Karlsruhe Palace is located in the heart of the modern city of Karlsruhe. It was built in 1715 by Charles William (Karl Wilhelm) III, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, when he relocated the capitol of the Margraviate from nearby Durlach. Said to have been dreamed up as he rested during a hunt - Karlsruhe translates literally to 'Charles repose' - the impressive palace building, and specifically its tower, is at the centre of a fan shaped layout, with 32 streets radiating outwards like spokes from a wheel. In 1785 a cupola was added to the tower, and visitors today who make the climb to the top will be treated to panoramic views of the parkland and city that surround the palace.
(Click any image to enlarge and scroll through the gallery)
In 1738 Charles William's grandson Charles Frederick (Karl Friedrich) - whose statue today greets visitors to the palace - succeeded him as Margrave of Baden-Durlach. In 1771 Charles Frederick inherited the titles and possessions of his distant cousin, the Margrave of Baden-Baden, thus reuniting the two houses of Baden that had separated in 1535. He styled himself as the Margrave of Baden, and Karlsruhe Palace thus became the capitol of the newly reunited Margraviate that had first been established in 1112.
From Margraviate to Grand Duchy
Having allied with his French neighbour just over the Rhine, Charles Frederick was handsomely rewarded with territory and titles following Napoleon's sweeping successes at the turn of the century. In 1803 he was elevated to an Elector - a high office within the Holy Roman Empire shared by only a handful of princes and second only to the emperor - and the territory of Baden was extended beyond the river Neckar to the north, gaining the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg. The newly formed Electorate of Baden also received the cities of Offenburg and Freiburg to the south, both of which came with significant territories of their own. On the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 Charles Frederick became a Grand Duke, and Baden received additional territory that created a continuous Grand Duchy of Baden on the east and north bank of the Rhine as far east as Lake Constance.
Revolution and War
During the March Revolution of 1848-9 Grand Duke Leopold, fourth Grand Duke of Baden, was forced to flee the palace until Prussian troops suppressed the revolution and restored order. Following defeat in the First World War and as a result of the subsequent German Revolution, Grand Duke Frederick II abdicated on 22nd November 1918. Baden became a republic, and the palace was transformed into a museum. In September 1944, during the Second World War, the palace was gutted by allied bombing, leaving only the walls standing. Fortunately the museum contents had already been removed for safe-keeping. Reconstruction of the palace was begun in 1955 and the museum was re-opened after the restoration was completed in 1966.
- Museum opening hours, admission, and accessibility information
- Official Karlsruhe tourist information website
- Mobile tourist information pages for the palace and the gardens