Castles & Palaces

Schwetzingen Palace – a miniature Versailles in the Palatinate

Schwetzingen: Schwetzingen Palace ©Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg Referat Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten (Photodesigner Mark Wohlrab)

A Moorish-style mosque, picturesque artificial ruins, a marble bath house and a magnificent Apollo temple are all features of the stunning Schwetzingen Palace.

Cultured Elector Palatine Charles Theodore extended his ancestors' former castle hunting residence and transformed it into a luxurious summer residence that became known as a mini Versailles. The most striking feature (and the only one of its kind in the whole of Europe) is the 'Zirkel' design: a pair of one-storey, semi-circular buildings added to either side of the palace. The promoter of the arts had a delightful rococo-style theatre with 500 seats built into the northern section of this Zirkel. This space is still used to this day and is known for its excellent acoustics.

A semicircle of plant-covered arbours was added to the Zirkel to complete the circle. This design provides the perfect stage backdrop for spectacular events that continue on into the park, a strictly symmetrical baroque garden featuring flower beds, geometrically trimmed hedges, green 'outdoor cabinets' and no end of water features. The gentle babbling of the springs, cascades and fountains can be heard by visitors as they stroll around the grounds, which later become an English-style landscape park.

Discover more

Discover Germany