At the beginning of the 16th century, the Prince-Bishops of Constance moved their residence from the Bishopric of Constance, which had become protestant, to the town of Meersburg. In 1710, Prince-Bishop Johann Franz Schenk von Stauffenberg began to build a new construction to the east of the Old Palace. In order to do justice to the increased requirement for the representation of princely aspects during the Baroque era, this construction was extended and transformed into a more grand and impressive structure at a later point in time. The New Palace, which boasts a charming location overlooking Lake Constance, now still forms the main focus of the picturesque old town of Meersburg. From its Palace Terrace, the New Palace treats its visitors to a captivating panoramic view right over Lake Constance and to the peaks of the nearby Alps.
One of the most original baroque residences
Balthasar Neumann produced the designs for both the Palace Church and the monumental staircase, which was one of the most important spatial creations of southern German Baroque architecture. The Palace Church was incorporated into the building between 1741 and 1743. Further reconstruction work took place 16 years later, when Prince-Bishop Cardinal Franz Konrad von Rodt commissioned the master builder Franz Anton Bagnato to restore the staircase, which had already become dilapidated, and to give the Baroque façade of the building facing towards the Schlossplatz (Castle Square) a contemporary Rococo-style appearance. The prestigiously furnished and designed construction finally became ready to be lived in the 1860s. The Palace complex, which had also gained stables and a seminary, became “one of the most original Baroque residences in the empire”.
The life of the Prince-Bishops
Via the collosal stairway, you reach the bel étage with the state apartments and private rooms. Here the residential and everyday living culture of the prince bishops is presented in an impressive and interactive way. Countless original objects on hunting, music, festival culture at the court and and last but not least its widely known natural history collection offers an authentic impression.