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Palace Heidecksburg in Rudolfstadt - a day's excursion

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Palace Heidecksburg in Rudolfstadt - a day's excursion

Our host, the campground "Unter den Jenzig" had mentioned some places of interest in the area, which we also wanted to visit together with our friend Detlef, who arrived to visit us from Halle.

We had already reported about our tour of Rudolfstadt, the highlight was the ascent to Rudolfstadt Castle.

Palace Heidecksburg is the former residence of the Princes of Schwarzenburg-Rudolstadt in Rudolstadt in Thuringia. It dominates the townscape, about 60 meters above the old town center with its historic town hall and the market square. Today, the Thuringian Museum Heidecksburg and the Thuringian State Archives Rudolstadt are housed in the castle.

The predecessor of Heidecksburg Castle was a fortress from the 13th century, which was located on the site of today's castle garden. It belonged to the Earl of Orlamunde, was acquired by the Counts of Schwarzburg in 1334, and destroyed in the Thuringian Earls War in March 1345. There are no visible remains of these buildings. In the second half of the 14th century, a successor building was erected, which was between the today's open-air stage and the center of the Palace Square. Presumably, the circular tower integrated into the Marstall today stayed from this buildings. In 1573, this castle burned at least partially, and a three-lobe Renaissance castle was built, which in its dimensions and the position of the tower and the passage to the city was already largely the present plant.

In 1735 this castle had also burned to a large extent. Only the guarded building, the ribbed vaults on the ground floor of the west wing, the portal on the north wing as well as large parts of the southern wing (with gate entrance, mirror cabinet and some other rooms) were spared and integrated into the new structure. In 1737 construction work began for the reconstruction of the new Baroque residence, which was to take account of the prestige of the House of Schwarzenburg-Rudolstadt, which was raised in the princely estate in 1710.

The large courtyard is about 150 meters long. The castle's southern wing is largely based on the building foundation of the previous building. The new main wing was built in the west of the farm. Its center is a sumptuous festive hall which can still be visited today and is used for cultural events, such as for palace concerts. A representative spatial sequence is assigned to it from each side. The north wing was intended as an administrative seat for the princely ministries and was expanded by several smaller economic buildings, including the horse stables. As the last major building of this phase, the 40 meter high castle tower was built in 1744.

The influence of the late baroque in Dresden can be seen, for example, in the facade of the west wing designed by Knöffel and in the arrangement of the rooms in the main wing. The latter, with their division into two apartments of ante-room, of the room, of the cabinet with the alcove, and of the cloakroom, showed clear French influences, and were directed to the comfort of their inhabitants. However, work did not go as fast as planned.

The reason for this was, above all, the work overloading Knöffels, which did not follow the completion of the construction plans. Therefore, in 1743 the construction management was removed from the building and handed over to the architect of the neighboring Weimar, Gottfried Heinrich Krohne (1703-1756). The expansion was progressing faster. At the time of his death in 1756, the equipment was by no means finished, but he had left precise plans for it, and worked on it until the 1770s. The final completion date is indicated on a panel with 1786. However, almost until 1810 work was still being done on the north wing and east of the southern wing.

The castle rose at least among the residences of the numerous Thuringian small towns of that time, by its great splendor. This consists above all of Krohnes outstanding decoration of the 12-meter-high concert hall. Krohne, originally strictly square, equipped himself with wavy, curved walls, on the narrow sides, rounded corners with buffets and boxes in the upper part.

In the 1950s, the roof of the castle was renewed and in 1956 the ceilings were secured in the west and north wings. In 1966, the castle tower received a new copper roof. In 1971, the mirror cabinet was restored in the south wing, which still comes from the predecessor castle. Since 1994 extensive restoration work has been carried out by the foundation Thüringer Schlösser und Gärten, which has been the owner of the castle since that time. Thus, the courtyard was newly paved, the gallery windows were repaired, and in the south wing modern administrative rooms were set up, and the castle roof was renewed in several partial sections.

Today the castle houses the Thuringian Landesmuseum Heidecksburg and the Thuringian State Archives Rudolstadt. It is also the seat of the Thüringer Schlösser und Gärten Foundation. The state rooms can be visited in guided tours, (Festsaal, Grüner Saal, Porcelain Gallery, courtyard, middle terrace) can also be rented for events.

The view out into the Saaletal is worth climbing, especially since there are some alternative paths, so the tour can be integrated into the castle into the city hike.

Please read as well:

Rudolfstadt - much more then just Palace Heidecksburg

From Camping - Hiking Tour into the city center of Jena

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