Interior view of the sanctuary in the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill


The wide, cupolaed room is strikingly elegant and has excellent acoustics. The tremendous cupola is well worth a look. The stucco rosettes and glass ceiling at the center is distinctly reminiscent of a cupola in Rome that inspired Salucci, the one in the famous Pantheon.


Queen Katharina was a member of the Russian Orthodox church. The sepulchral chapel therefore includes a Russian Orthodox place of worship in which the space is divided into three sections, a vestibule, a nave and a sanctuary, or sanctum. The latter is separated from the nave by an elaborately designed wall or screen, the so-called iconostasis. The sepulchral chapel served as a Russian Orthodox church between 1825 and 1899. To this day, a Russian Orthodox service is held here every Pentecost in remembrance of the queen.

View of the cupola on the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill

Cool elegance Roman style.


The chapel is built on a circular floor plan with four cross arms. The all-white interior is topped by a monumental cupola supported by a circle of 16 Corinthian columns and pilasters. The cupola is adorned with recessed panels at the center and decorated with stucco rosettes. Light falls into the interior through the glass ceiling at the center of the cupola, and from there into the crypt below. By contrast, the four windowless cross arms are visibly darker.

Interior of the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill

Sepulchral chapel interior.


The curved walls and niches are framed by pilasters. Statues of the four evangelists occupy the niches. The round columns frame the view into the cross arms. The sanctuary is located in the eastern arm, separated from the nave by the iconostasis. It is adorned with paintings and icons from Queen Katharina's collection, which she brought with her to Stuttgart in 1816. The sanctuary is still only accessible to Russian Orthodox priests.

Images of saints decorated in gold in the sanctuary of the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill

Splendid gold adornment against simple white.


The picture wall, or iconostasis, was designed by Salucci. It is also all-white, like the room in which it stands, with narrow gold bands framing the images. The gilded carvings above and below the paintings depict the central motif of the Greek cross, thereby tying it to the sanctuary. The center, double-leafed King's Gate is decorated with a representation of the Proclamation. Above it, a gilded corona encircles the eye of God on a triangular base flanked by two floating angels.

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