Bad Urach is a secret tip among castle-spotters: This little picturesque town in Baden-Württemberg, the south western state of Germany, provides two, hidden gems to discover: The residential palace and the ruins of castle Hohenurach. Let’s take a look at both of them:
The Urach Residential Palace is a half-timbered construction from around 1400. Two things that stand out are the exhibition of elaborately carved historical sledges and the golden hall, a richly decorated, gold-plated, room from the late renaissance period, built somewhere around 1600.
Bad Urach played a vital role in the state’s history: In 1433, the two brothers Count Ludwig I and Count Ulrich V started to rule Württemberg together. Eight years later, in 1441, Count Ulrich V arranged the split of Württemberg into two separate shires: Ulrich took the north eastern part, including the capital city Stuttgart. His brother Ludwig received the south western part and made Urach its capital city. The separation of Württemberg lasted for four decades.
After the reunion of Württemberg in 1482, Urach lost importance and the Residential Palace was used mainly as a hunting palace and as a retreat for the ducal family.
In 1519 the castle surrendered to the Swabian Federation. As a result it was reinforced between 1535 and 1555. Hohenurach got damaged and repaired during various military campaigns until 1669.
In 1694 a lightning bolt hit the powder tower. The resulting explosion heavily damaged the castle and rendered it worthless for military use.
Still it was used until 1761 as a prison, before it got abandoned. After that, the ruins were used as a stone quarry to provide building materials until 1815.
The Residential Palace is included in the Baden Württemberg Schloss Card, a booklet containing the entry fees of 26 monuments, mainly palaces, castles, monasteries and gardens. The price is just 1 Euro per site. The guided tours are included, which makes the Schlosscard an exceptionally great deal.
Castle Hohenurach is open to the public free of charge. You’ll need about an afternoon to visit both sites.
For additional information about the palace, have a look at Bad Urach Residential Palace’s official website.
If you’re in the area, you might also want to visit Hohenneuffen, a large ruined castle just 13 km north of Bad Urach – check out the link for pictures and details.
Next month, we’re going to take a look at castle Runkelstein, a.k.a. Roncolo in Bolzano, South Tirol, Italy.
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