Palace garden with a view of the Lake Constance, Meersburg New Palace

Baroque garden design on a steep slopeThe garden

The pleasure garden was once part of any Baroque residence, as it was for the prince-bishops of Meersburg. Of the former typical 18th-century garden, Meersburg's lower terrace and picturesque pavilion remain today.

Detail from a portrait of Jakob Anton, Count of Fugger-Kirchberg-Weißenhorn (not shown in this detail) with a view of Meersburg, 1623

View of the town of Meersburg circa 1623.

Renaissance garden by Meersburg Castle

Even the first prince-bishops’ residence, old Meersburg Castle, had included a garden, first mentioned in records in 1593. At the time, Cardinal Andreas of Austria had a Renaissance garden established along the outer bailey east of the castle. Little is known about what this garden looked like. There is only a single illustration: In a 1623 portrait of Prince-Bishop Jakob Fugger, a pergola-like arcade can be seen on a terrace east of Meersburg Castle.

Garden facade, Meersburg New Palace

The palace's garden facade.

A fitting Baroque garden

Prince-Bishop Johann Franz von Stauffenberg had a Baroque palace garden built parallel to the New Building in 1712. Architect Christoph Gessinger drew the plans for this garden. This garden sits in front of the palace's lake facade, or show facade, and connects the original prince-bishops’ residence, old Meersburg Castle, with the New Palace. The inclusion of a bosquet, an orangery and a floral parterre is characteristic of a proper 18th-century royal garden.

Pavilion and/or teahouse, Meersburg New Palace

Garden showpiece: the pavilion.

Garden pavilion retreat

On the lower terrace, an elegant 18th-century pleasure pavilion from the original garden has survived. It was built by Christoph Gessinger as a retreat for Prince-Bishop Johann Franz. The interior boasts a ceiling illustration with personifications of the four seasons. The fresco by Johann Wolfgang Baumgartner with the motto “Alles hat seine Zeit” (Everything has its time) depicts Apollo surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. High above sits Chronos, the god of time, playing a flute for romping cherubs.

Panorama of the palace terrace, Meersburg New Palace

The palace's location on a slope offers a picturesque view across the town and Lake Constance.

Bishop Johann Franz Schenk von Stauffenberg's coat of arms on the stairs to the palace garden, Meersburg New Palace

Bishop Johann Franz von Stauffenberg’s coat of arms.

After the prince-bishops

After 1803, the terraces were used occasionally as either a botanical garden or a flower garden. The west entrance to the garden terrace via a perron, which once connected it directly to the old castle, is embellished by a wrought-iron portal, stone statuary along the railings, and Bishop Johann Franz von Stauffenberg's coat of arms on the balustrade. When the palace passed to the state of Baden-Württemberg, the garden areas were redesigned based on Baroque plans.

Visit the palace terrace! It offers an astounding panoramic view of Lake Constance and the Alps.

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