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One of Württemberg's late medieval palaces

Urach Residential Palace

Medieval residential palace in Württemberg

Milestones

For two generations, Urach Palace was a center of power from which the counts of Württemberg-Urach ruled their lands. The palace was at the center of the aristocratic world when the glamorous, three-day-long wedding of count Eberhard the Bearded and Barbara Gonzaga took place.

Historical city view of Urach from the “Seehbuch” by Jakob Ramminger. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Urach at the end of the 16th century.

A new residence is in order

After the division of the Countship of Württemberg between brothers Ulrich V and Ludwig I, the latter elevated the town of Urach to the new residential city and the palace became a residential palace. For 40 years, the land remained divided and had two capitals. In 1474, Count Eberhard V the Bearded and Barbara Gonzaga celebrated a grand wedding in the residential palace; people talked about it for years to come. The ambitious count, later duke, offered his cultured and wealthy Italian wife a brilliant wedding celebration that lasted several days.

Entrance to Urach Palace with tower. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Janna Almeida

The residential palace becomes a hunting lodge.

The end of the residence

In 1482, Count Eberhard V the Bearded succeeded in reuniting the two regions and transferred his seat to Stuttgart. Urach's time as a residence came to an end. Yet the town did not sink into obscurity. The Dukes of Württemberg continued to use the former residential palace as a hunting lodge. Duke Ulrich used Urach Palace as a departure point when he slew the rumored giant wild boar, commemorated by a wooden reproduction in the Golden Hall to this day.

The portal to Urach Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Urach Palace was the site of spectacular weddings.

Glamorous weddings

Urach hosted three glamorous weddings, each roughly 100 years apart, the most prominent events to take place there. In 1380, Count Eberhard III found a wife, Antonia Visconti, whose large dowry would help renovate the ailing region. They were married in the old palace. After the celebration of the wedding between Count Eberhard V and Barbara Gonzaga, Duke Ludwig and his young bride, Ursula von Pfalz-Veldenz celebrated the royal third wedding in Urach in 1585.

Ceremonial sleigh, part of the exhibition at Urach Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

On display in the palace: the ceremonial sleigh collection.

From royal hunting residence to horse barn

Duke Carl Eugen valued Urach Palace both as a destination and as a place to stay during his extended hunts. Thanks to his regular visits, parts of the palace were modernized, as still evidenced by the White Hall, which Carl Eugen used as a dining room. All the way into King Wilhelm I's day, Urach was repeatedly used as a summer palace. Queen Pauline, for example, liked to come to Urach during her pregnancies, as Stuttgart was too warm. Not until 1819 was the furniture auctioned off and the rooms repurposed, as a rectory and horse barn. Today, Urach Palace is a museum.

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