Electoral Palace or Kurfürstliche ,Trier!

So I am back to one of my favorite cities in Europe in neighboring Germany.  I have written several posts over the years in my blog on Trier and spoke to you of many sights, many times briefly. I believe this monument deserves more on its history and architecture and two wars. I will be telling you a lot of history on the Electoral Palace or Kurfürstliche Palais of Trier. Bear with me please!

The Electoral Palace or Kurfürstliche Palais in the city of Trier was the residence of the Trier electors from the 17C to 1794, that is, the Trier archbishops. The Renaissance and Rococo cobalt had been partly built on the floor of the Roman Constantine Basilica. In the 19C, the west wing of the palace was laid down in order to rebuild the Basilica (see post on Basilica).

Trier

After the expropriation of the electors under Napoleon I, the Electoral Palace was used as a barracks by French and Prussian troops in the 19C early 20C. During WWII, the building was severely damaged. Subsequently, the farm buildings, the so-called low-rise, were completely demolished, with the exception of the Red Tower and a portal. Today, the building houses various government authorities. Parts of the north wing are used by the Protestant congregation; parts of the south wing serve representative purposes. The palace garden in the south of the palace has been available to the public as a park since the beginning of the 20C.

Trier

A bit of history I like

From about the year 1000, the Trier bishops used the iconic palace hood of the Roman emperors (Constantine Basilica) as a castle. A  few centuries later, the building no longer met changing needs and current tastes. Elector Johann VII of Schönenberg planned a Renaissance-style castle. To do so, he had houses demolished around the Basilica in order to gain space for the new building.

In the period from 1615 to 1676, was first built under his successor, Elector Lothar von Metternich  a late Renaissance castle, named St. Petersburg after Peter, the patron Saint of Trier. The plan was on a complex of high and low altitude, in which the four-winged high castle with residential and representative rooms was to be laid out around an almost square courtyard. To the north, the lower castle was to connect with the economic areas and a second courtyard.  It was built on and in the Constantine Basilica, which was partially laid down for this purpose. As a result, it was decided to leave the west side and the northern apse of the basilica standing and to integrate it into the castle building as external walls. Since the floor of the ancient building was lower than the ground of the 17C, the east and south walls did not need to be completely removed.

In 1756,  it was to redevelop and expand the south wing of the Electoral Palace according to the taste of the Rococo style. The new, pink south wing was to rise beyond the previous castle on both sides. Some axes of the old building remained unchanged, this part was demolished in the 19C during the reconstruction of the basilica. The pink south wing was also designed in Rococo style inside. Upstairs, a hall was set up centrally to which a representative staircase leads up on the west side of the main entrance.Until 1794, the Electoral Palace occasionally served as a residence for the electors, although only a few rooms were fully furnished. In 1794, French revolutionary troops occupied Trier. From 1803, the French occupation used the Electoral Palace as a barracks. When the Protestant Prussia conquered Trier, this did not change. They, too, used the Electoral Palace as a barracks for their troops until 1918.

Around 1830, the Red Tower was increased by one floor.  The West Wing had to be completely laid down, reducing the size of the courtyard and losing its symmetrical architecture in the west, since then, it has suddenly risen in reddish, Roman bricks.  The Rococo South Wing was also impaired and shortened to the west.  The Electoral Palace was shortened by several meters, but the staircase was preserved. The south wing was originally shortened in a smooth cut, so its west side ended in an unadorned triangle gable, further differentiating from the east side with its forest gable. This disparity was only lifted at the beginning of the 20C, when the upper floors of the west side were further shortened and a forest gable was used here as well.   From 1871, the 7th Rheinische Infantry Regiment No. 69 was located in the so-called Palace Barracks.

During WWI, the Electoral Palace housed the Reserve Areton III.  After the war, the barracks were briefly occupied by the US army, followed in 1919 by the French, who named the barracks Quartier de la Marne,(the Marne district) in reference to the Battle of the Marne. Until the end of the occupation in 1930, the Electoral Palace remained a barracks.  The interiors were greatly altered by the use as barracks and multiple conversions, apart from the staircase had hardly survived any of the original equipment. In the 1930s, there were plans to establish the princely palace as a grand museum, bringing together the modern holdings of the Trier museums. In the course of these measures, some interiors were restored, but the plans were eventually not continued by the beginning of the WWII.

During WWII, the Electoral Palace was severely damaged: The roofs burned down, in addition to grenade and bomb hits. Due to the urgent weather, the last remains of ceiling paintings and stucco decorations in the garden wing, which had been recovered a few years before, were destroyed, and the magnificent rococo staircase also had serious damage. The two wings of the Lower Castle were almost completely demolished during the reconstruction. Only the Red Tower and the St. Petersburg Portal were preserved. Behind the portal and sideways to the Red Tower, a new building was built, but it extends wider than the floor area of the lower castle west wing, which was formerly located there, and thus partly into the former courtyard. The remaining floor area of the Lower Castle remained undeveloped and today forms Willy Brandt Square with a modern fountain that symbolizes the historical phases of Trier.

Since the dissolution of the district governments in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2000, it has been the headquarters of the Supervisory and Services Directorate. Of the old interiors, only the rococo staircase and the associated vestibule are preserved. The new ceiling of the originally higher staircase and the hall on the first floor, which followed the staircase, were painted in the 1970s with a painting based on the style of the construction period.  Guided tours of parts of the building, which belongs to the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and its courtyard are possible. Parts of the south wing are also used for events. Accessible via the preserved staircase, the rococo hall on the first floor covers up to 190 persons, and sometimes serves chamber concerts and representative events with smaller audiences. It can also be rented. The inner courtyard sometimes hosts open-air concerts and once a year the Trier Short Film Festival. Part of the north wing, accessible through a small portal in eclectic style, is available to the Evangelical Church congregation. Inside the north wing, the Caspar Olevian Hall serves as a community hall for the Evangelical Church. In it, Sunday services are often held in winter to save on heating costs for the huge hall of the Basilica. In addition, in the north wing there is access to the organ of the basilica. The building with the St. Petersburg Portal, on the floor of the former Lower Castle, and the Red Tower are also used by the authorities. The Red Tower has served as a bell tower for the Basilica since 1968, when it was again given a baroque roof hood.

In the south of the Electoral Palace there was a park in the time of the Electors, although it is very unlikely that the original plans for its design were actually implemented. In 1761, the Ferdinand Tietz Fountain was mentioned here for the first time, which today stands again in the park.  When Trier was occupied by French troops in 1794, the park was converted into a public square. During the use of the Electoral Palace as a barracks, the site in the south was used as a retreat place up to the Imperial Baths.  At the beginning of the 20C, the city of Trier tried to make the area a public park. It was only through the donations of the  Franz Weißebach foundation of Trier that the city received funds in the early 1930s to create the park, which still bears the name Palace Garden. Over time, numerous sculptures were purchased from private property, which may once have been part of the park’s furnishing, but also from other Trier gardens. In its present form, the park is therefore the ideal of a baroque garden, even if it was probably more simply designed in the 18C.

Adjacent to the Electoral Palace in the immediate south, there is now a section of the park with an unaccessible lawn, flower discounts in front of the main entrance of the south wing and a water surface in front of the eastern south wing . The lawn is bordered on both sides by a hedge and trees and thus visually separated from the water basin. The most famous view of the Electoral Palace are from the south, with the basilica behind it, therefore shows only the former central part of the south wing, which largely obscures the modern asymmetry of the building. In the park there are replicas of the Tietz sculptures; the originals can be seen at the Simeonstift Municipal Museum next to the Porta Nigra (see post on it). Since the Tietz Fountain was found again in 1940, it too has been inserted into the northern park.  To the west of the lawn there is a monument of two high-standing concrete slabs on one path, which will be awarded to cities for their 2,000th anniversary.

trier

Indeed a wonderful place to visit and the area is just awesome with the Basilica next door. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Trier on the Electoral Palace

Yelp reviews on the Electoral Palace in German

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: