Schloss Kirchheim (Teck)

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Kirchheim castle about 1683. The castle is located in the center of the city wall

Schloss Kirchheim is situated near the old town of Kirchheim unter Teck. This Renaissance castle is the best preserved example of Württemberg duchy strongholds.

History[edit]

Palace and pleasure garden in Kirchheim unter Teck, watercolor 1851

On his return from exile, duke Ulrich of Württemberg ordered seven fortresses to be constructed across the country, in order to better protect its territory from other countries. As part of these measures, the fortifications of Kirchheim unter Teck were expanded and in 1538, the castle was established as a corner rampart of the city wall. This simple functional building with two timber floors with a massive base was completed in 1556 under Ulrich's son and successor, Duke Christoph. At first, the modest palace of the rulers was used for defensive purposes and occasionally as a hunting lodge. When the plague raged in the capital city of Stuttgart in 1594, Frederick I moved his court here. Over time, its importance as a regional fortress decreased and it was gradually transformed into a residential palace.

The building has an irregular diamond shape, with four wings. It was surrounded by a deep moat, which has now been drained. On one side, it still connects to the city walls.

The residents[edit]

During a two century period starting in 1628, Kirchheim castle served as the residence of the widows of some of the dukes. Residences used by the widows of other dukes included the castles in Nürtingen and Göppingen. Among the residents:

Current use[edit]

Renaissance castle

After the death of Duchess Henriette, the castle Kirchheimer was used for various purposes. In 1870 and 1871 it served as a hospital for the wounded of the Franco-German War. From 1876 till 1908 the Catholic parish held its services in the chapel. From 1911 till 1948, it contained the city's vocational school for girls, a kindergarten and reidential units. In 1947 the state of Baden-Württemberg assigned the castle to the State Economics School (est. 1923) for teaching and boarding purposes. The Pedagogic Institute and School, the successor to the Economics School, moved into the castle in 1971 and has used the castle ever since.

Kirchheim Castle is one of the state's monuments and is maintained by the organization State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg. The grand living spaces on the south side of the second floor are set up as a palace museum and are open to the public. They are dedicated to the last two residents, Franziska and Henriette. Most of Franziska's furniture has been preserved, and this allowed the state of the castle during Franziska's days to be restored when the castle was reconditioned in 1985 and 1997.

See also[edit]

List of castles in Baden-Württemberg

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°38′50″N 09°26′58″E / 48.64722°N 9.44944°E / 48.64722; 9.44944