Set in the scenic landscape of the Tauber valley, Weikersheim Palace (Schloss Weikersheim) lies at the heart of the small town of Weikersheim. With its beautiful garden, the palace embodies the Renaissance ideal of a country estate.
A Renaissance highlight in the Southwest
In 1586, Count Wolfgang of Hohenlohe took up residence in the former moated castle, and promptly ordered the construction of a new palace. With an unusual three-sided floorplan, the palace reflected the Renaissance style of the time, but foreshadowed the Baroque era that was to come.
The richly decorated Rittersaal (knights' hall) is a highlight of Renaissance architecture in southwestern Germany. Dating from 1600, it is one of the best preserved halls from that era. The vast panelled ceiling, with its colourful hunting scenes, is famous.
A fabulous garden – with some unusual residents
Count Carl Ludwig of Hohenlohe (1674–1756), who inhabited the palace for over fifty years, gave the palace and garden the form that they have retained to this day. The eye-catching garden was designed on his instructions, receiving a crowning touch: the orangery, which provides a picturesque backdrop.
The most distinctive feature of the palace grounds is the many Baroque statues that populate the garden. Of these, the whimsical Weikersheimer Zwerge (Weikersheim dwarfs) are the best-known: Count Carl Ludwig had the members of his court preserved for posterity in this unusual ensemble. While grotesque creatures lurk at the edge of the garden, the elegant statues in the parterre portray classical figures such Apollo and Diana. There are also allegorical representations of the Planets – including Mercury, Saturn, Venus and Mars – the Seasons, and the Elements.