Ludwigsburg Palace, Stuttgart, Germany
Stepping inside the Marble Hall of Ludwigsburg Palace is like entering a tribute to everything the palatial residence has ever seen and has ever been.
Enormous chandeliers hang down into the room, an enormous painting on the ceiling makes you feel as though the sky is directly above you.
The large glass windows on the exterior wall let the sun from the outside world stream in. They’re mirrored on the other side by doors where nobility would once have swanned through, in a world of their own.
The Marble Hall is decorated in the Empire style but it wasn’t always like this. It was renovated in 1815 to have a more contemporary feel.
Before this it was a pure Baroque design. You can still see traces of that period really only in the oval shape and overall layout.
But that’s what Ludwigsburg Palace is these days – a mesh of styles.
The first version of the palace was built in 1704 as a hunting lodge but in 1718 it became the main residence for the Duke of Württemberg and so it was expanded to create a fitting home. Construction was finished in 1733.
By this stage the Duke had also established the town of Ludwigsburg next to the building and it competed with Stuttgart to be the region’s capital.
The duke’s idea was that the palace and the town together should feel like Versailles in France.
It became one of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany and, because it was untouched by World War II, remains so today.
The state rooms are magnificent and the standard tour leads me through all of the important ones.
From the public Marble Hall I go through the residential areas, filled with furniture and art of the time, as well as stories of royal intrigue.
For instance, there’s the bedroom that was redesigned when the king (Württemberg had been upgraded to a kingdom by this point) moved his wife into the palace to replace his mistress.
Everyone had been living quite happily until it was decided he needed an heir. Unfortunately she did not bear him one… but she was well into her forties by then.
The chapel is incredible and looks more like a throne room – not surprising as it was used for this purpose at one point. The actual throne room, however, is even larger.
I feel so small inside it, with a large paintings of a past leader watching me from the walls, his eyes following me as I move throughout the room.
The Baroque style is evident throughout but so is the Rococo and Empire. Each room has its own particular design, as was the habit at the time, so sometimes I can’t quite tell which is which.
I’m not sure at all what the bedroom covered in mirrors is supposed to be. I’m more interested in the story the guide is telling about how there’s a ‘secret’ staircase to the bedroom of the mistress one floor below.
Photos of Ludwigsburg Palace
You can’t normally take photos inside Ludwigsburg Palace but I was given special permission to take some.
So I want to make the most of the opportunity and share a few more with you here.
There’s no doubt that Ludwigsburg Palace is one of the highlights of a visit to Stuttgart.
If you’re doing a few things around the city, you might be able to save some money by using the Stuttcard. Check it out here.
The capital may have moved back to its neighbouring city, which grew dramatically and has become an economic powerhouse in Germany. But the period of dukes and kings has remained protected out here for all of us to enjoy today.
You can see it on a map here.
You can only go in and see the state rooms as part of a tour. I would recommend checking the official website to find the times for the day you're planning to visit.
And remember that using the Stuttcard might be good value for your visit.
Time Travel Turtle was supported by the Baden-Württemberg tourism board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.