A historically significant abbey in scenic surroundings

Hirsau Monastery

Gables on the hunting lodge at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Calw Tourist Information
A TREASURE IN THE BLACK FOREST

THE HUNTING LODGE

The trio made up of the duke's lodge, the Neues Lusthaus pleasure palace in Stuttgart and the Collegium Illustre school in Tübingen are considered a Renaissance showpiece. All three building were designed by court architect Georg Beer (1527–1600).

Hunting lodge at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Calw Tourist Information

The lodge represents a ruler's claim.

UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP

After the Reformation of 1534, Württemberg's ruler, Duke Ulrich, took ownership of Hirsau Monastery and the monks had to leave. In 1556, his son Duke Christoph established a Protestant monastery school. The construction of a hunting lodge was a particularly obvious demonstration of this new ownership. Duke Ludwig von Württemberg had it built south of the conclave by his court architect, Georg Beer, between 1589 and 1593.

Hunting lodge at Hirsau Monastery at night. Image: Calw Tourist Information

Built and furnished to the highest standards.

DUCAL QUALITY

The three-aisled Renaissance structure taking the place of the medieval abbots house was one of the duke's many construction projects striving for courtly representation and dynastic showmanship. Georg Beer designed a building of the highest quality; his student and successor, Heinrich Schickhardt (1558–1635), supported the project. The employment of several craftsmen from the residential palace in Stuttgart further guaranteed the quality.

Model of Hirsau Monastery prior to its destruction in 1692. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

The hunting lodge was located immediately next to the former conclave.

REPRESENTATIVE RENAISSANCE STRUCTURE

The hunting lodge bordered the conclave to the south and was connected to it via a four-story gate tower. It stretches approximately 37 meters north-south and at least 76 meters east-west. The nearly square east wing with its four tail gables housed a cellar and a large hall with a fireplace where the reception rooms were likely located. The elongated south wing and stair tower, of which only the ground level wall remains, served as a connecting structure.

Painting of the ducal lodge at Hirsau Monastery after its destruction by fire. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

The lodge after the fire.

DESTROYED AND REPURPOSED

The duke used his lodge as a dwelling befitting his rank during hunts, and as a base for his spa trips to Liebenzell. More than 100 years after its construction, it, like the neighboring monastery, was burned to the ground by French troops during the Nine Years' War. Only a few pieces remain of the once opulent structure, including architectural fragments and part of a large fireplace. The west wing of the lodge was not entirely destroyed and was repurposed for grain storage in 1740.

Interior of the hunting lodge at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
Interior of the hunting lodge at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
Interior of the hunting lodge at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Only the exterior walls remain of the representative hunting lodge, a symbol of the ducal claim to power.

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