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History watching over us

If it weren’t a mausoleum, it would make for a great wedding spot.

Recently we visited a place in Stuttgart atop a hill. I always see it as we are driving because it sticks out above the whole city and the architecture is beautiful.

One of the great things about Europe is that it is steeped in history. The good and the bad, it all adds to its charm and character.

The architecture in the chapel: a work of art by Italian architect Salucci, reminiscent of the Pantheon

The architecture in the chapel: a work of art by Italian architect Salucci, reminiscent of the Pantheon.
Photo credit: Michael Friz

The Grabkapelle auf dem Württemberg in Stuttgart Rotenberg houses the graves of former Baden-Württemberg royalty. It was built by William I of Württemberg for his beloved wife Catherine Pavlowna of Russia and they, along with William I’s daughter have one of the best views over the city.

Walking up the hill, you can see a part of the Mercedes Museum, the Neckar River, the numerous vineyards that blanket the surrounding hills and a panorama of the city. Above stands the mausoleum / chapel and inside it is a circular structure. A narrow staircase takes you down to the graves, reminiscent of the Vatican Papal Tombs, except that only three graves are to be seen. There are a few more spaces that were intended for the rest of the inner family circle, but they were never needed and remain empty.

What’s so special about this room is that it has amazing acoustics. Standing in the centre of the dark, circular room and clapping sends the sound ricocheting and filling the room with a full sound. It’s no wonder that choirs come here to perform in the above Chapel.

It’s a bit eerie knowing that their bodies lie here, but what else would one expect for a former king and queen? They’ve been watching over Stuttgart for almost 200 years and they will continue to do so for many years to come.

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