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One of Württemberg's late medieval palaces

Urach Residential Palace

Aerial view of Urach Palace and the surrounding buildings. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
Late Medieval residential palace in Württemberg

The palace

At the edge of the Swabian Alb, in the middle of the picturesque half-timber town of Bad Urach, lies the late Medieval Urach Residential Palace. The palace complex was built at the end of the 14th century by Count Eberhard III the Mild of Württemberg and was completed in 1400.

Exterior of Urach Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Johanna Kugele

Residence of the Counts of Württemberg.

The Medieval moated castle

In the 11th century, the Counts of Urach erected a moated castle on one of the peninsulas in the Erms river, which later came to be known as “Old Castle” or “Little Water Palace.” Only a few images give a blurry impression of its appearance; however, floor plans from the 18th century have survived. In the 14th century, Count Eberhard III celebrated his wedding to his Italian bride, Antonia Visconti. The later owners of Urach, the Counts of Württemberg, rarely used the moated castle. It was eventually torn down in 1789.

A residential palace emerges

The Italian wedding brought a large sum of money to Württemberg, which most likely went into the construction of Urach Palace. Count Eberhard III had this new palace built near the old moated castle but based on the example of the old palace in Stuttgart. It was finally completed in 1400. The structure was very stately for the era and has two stone stories and a half-timber story housing the living quarters. Urach Palace experienced its golden age during the land partition of 1442–1482, when Count Ludwig I von Württemberg elevated it to the residential palace for his region.

Exterior of Urach Palace with pond in the foreground. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Janna Almeida

The residential palace with its magnificent half-timber design.

View of the Golden Hall, Urach Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Tom Philippi

The most magnificent room in the palace: the Golden Hall.

A favorite hunting lodge for celebrations

Count Eberhard the Bearded, the son of Ludwig I, improved upon the palace further. He had the Knights’ Hall and the Hall of Palms festively decorated in the fashion of the time. After the reunification of the Württemberg countship in 1482, Urach lost its importance as a government seat. However, it remained a beloved hunting lodge. The successive Dukes of Württemberg changed the structure according to their tastes. For example, the Golden Hall was magnificently decorated in the early 17th century, as it remains to this day.

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