Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ludwigsburg - A beautiful piece of Württemberg's rich history

There are towns that are materially rich and there are scores of such towns and then, there are towns that are materially and culturally rich. Ludwigsburg is certainly one such town in south west Germany, part of the state of Baden-Württemberg. Tradition, history, art and technology converge beautifully in this state to make it a perfect cultural mosaic. 

Landing in the town of Ludwigsburg after a scenic journey by the ICE Deutsche Bahn from Frankfurt Flughafen (airport) till Stuttgart on a pleasant Saturday evening - well, perhaps, it was the best way for my Deutschland journey to begin! The ICE whizzed past vast lush green swathes interspersed with huge factories.  

Situated about 20 kms from the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (Central Rail Station), Ludwigsburg can best be described as a quaint little town. I immediately fell in love with it! 

The little homework I had done before the travel helped on Sunday morning. I made up my mind to head straight to the Schloss Ludwigsburg (Ludwigsburg Palace). A detailed map at the entrance to the palace gave some hint of the treasures inside. I purchased a combi ticket (costs 16 Euros) that would permit me to see the palaces, museums and the blooming baroque. 

Schloss Ludwigsburg

"To a baroque architect, a building was to some extent a large kind of sculpture", says this elaborately informative piece. If one sees the Ludwigsburg palace, one would too readily agree. Such splendor, extravagance and opulence! Our guide for the tour of the Residenzschloss, a burly and cheerful gentleman recounted the history of the palace and alongside that account, the fascinating history of Württemberg undulated itself. The lineage spans France, UK and Russia with each country's art enriching the palace over a long period.

Began as a "hunting lodge" under the duke Eberhard Ludwig, the palace is now one of Germany's oldest and largest intact baroque structures. With 452 rooms, it was certainly not small and the guided tour covered 73 of those rooms. Rich tapestries of silver and deep red yarn, intricate embroideries and mahogany furniture were some highlights. The symmetrical queen's and king's staircase, assembly rooms, study rooms, libraries, conference rooms, waiting rooms, servant rooms, toilet rooms and bedrooms - we covered them one after the other. 

Of special mention should be the palace theatre, the oldest preserved palace theatre in Europe. I couldn't believe my ears when our guide remarked that, in those days, what happened on stage was inconsequential compared to the opportunity theatre provided for the audience to move around, flaunt power and network! 

Fashion Museum

Ceramic Museum

The museums housed in the palace area - including the Fashion, Ceramic and theatre museums - are worth a stroll around for a complete understanding of the heydays of the dukedom. The "Blühende Barock" (Blossoming baroque) garden, thanks to King Friedrich is awe inspiring! I concluded the day after a visit to Favorite Schloss which is surrounded by another vast garden!

The blossoming Baroque

A view from one of the palace rooms

The Favorite Schloss

No comments: