A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

Aerial view of Kirchheim Palace with casemates and bastion. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
SAFE IN AN EMERGENCY

THE CASEMATES

The casemates are remnants of the stronghold at Kirchheim unter Teck, one of seven former strongholds within the Duchy of Württemberg. It was built in the 16th century and offered protection from attacks as well as space for heavy defensive artillery.

Lantern tour of the casemates. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Kiel

Casemate system at Kirchheim unter Teck.

STRONGHOLD AT KIRCHHEIM UNTER TECK

As one of the seven strongholds in Württemberg, Kirchheim unter Teck served to defend the state in the 16th century and therefore had to be equipped with correspondingly robust fortifications. Duke Ulrich and his successor, Christoph, expanded the palace as a citadel for retreat and outfitted the town with massive moats, bastions and ramparts. A tall wall, "Erdenberg" (earth mound) hill, was also built south of the palace, as further protection from attack.

SAFE FROM ATTACK

The term "casemate" comes from the French, meaning massive vaults within a fortress that are meant to act as protection against artillery attacks. The casemates were usually hidden inside ramparts and consisted of bricked walls or earthen mounds. Their high vaults and stable construction also supported heavy artillery.

Cross-section drawing of the town wall, moat with water, wall and balustrades by Bavarian artist Georg Stern.

Cross-section drawing of the town wall, moat with water, wall and balustrades

Today's landscaping on the casemates. Image: Karin Scholder

The garden on the casemates.

TERRACE GARDEN ON THE CASEMATES

To construct a wall wide enough for mounting canons, Duke Christoph had the Zwinger wall between the palace and the stable bastion vaulted in 1555. It was this 75-meter-long system of casemates that was subsequently converted into the terrace garden, with its chestnut trees, trellises and flower beds, in the 18th century.

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