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The Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill

Column capitals at the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth
THE MIDDLE AGES GIVE WAY TO CLASSICISM

HISTORY OF DESIGN

The ancestral castle of the House of Württemberg had resided at the top of the hill overlooking the Neckar Valley since the late 11th century. In 1819 it was completely torn down to make way for the new sepulchral chapel, an elegant classical tomb for Queen Katharina.

Dedication stone for the former castle chapel at the Württemberg ancestral castle. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Last remnant of the castle, the dedication stone.

MIDDLE AGES

The sepulchral chapel stands on a historically significant spot, the site of the Württemberg's ancestral castle. The last remnant of the castle is the dedication stone from the castle chapel. According to the inscription, the castle chapel was dedicated in 1083, making the stone the oldest evidence of the House of Württemberg. The castle was destroyed in 1311 and rebuilt soon thereafter. Shortly before being torn down, it consisted of a rampart and moat, a triple ring wall, the residential hall and other agricultural and auxiliary buildings.

Exterior of the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

The structure is based on examples from ancient times.

CLASSICISM

The Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill is an excellent example of classical architecture. Architects were inspired by antique structures like the Roman Pantheon or Renaissance structures like Andrea Palladio's Villa Rotonda in Vicenza. Like a temple, the sepulchral chapel is decorated with antique elements, including Ionic and Corinthian columns and pillars, a cupola adorned with recessed panels and antique-style beams. Even the cast-iron tripods and offering bowls outside are recreated from antique examples.

Entrance to the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Roland Rossner
Interior view of the cupola in the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
Sanctuary at the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Roland Rossner

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