Showing posts with label King Karl I. Show all posts
Showing posts with label King Karl I. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rosenstein Palace and Park on the Neckar

Rosenstein Palace (© Copyright 2012)
Rosenstein Palace, or Schloß Rosenstein in German, is the former country seat of Wilhelm I, second and longest reigning king of Württemberg. Yet, it is no longer really in the country. The city of Stuttgart has grown so, that Rosenstein today is well within the greater urban area. It is presently home to the State Museum for Natural History of Stuttgart, but upon its completion in 1829 and grand opening in 1830, Rosenstein was the favorite residence of King Wilhelm and is where he died in 1864. It remained one of several royal residences until 1918, when Württemberg became a Free State (republic) and joined the Weimar Republic. In 1919, following Word War I, its furnishings and paintings were sold at public auction.

Autumn at Rosenstein Palace  (© Copyright 2012)

The small palace sits on a bluff once known in German as Kahlenstein, or "bare rock", as there was little if anything growing there. When the palace was planned, the name was changed to Rosenstein, or "pink rock". Rosenstein Palace overlooks a bend in the Neckar River, which winds its way through the district of Stuttgart known as Bad Cannstatt. At the time of Wilhelm I's reign, Bad Cannstatt was an independent town before uniting with Stuttgart in 1905. Even today, Bad Cannstatt is still proud to call Rosenstein Palace its own.

Excursion boats on the Neckar River just below the palace.  (© Copyright 2012)

Court architect Giovanni Salucci designed the palace in the second half of the 1820s.  He was to design the Wilhelmspalais in the center of Stuttgart shortly thereafter. The classic design on the outside of the palace is still visible today despite the drastic changes to the interior following its devastating fire during the Second World War. 

Rosenstein affords not only a view of the Neckar River and the old town of Bad Cannstatt, but also the Wilhelma Zoo. The zoo was originally built as a private pleasure park and retreat by King Wilhelm where he could entertain all sorts of private guests. Exotic plants and animals were brought there as well. The moorish style of the buildings found within the park echoes that of the Alhambra in Spain. A number of those structures, used for a variety of personal functions in the king's day, still stand. The zoo and gardens are definitely worthy of a visit.

Rosenstein Park, which surrounds the palace, is filled with stately chestnut trees which fill the grounds in autumn with abundant quantities of their beautiful fruits which many Stuttgarters love to collect. In the fall, the colors of the trees mixed with maples and other species provide a beautiful walk, run or bicycle ride for visitors. In the summer months, the lawns are nice for picnics as well. 

The palace is part of the greater Stuttgart Schloßpark system which begins in the middle of the city at the New Palace, or Neues Schloß. The distance between the two palaces is a very nice walk through beautiful, tree-lined allées dating back almost 200 years. 

One of the legacies of King Wilhelm I was the establishing of the Royal Württemberg State Railways. Toward the end of October 1845, the first railway line was in operation between Bad Cannstatt and Untertürkheim, where the Rotenberg is located (see previous "Rotenberg am Neckar"). Soon after, a tunnel was dug directly under Rosenstein for the train which was to go into the city of Stuttgart. The tunnel is disused today, but the sealed entrance can still be seen following a little walk just below the main path between the palace and the river. A new tunnel has since been constructed not far from there.

Very close to the Rosenstein, also within walking distance, is the smaller Villa Berg, later home to King Wilhelm I's heir, King Karl I, and his Russian wife, the well-remembered Queen Olga. Two of the cities numerous mineral spas can also be found directly to the east of the palace grounds. The famous Cannstatter Wasen, or fair ground, is also within close walking distance.
In 1877, some years after King Wilhelm's death, King Karl I opened Rosenstein to the public to view the collection of paintings his father had purchased for the palace many years before. In addition to the art and furnishings of the palace, the gardens contain some interesting and beautiful plants and trees such as Sequoia as well as the rose garden which was created during the reign of King Karl.

Sequoia on the grounds of Rosenstein Palace  (© Copyright 2012)

Rose garden in late spring  (© Copyright 2012)

Rosenstein may not be a grand or opulent palace as many might expect a king's home to be, but it is stately nonetheless. Many foreign visitors to the city do not often make their way to the palace as there are no roads or parking lots leading up to it. It is all on foot with street car or local train stations and platforms within walking distance. Exploring the palace park on foot particularly from spring through autumn combined with the Wilhelma Zoo down the hill is certainly worth the effort.
One of two lions guarding the south entrance to the palace  (© Copyright 2012)

Rosenstein Park in the fall   (© Copyright 2012)


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Galatea Fountain, Eugenplatz

(© Copyright 2012)

Eugenplatz in Stuttgart: Queen Olga of Württemberg, consort of King Karl I, gave this fountain known as the Galatea fountain to the people of Stuttgart in 1890, only two years before her death. It was paid for in part with her private funds. The queen chose the designs of Otto Rieth for what we see today. It was erected to contribute toward the beautification of the city. It was damaged only slightly during the Second World War and was completely renovated between 2005 and 2007.

    The goddess Galatea                               (© Copyright 2012)

                                           The Galatea Fountain at Eugenplatz          (© Copyright 2012)

Queen Olga is still regarded today as one who cared greatly for her subjects' welfare. Together with King Karl, she also founded a hospital which still bears their names even today. Queen Olga, born a Russian grand duchess, is probably the best-remembered of Württemberg's five queen consorts.

(© Copyright 2012)

Despite the plans drawn up by some prominent architects which were preferred by the committee overseeing the construction, it was Queen Olga who overrode their decision and chose the architect Rieth over the others.

(© Copyright 2012)

by Her Majesty
the Queen


With the financial support
of the royal capital of
Erected by the Society
for the Promotion of Art 


(© Copyright 2012)

Eugenplatz affords a great view of the city. Across the tram lines from the actual fountain is an ice-cream store purported to be "the best ice-cream" in the city. It's called "Pinguin". You can't miss it.  The lines are certainly long on hot summer days and I have even enjoyed it myself, but I am not going to speak for anyone else on the topic of food and taste. 

Your writer heard a wonderful story from a Stuttgart lady about the goings-on around the realization of the hefty project to construct the fountain: It was heard that the conservative people of Stuttgart were pleased to receive the fountain, but when they heard a nude statue of the goddess would be atop the finished work, there was grumbling about the immodesty thereof. When the complaints got back to the queen, it is said that she made it clear that if they didn't like it then she would have the statue turned around so that the godedess' backside would face out over Stuttgart. 

It isn't really known if that was true or not but it surely makes a good story. Queen Olga was apparently a rather benevolent lady. Her marriage to the king was in fact a sad one, and as stated above, she still did what she could for the people with the little money she actually had. She had wanted to be more involved in somehow making positive improvements toward the lives of the citizens. She was in fact an intelligent woman and probably could have been of some practical and worthy influence over her husband the king, who was hardly interested in ruling, but that never really panned out and she stayed in the background. He left her alone to be away from court as much as possible. More on them in another post later. 

(© Copyright 2012)