Cistercian monastery and residence of the last royal couple
Bebenhausen Monastery is ideally set in a clearing in Schönbuch, in a large forest south of Stuttgart – a paradise for hundreds of years. In the 19th century, parts of the medieval monastery were converted into a palace. This is where the last Württemberg royal couple spent their twilight years. Delicate medieval Cistercian architecture meets royal Württemberg residential culture – that comes across in a touchingly human way.
The splendor of the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, Bebenhausen was the richest monastery in the entire Duchy of Württemberg. Even today, you get an idea of this, when you enter the grounds of the monastery, which is still protected by a wall. Elegant Late Gothic buildings border the spacious cloister. One of the highlights: the ridge turret of the monastery church. The Cistercian monks were forbidden church towers, as they were not sufficiently humble. In Bebenhausen, the master builders exploited the architectural possibilities to their very limits. In the 16th century, the Duke of Württemberg associated himself with the Reformation and dissolved all the monasteries. A monastery school took up residence in Bebenhausen: even today, the cells of the monastery students tell about this.
Importance to the present day
Visitors to Bebenhausen pass through many epochs: the time of the monks, the time of the monastery students and the time of the Württemberg kings. Following the end of the monarchy in 1919, the last royal couple, Queen Charlotte and King Wilhelm, retired to Bebenhausen: their residences have been preserved to this day. And even after the Second World War, the former monastery, now in the American zone, once again became a place of historical significance: it was the venue for the first sessions of the Württemberg-Hohenzollern State Parliament – before the founding of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Also important: the monastery is located in the immediate vicinity of Tübingen – a city with one of the oldest universities in Europe!
The royal palace kitchen
Well worth seeing: the palace kitchen – a rarity. The last royal couple were fond of giving large celebrations in Bebenhausen. For this purpose, the stately kitchen was installed – with 1915 state-of-the-art technology. When the monarchy came to an end three years later, the kitchen sank into a Sleeping Beauty slumber. And if visiting the kitchen gives you an appetite: the Bebenhausen gastronomy in the vicinity of the monastery invites you to partake in Swabian delights.
Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace (Kloster und Schloss Bebenhausen)
Phone +49(0)70 71.60 28 - 02