City Palace

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Under city palace ( French palace , palace '), and City Palace or City Palace , one understands residences of the city nobility and urban secondary residences of the landed gentry .

Historical development

In the Middle Ages , the nobility was consistently located in rural areas or outside and above the castle settlements , which were often secondary to the residence. The residence of the local rulers was only there where the castles were settlement centers of larger cities or in explicitly selected residential cities (capitals).

The knight, who was waiting for his liege lord , pitched his tent before the city; Higher-ranking personalities were offered quarters in their own house. The city palace (Palazzo) then flourished in the Renaissance of Italy, executed by the mercantile bourgeoisie in the city republics such as Venice , Florence and Siena and also in the church city of Rome . Leon Battista Alberti already treated the city palace in his art-theoretical treatise "On Building" (Decem libri de re aedificatoria) (approx. 1443–1452) as an independent building task. This found a continuation especially in the colonialism of Spain and Portugal.

With the end of the Middle Ages, the urban nobility, starting in the Mediterranean area, but increasingly also from the narrowness - and also the dirt - of the growing cities wanted to evade into country estates , at least seasonally as a summer residence . Otherwise, suburban palaces were increasingly being built around the cities . At the same time, the landed gentry began to expand their estates in the form of palace-like villas , especially when a completely new style of representative architecture became modern with the emergence of Palladianism . This can be found intensively in the 17th century, for example, in England with the powerful gentry (the landed nobility). There industrialization began in the area around the country estates, not in the big cities. The exodus of the nobility from the city reached a climax with the establishment of the new residence of the French king, Versailles , 20 kilometers outside Paris, in the middle of the 17th century. Numerous royal courts across Europe followed suit, and the court initially commuted between the city palace and summer residence seasonally and finally moved out of the city during the Baroque period. The old city castles were partly demolished and partly converted into administrative buildings.

In the course of the extra-urban settlement of the residences, however, new suburban settlement centers were created, at the same time the cities were restructured and old town centers with city walls were converted into modern fortresses . In addition, the judiciary and public administration were increasingly centralized, the residential cities gained in importance and the need for court officials increased.

Paris: City Palace of Salomon Rothschild on Avenue de Friedland (built 1873 to 1882)

A counter-movement set in, the nobility sought the physical proximity of the court, liked to participate more in urban life and also to escape the rigors of rural life. The wealthy landed gentry began to create splendid second homes , called city ​​palaces , in the core and suburbs .

This development started again from the Mediterranean; in Castile and in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies , the nobility gathered in the cities as early as the 16th century. In northern Europe, the country nobility continued to visit the country estates during the agricultural season and used the city castles as winter palaces. The centers of development were the courtyards in Paris (with the typical hôtels ), London and Vienna (where the suburbs were again considered safe after the end of the Turkish threat in 1683).

In 18th century France, for example, 40% of the nobility lived in the city, compared to 4% at the end of the Middle Ages. With this emigration of the wealthy and powerful, the landed gentry became increasingly impoverished. The city and suburban palaces increasingly portrayed the royal courts on a small scale. At the same time - in the Catholic south of Europe - the bishop's palace developed as the representative seat of the clergy princes. With the abolition of lordship and serfdom after the revolution up to the 1850s and with the increased emergence of non-aristocratic, highly industrialized entrepreneurs outside of the cities, intensified again in the demolition of the city ​​fortifications from the middle of the 19th century ( early days in Germany) What created new building space in the central city, there are also magnificent bourgeois buildings, which were also called "city palaces": A representative seat in the city that could stand up to any old noble house was the first step into the money nobility . Otherwise, the city palace, town house and (more upscale) apartment building largely looked the same during this time . This development ended with the upheavals of the world wars.


  • Ronald G. Asch: European Nobility in the Early Modern Age: An Introduction . tape 3086 from UTB for Science: Uni Pocket Books - History . Verlag UTB, 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-3086-9 , The noble house and its relatives, p. 97–131 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  • Eduard von Habsburg-Lothringen: Where counts sleep: What is where in the castle and why? CH Beck, 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-60703-5 , section historical development , p. 23 ff . ( Google eBook, excerpt from Google book search).


  1. a b The French loan word Palais , already borrowed from the Roman city mountain Palatinus and in the Palas of the castle, shows the origin of the development in Germany from France. Compare on this Walter Pape: Room configurations in romanticism . 2nd Edition. tape 7 of Writings of the International Arnim Society . Walter de Gruyter, 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-023101-4 , p. 140 ( limited preview ).
  2. ^ Karl M. Swoboda: Roman and Romanesque palaces. An architectural-historical study (1919/1924). 3rd edition, Böhlau, Wien / Kön / Graz 1969.
  3. ^ Andreas Tönnesmann: Between town house and residence. On the social typology of the Palazzo Medici. In: Andreas Beyer, Bruce Boucher (ed.): Piero de'Medici ‹il Gottoso› (1416–1469). Art in the service of Medici. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1993, pp. 71-88.
  4. James R. Lindow: The Renaissance Palace in Florence. Magnificence and Splendor in Fifteenth-Century Italy. Ashgate, Aldershot 2007.
    Francesco Gurrieri, Patrizia Fabbri: The Palaces of Florence . Munich 1996.
  5. Christoph Luitpold Frommel : The Roman palace building of the High Renaissance. 3 volumes, Roman Research Series of the Bibliotheca Hertziana , Wasmuth, Tübingen 1973.
  6. ^ The splendor of the residences: Renaissance and Baroque in Europe, Black Africa and Old America . Brockhaus series , the library. Art and culture 4; Brockhaus, Leipzig / Mannheim: 1998.
  7. cf. Tilman Harlander : Villa and home: suburban urban development in Germany . German Verlags-Anst., 2001, ISBN 978-3-421-03299-7 , chapter Each family has their own house and suburbanization The growing periphery , p. 18th ff. and 50 ff., especially 28 .
  8. In Naples, for example, the city districts, the seggi , represented all the barons of the kingdom. Asch: European nobility . S. 128 .
  9. ^ Asch: European nobility . S. 130 .
  10. see Dietrich WH Schwarz: Material goods and forms of life: Introduction to the material cultural history of the Middle Ages and the modern age . tape 11 of the basics of German studies / cognitive language processing . Verlag Erich Schmidt, 1970, p. 32 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  11. Free entrepreneurship previously existed primarily in trade , with its proud town houses from the late Middle Ages, in primary production in rural areas only in the form of trades in mining and the small iron industry with their manor houses .