Visiting Stuttgart’s Old Castle
The Old Castle (Altes Schloss) has been an iconic Stuttgart landmark ever since it was first constructed back in the 10th century. In fact, the city takes its name from the castle’s garden – or ‘the stud garden’ – which the castle was originally built to protect. Throughout the centuries the structure has experienced a host of expansions and renovations. Some of which were brought about as a result of devastating damage.
A fire in 1931 destroyed the Durnitz building, the castle’s grand court hall, and two of the original towers. A bomb attack during the Second World War then caused further damage. But following a lengthy restoration process, the Old Castle was finally returned to its former glory in 1962.
Württemberg State Museum
Today the Old Castle is home to the Württemberg State Museum which dates back to 1862. And it is regarded as one of the most important of its kind in Europe. Its exhibitions chronicle the rich history of Baden Württemberg; the state of which Stuttgart is the capital. The displays tell the region’s story from the Stone Age through to the modern day, featuring fascinating details about Celtic and Roman cultures, the Middle Ages and unique artifacts such as ancient musical instruments and the crown jewels.
The Kunstkammer (Art Chamber) is one of the museum’s highlights, featuring an extensive art collection spanning several centuries, as well as both regional and international ancient artifacts including Celtic jewelry and pottery.
The museum also houses an extensive glass collection where you can view over 700 glass artifacts displayed chronologically in order to detail the evolution of glass-making and design throughout the centuries. It also includes the collections of the late Ernesto Wolf, a local art collector who assembled a high quality collection of glass artifacts from the early 1900s onwards. His private collection is highly regarded and was donated to the museum following his death in 2003.
Crown jewels and a royal tomb can also be found within the castle walls, as well as a grand courtyard located in the inner part of the castle.
The New Castle
Head to the other side of the tunnel, to street, you can find the New Castle, or New Palace. Other notable highlights include ancient musical instruments dating back thousands of years and a treasure cave of golden clocks. The Roman Lapidary is housed in the cellar of the New Castle, but the collection of musical instruments can be found in the nearby Fruchtkasten / Granary. Some of the musical instruments on display date back thousands of years. They provide you with an unrivaled insight into the roots of European and international musical culture. The New Castle is now a location of some government offices.
© SMG Bergmann
Children’s Museum – ‘The Young Castle’
Since 2010, the Old Castle has also been home to the 700 square meter Children’s Museum which features a range of interactive displays, as well as a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The Old Castle is open six days a week, closing only on a Monday. If you plan on going during the weekend then you should get there early. Because queues tend to build up during the early afternoon. Admission to the permanent collections in the Old Castle is free. However entry to Young Castle is chargeable. Beside single tickets, family and group packages are also available. So make sure you inquire for the best deals at the ticket office prior to entry.