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The oldest ecclesiastical Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Bruchsal Palace

Aerial view of the garden of Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
Atmospheric green

The garden

Any Baroque palace needs its formal, geometrically designed garden following French archetypes. In Bruchsal, the palace garden was created in several stages. Some elements of the geometric garden can still be identified, but others were remade into idyllic parcels in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Aerial view of the palace and garden from the east. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

The Baroque axis path is dominant.

A dominant central axis

The large Baroque path axis, surrounded by chestnut trees, structured the garden in the past as it does now. The complex was once twice as large as it is now, but the lower part was separated by the railroad line in the 19th century. On the other side of the tracks, it is now forested, but the continuation of the garden axis can still be recognized. Originally, the street extended as far as the town of Graben and was part of an extensive system of avenues created under Prince-Bishop Schönborn that stretched throughout his lands on the right side of the Rhine.

The garden front of Bruchsal Palace with blooming plant. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

Potted plants still decorate the palace today.

Fountains and potted plants

Fountains in water basins splash and burble near the palace. In the Baroque period, many citrus trees and other potted trees stood in the side areas. They were overwintered in the two long orangeries. With their ornate sculptural and architectural painting in tones of yellow and green, the former orangery buildings still contribute to the special flair of the complex today. Prince-Bishop Hutten had them converted in the 1740s so that court staff could be housed here.

Halberdier, sculpture in front of the facade of Bruchsal Palace, attributed to Joachim Günther, circa 1758. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

A halberdier watches over the palace.

Garden sculptures

The transition to the lower area of the garden is marked by a row of small water basins. Four "watchmen" stand here: the sculptures of the halberdiers with their long weapons. Joachim Günther and his workshop created them in the late 1750s. The sculptures along the avenue are also Günther's work. They embody the four seasons and the four elements, a typical selection of sculptures for an 18th-century garden. The original four elements stand in the Garden Hall.

Replica of the sandstone figure of the element of "Water," original circa 1750/70, in the garden of Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Replica of the sandstone figure of "Summer," original circa 1750/70, in the garden of Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Replica of the sandstone figure of "Fall," original circa 1750/70, in the garden of Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Sandstone sculptures of the four elements, such as water, and of the four seasons, such as summer and fall, decorate the garden paths.

Part of the palace garden of Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

An idyllic garden area with a duck pond.

Idyllic pathways

In the Baroque period, ornate beds lay left and right of the central axis, decorated with elaborated ornamentation made of crushed stones, shells, and short plants. In the 19th century, winding paths were created here, surrounded by many trees. Between them, Baroque water basins have been preserved. Another large basin was converted into a duck pond in 1908 and supplemented with rocks. The two circular flower beds that now end the complex at the side have a modern design.

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