A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

Terrace gardens at Kirchheim Palace after the remodel. Image: Katrin Scholder
PARADISE LOST

THE GARDEN

Even though the area around Kirchheim Palace is still relatively green, it is hard to imagine what it used to be like: the palace was surrounded by several rambling gardens with a variety of garden structures. Today they are either largely or completely gone.

Duke Carl Eugen and Franziska von Hohenheim and their retinue at target practice at Kirchheim Palace. Image: SWR, Gisela Reich

The hunt: a privilege and a hobby.

GARDENS INSTEAD OF FORTIFICATIONS

Kirchheim's fort-like appearance began to disappear in the 17th century. From then on, the ducal family used the palace as a dower house or as lodgings for court society during hunts or health treatments. This made suitable living areas within the palace and correspondingly generous gardens outside an absolute necessity.

Drawing of Kirchheim Palace during Duchess Henriette's time. Image: Stadtmuseum Kirchheim unter Teck

The palace during Duchess Henriette's time.

THE ROYAL GARDENS

Kirchheim Palace's royal gardens were once located behind the present-day Alleenstraße. They included expansive meadows with star-shaped paths and vegetable gardens, which supplied the court society. A riding arena was also located in the royal gardens. The construction of the first rail line in the 19th century marked the start of almost complete development of the area and the royal gardens have disappeared entirely.

Drawing of the pleasure garden and winding paths at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Stadtarchiv Kirchheim unter Teck

Pleasure garden with winding paths.

STABLE GARDEN

A garden was installed between the stables and the palace where Dowager Duchess Franziska von Hohenheim had a greenhouse erected in 1797. Shortly thereafter, her successor, Henriette von Württemberg, converted this area into an English landscape garden. Today, the former stable garden is a public park. No trace remains of the historic garden.

THE PLEASURE AND TERRACE GARDENS

Two more gardens completed the palace grounds. Duchess Henriette had the filled-in moat to the northwest converted into a romantic pleasure garden with intertwining paths. Immediately in front of her rooms, on top of the casemate vaults, the terrace garden, with a chestnut avenue, trellises and flower beds, was also an inviting place for a stroll.

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