjunktus" Johann Peter Wachter a barracks on the fortress grounds. Mannheim and with it the palace were destroyed in 1689 during the Palatinate War of Succession .

New building under Elector Karl Philipp

The reconstruction of Mannheim began in 1698, one year after the Peace of Rijswijk , on the ground plan of a fortress surrounded by strong walls after the severe destruction during the War of the Palatinate Succession . The reconstruction was given new impetus when Elector Karl Philipp made Mannheim his residence. This was preceded by a dispute between the Catholic Elector and the Reformed Church over the use of the Heiliggeistkirche in Heidelberg . In April 1720, Karl Philipp moved with the court to Mannheim and began building a new palace at the highest point in the city, where the palace of Elector Karl Ludwig had previously stood. It is believed that the first plan came from the court architect of the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, Louis Rémy de la Fosse . In any case, the Mainz master builder Johann Kaspar Herwarthel was bound by an existing plan, who took over the construction management with the laying of the foundation stone in July 1720.

Laying of the foundation stone under Herwarthel in 1720

Friedrich Walter describes the laying of the foundation stone of the palace on July 2, 1720 in his history of Mannheim as follows:

" Arrived in Mannheim from Schwetzingen in the morning with his son-in-law, the Count Palatine von Sulzbach , Elector Carl Philipp, accompanied by the entire court, the ministers and government officials and the city council members, went to the.:., Place, Where the first stone should be laid Considering that a court chapel should be connected to the castle, the Auxiliary Bishop von Worms had accepted the invitation and took the ritual consecration of the foundation stone. After the end of the church ceremonies, the elector resigned his tent in the excavation pit and “with the greatest ceremonies put various old money, new medals embossed with gold and silver, including the names of the participants, as written on parchment, in the first stone: the council minutes conclude its report on this memorable one for Mannheim Act as follows: “What then your electoral highness and the court and all of them The gentlemen's councilors, servants and the rest of them went back to the then electoral house, and when they got out, they said to the councilors who had stood there: 'Now the beginning has been made, don't doubt it anymore, God bless it!' Because they then went up the stairs and were immediately blown to the table. In the evening around 7 o'clock your electoral highness, your highness the palatine count and the ministries and servants who had been here drove back and forth to Schwetzingen - God the Most High wants to grant his grace so that the castle, which has now been started, may soon be brought to perfection. "

The text of the laying of the foundation stone was as follows:

“In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
In the year 1720 after the virgin birth on the 2nd of July
there in the warring church as representative of Christ Clemens Xl. As the highest pontiff,
Carl Vl Archduke of Austria ruled the Roman Empire, the kingdoms of Spain, Bohemia and Hungary ruled
for the building of a palace of the Electorate of the Palatinate
for the consecration of the court chapel to the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Visitation of Elisabeth
, the first corner stone was consecrated by the most venerable bishop Johann Baptist dem Provicar in episcopal and spiritual matters of the Diocese of Worms
and laid as the foundation stone by the illustrious and powerful Prince and
Lord Carl Philipp the Count Palatine of the Rhine, Archtreachery of the Holy Roman Empire and Duke Elector in Bavaria, Jülich, Cleve and Berg Graf von Veldenz , Sponheim, the Mark and Ravensberg, Herr zu Ravenstein
in the presence of the illustrious Elisabeth Augusta the first daughter
and her illustrious husband Joseph Carl Palatine of the Rhine and Hereditary Prince of Sulzbach
in the presence and with the participation of the illustrious and high lords of the court and other court lords and of all high ministries that were transferred from Heidelberg to Mannheim

Construction of the main building under Froimon 1720–1726

Froimon's castle view from 1725

After Herwarthel's early death on November 5, 1720, Johann Clemens Froimon was employed as a palace builder, who until then had been in the service of the Bishop of Speyer. Froimon had to lead stubborn arguments with the elector, which in 1726 led to his dismissal from grace. The facade design of the main building, the execution of the roofs and the design of the castle church as an independent structural element can still be traced back to Froimon. Froimon is also said to have had the effect that the originally planned two-storey side wings were made three-storey contrary to the original plans, which made them stand out better from the town houses opposite. The main building now also blended in more harmoniously with the entire complex.

Several years passed from the laying of the foundation stone to the completion of the first partial building. Elector Carl Philipp, for example, relocated his winter residence to Oppenheimer's house in square R 1, 1. He spent the summer in his country estate, the Schwetzingen Palace, anyway . The new building threatened to be discontinued several times because the plans far exceeded the financial means. In 1721 the palace building tax was set at 75,000 guilders a year, and the elector relentlessly allowed it to be collected, but this too never covered the high expenses.

In 1725 the first general view of the castle by Froimon was published. The rich figurative ornamentation seen in this drawing was not realized for financial and architectural reasons. The baluster crowning for the entire building was also dispensed with and this was limited to the pavilions and the central building.

Completion of the first construction period under Hauberat 1726–1731

Guillaume d'Hauberat , who replaced Froimon as court architect in 1726, came from the Paris school of Robert de Cotte and had built the Poppelsdorf Palace near Bonn for the Archbishop of Cologne, Joseph Clemens of Bavaria , according to his master's plans . The interior design of the main staircase, the knight's hall and the castle church goes back to him . The ceiling paintings in these rooms were created by Cosmas Damian Asam between 1728 and 1730 . The frontispiece of the castle church shows motifs from the Italian Baroque, the triangular gable above the portal contains a figure relief by the Palatinate court sculptor Paul Egell , who also created other relief decorations inside the castle. The high altar painting from 1729 with the motif of the Visitation of Mary was painted by Paul Goudreau . A crypt was set up under the castle church. The first construction period ended with the inauguration of the castle church on May 13, 1731, and in November of the same year the elector was able to move into the castle. After that, construction work was suspended for the time being. Hauberat and Asam were appointed court chamber councilors in 1732. In 1734 Violanta Theresia, the third wife of Karl Philip, was buried in the crypt of the castle church. In 1736 a contract was issued to the painter Antonio Pellegrini to design the ceiling paintings in four halls east of the knight's hall.

Second construction period 1737–1742

In 1737 the opera house was started according to a plan by Alessandro Galli da Bibiena (1687-1748). Bibiena came from a Bolognese family of architects. He designed the Jesuit Church in Mannheim . The western outer wing, built from 1740 onwards, was also connected to the opera house as a connection to the Jesuit college. Architect Bibiena was ennobled in 1740 and appointed senior building director in 1741. The second construction period ended with the inauguration of the opera house at the wedding of Karl Theodor in 1742. Elector Karl Philipp died on December 31, 1742 and was also buried in the crypt of the castle church. Afterwards, the building was quiet except for internal extensions. After Bibiena's death in 1748, Hauberat was appointed senior building director.

Third construction period 1751–1760

Mannheim Rheinschanze and Mannheim Palace around 1750

Karl Theodor hesitated for a long time until he decided to expand the east wing, which was to house the art and scientific collections, the treasury, the Palatinate court library and the archive. This last phase of construction began in 1751 under foreman Johann Jakob Rischer . In 1752 Nicolas de Pigage was appointed chief building director. Pigage had to follow the design of the existing buildings in the design of the components for which he was responsible and could therefore only introduce his own designs inside. The design of the large library hall and the adjoining galleries as well as the library cabinet of the Electress goes back to him. In 1755 a splendid annex for the French comedy had to be omitted for cost reasons, in 1756 further savings dispositions were made because of the expensive buildings. Franz Zeller created the valuable parquet floors. The ceiling painting of the large library room was completed in 1758 by Lambert Krahe , further ceiling paintings by Philipp Hieronymus Brinckmann . The entire east wing was completed around 1760.

Even after the completion of the buildings, further alterations and extensions took place inside. In 1767, for example, a large, classical chimney was built by Franz Pozzi in the pavilion hall.

Use as a residence after the period

In 1778 Karl Theodor moved to Munich as a result of the inheritance from Kurbayern, and the maintenance fee for the Mannheim and Schwetzingen palaces was reduced from 75,000 to 48,000 guilders by 1784. The court opera built by Alessandro Galli Bibiena , which was one of the largest and most beautiful opera houses in Europe, burned down 17 years after Karl Theodor's move when the city was bombarded by Austro-Prussian artillery in 1795 when the French occupied Mannheim. For a long time only the outer walls were standing. The official prison was later built on this site.

After the death of chief architect Pigage in 1796, his position was no longer filled. Karl Theodor also died in 1799, and in 1802 the palace passed into Baden ownership, whereupon the remains of the copperplate and drawing cabinet were transferred from the palace to the State Graphic Collection in Munich .

From 1819 to 1860, the castle served as the widow's seat of Stephanie von Baden , who initiated several larger renovations in the Empire style of the time and also had walls and false ceilings installed.

Postcard sent on September 9, 1912

From 1878 the line of the Mannheim horse-drawn tram , which led to Ludwigshafen, ran through the main gate into the palace's courtyard , turned 90 degrees to the north and passed through the northern wing of the palace on its way to the ramp of the Rhine bridge .

In 1926 the castle museum opened. a. presented the combined collections of the Grand Ducal Court Antiquarian and the Mannheim Antiquities Association.

Destruction in World War II

Angel of Peace in the west wing to commemorate the reconstruction

The castle was almost completely destroyed in World War II. Reconstruction seemed a utopian plan in the early post-war years, and the idea of ​​demolishing the ruins was vigorously debated.

In 1945 the writer Ernst Glaeser published the plan of a Mannheim architect to rebuild the palace as a “ large people's collective for 1200 people ”, as a “ community house for the working people ” in order to alleviate the housing shortage.

The decision of the state building administration of North Baden in 1947 to restore the only slightly damaged wing of the building on the western wing of the Ehrenhof and to set up rooms for authorities ultimately saved the castle.

In 1947, the reconstruction of the entire complex began in phases under the town planning director Rolf Becker. It ended on March 28, 2007 with the inauguration of the new castle museum in the Corps de Logis .

Todays situation

Main entrance of the University of Mannheim

Of the pre-war furnishings, only the Electress's cabinet library has largely been preserved. In the central building, some rooms (including the staircase, knight's hall, satellite hall) were reconstructed around 1960. Carolus Vocke replicated the ceiling pictures based on historical photographs.

The other parts of the building now house part of the university administration and the university library , but also lecture halls and seminar rooms of the University of Mannheim . There, in December 2008, 35 information boards were put up on the former use of university rooms in the time of Carl Theodor. A guide was published in November 2012 that can be purchased for 5 €.

Extensive construction work has been carried out on and in the castle since 2005/06. Among other things, a mansard roof was added , as it had been before 1945. The facades were given a new version: dark red structures and yellow wall surfaces (these were originally white). The departmental libraries moved into the mezzanine floor as well as into the mansard roof, which was built according to old templates. In the vacant rooms on the first floor, the old suites of rooms in the Imperial and Electoral Quarter were rebuilt after the room structure that was created after 1945 was dismantled. A castle museum was set up in them and in the corridor areas adjacent to the north and on the ground floor. It shows tapestries, furniture and other art objects from the Palatinate and Baden times in decorations that suggest the original appearance of the rooms.

View from the knight's hall to the satellite hall - enfilade to the west

The main courtyard of the palace is used for major cultural events. In July 2006, the first Arena of Pop Festival took place here. The previously greened square was completely paved with natural stone in accordance with its original function as a courtyard.

180 ° panorama: main courtyard of the palace

Todays use

The castle is mainly used by the University of Mannheim. In addition to several libraries, there are lecture halls, seminar rooms and offices for science, teaching and administration within the building. In addition, the Mannheim District Court occupies part of the west wing. Mannheim Palace is also open for tours. It is one of the state's own monuments and is looked after by the “ State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg ”.

View from the central building into the former palace garden towards Ludwigshafen


In his “Histoire de mon temps” (History of my time), Frederick the Great placed the Mannheim Palace next to the palaces of Berlin , Nymphenburg and Ludwigsburg , next to the Reich Chancellery and the Karlskirche in Vienna, and counted it among the buildings that “although not those of Athens and Rome are comparable, but surpass the Gothic architecture of our ancestors ”.


sorted by year of publication

  • Plan of the grand ducal palace in Mannheim. Mannheim 1863 ( digitized version ).
  • Rudolf Tillessen : The Grand Ducal Palace in Mannheim. Selected interior decorations. Mannheim 1897 ( digitized ).
  • Friedrich Walter : Castle Museum in Mannheim. Mannheim 1926.
  • Friedrich Walter: Buildings of the electoral era in Mannheim. Mannheim 1928.
  • Ludwig Werner Böhm: The Mannheim Castle. Mannheim 1978.
  • Wiltrud Heber: The work of Nicolas de Pigage in the former Palatinate residences in Mannheim and Schwetzingen = manuscripts for art history in the Werner publishing company 10. 2 volumes. Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft , Worms 1986. ISBN 978-3-88462-909-3
  • Karl J. Svoboda: The Mannheim Castle. Mannheim 1990.
  • Stefan Mörz: capital and residence: Carl Theodor, his court and Mannheim (= small writings of the Mannheim City Archives. No. 12). Brandt, Mannheim 1998, ISBN 3-926260-41-6 .
  • Ferdinand Werner : The palace garden in Mannheim - A journey through time . In: Die Gartenkunst  16 (1/2004), pp. 1–48.
  • Hartmut Ellrich : The Mannheim Castle. Erfurt 2006, ISBN 3-89702-947-2 .
  • Ferdinand Werner : The electoral residence in Mannheim . Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 2006. ISBN 3-88462-235-8
  • Carla Mueller, Katrin Rössler: Mannheim Baroque Palace. Guide to State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-422-02052-8 .
  • Wolfgang Wiese: Crown of the Electoral Palatinate - Mannheim Baroque Palace. History and equipment. Petersberg 2007, ISBN 3-86568-183-2 .
  • Rosmarie Günther: Visiting Carl Theodor. Mannheim 2012, ISBN 978-3-939352-22-8 .
  • Hartmut Ellrich, Alexander Wischniewski: Baroque Palace Mannheim - History and Stories. Karlsruhe 2013, ISBN 978-3-7650-8629-8 .


  • Shine with siding: the Mannheim Castle. Documentary, Germany, 2007, 28 min., Script and director: Christina Brecht-Benze, production: SWR , series: Schätze des Landes, film dates from WorldCat .
    The documentation shows the castle after its restoration in 2005/06.

Web links

Commons : Mannheim Palace  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Helmut Knocke : Wachter, Johann Peter , in: Stadtlexikon Hannover , p. 651
  2. Plan of the city of Mannheim from 1888, exhibited in the local transport museum Depot 5 in Mannheim.
  3. Information from the University of Mannheim
  4. official press release
  5. Campusshop Uni Mannheim ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 49 ° 28 ′ 58.5 "  N , 8 ° 27 ′ 42.4"  E