Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bebenhausen Abbey and Royal Hunting Lodge (re-post)


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I have reposted this page as I found it way too long in its original posting last year.  You will find here a collection of photographs, many unlabelled, of the last residence of the king and queen of Württemberg, who "retired" here after the end of the monarchy in 1918. Bebenhausen had been a private hunting residence of the Württemberg royal family for generations, long after it had served as a Cistercian monastery and later a boarding school following the Reformation. 

Bebenhausen is beautifully nestled in southern Germany, south of the Baden-Württemberg's capital city, Stuttgart, and not far from the renowned university town of Tübingen.

Today, Bebenhausen is a museum. It is quite active, as is the village around it. Photographs of the village can be found further down. Queen Charlotte died shortly after World War II, but remained here until her last days. The large lodge within the complex where the king and queen, styled Duke and Duchess after their abdication, lived can be visited. Their furnishings are still in place. It is definitely worth seeing. The duchess was an avid hunter, and the walls are lined with her trophies.

View of the Abbey / Hunting Palace,  
Bebenhausen is located in the Schönbuch Forest between the ancient university town of Tübingen and the city of Stuttgart, capital of the present-day federal state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany.

Entrance to the ancient Abbey of Bebenhausen

Before becoming a royal hunting lodge, Bebenhausen had been a
boarding school as well as an abbey. It was originally built around 1180
for Cistercian monks. It remained a cloistered community until 1560 when the Reformation
was spreading throughout Germany. 


Jagdschloß (Royal Hunting Lodge) of Bebenhausen is today just as it was when
the royal couple lived there. 


A large segment of the wall remains around the abbey as seen
in these two photographs.
                         

The cloister of the abbey



The Cloister








Ceiling of the former Refectory



Part of the wall that once completely surrounded the Abbey

Student dormitory 

After the Abbey was disbanded, it later became a school for boys. Rooms where the monks once lived became a dormitory for the students. One can only imagine winters here as there was no heating.


The Writer's Tower as seen from the upper garden                      







             







                                        


                      


What I found quite interesting were the "House Rules" (in German) on a kitchen wall. One of the rules was that all staff members must remember toonly speak on the grounds or in the upstairs royal rooms when they are spoken to by higher-ups or the Duke or Duchess themselves. Otherwised, silence or "quiet" was expected. Such was life in service at that time.


Writer's Tower
as seen from a kitchen window






















It is worth mentioning that the buildings that housed the royal couple still have the kitchens in place. It is most interesting to see how the "downstairs" people lived and worked before 1946. The stoves and other apparatus that were used in the service area are original and are also on display. 



Ceilings and chandeliers in the formal Dining Room
When the king was finished eating and his plate was removed, all other plates were
taken as well, whether you were finished or not! I hope HIs Majesty was not a fast eater.



To the memory of
Württembergs beloved King
WILHEM II
(Born) Stuttgart, 25 Feb. 1848 - 2 Oct. 1921 (at Bebenhausen)
and QUEEN CHARLOTTE
(Born) Ratiboritz, 10 Oct. 1864 - 16 July 1946, (at Bebenhausen)




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The village surrounding the Royal Hunting Lodge and former abbey of Bebenhausen

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Most all of the village is Fachwerk (half-timbered). Note the stream running through the central "square" of the village, directly outside of the main gate of the abbey-palace.










Visiting the hamlet of Bebenhausen is completely worth the trip for anyone who appreciates not only history, but also hiking, walking, photography and simply a lovely day out in nature. Autumn is also a perfect time to go as the trees create a different ambience throughout the village. Although I have given little focus to the abbey's church here (the beautiful spire was completely covered with scaffolding for renovations, so I avoided having that "modern mess" in any of my shots), it is most definitely worth the visit. Guided tours are offered and a visitor's center in the middle of the abbey complex is quite helpful.


How to get to Bebenhausen

No train lines or trams run there. Click here for a road map from Stuttgart. The 826 or 828 bus runs to Bebenhausen from the Tübingen main train station. The trip is roughly 20 minutes. Ask the bus driver where to get out. Bebenhausen is small, so you won't have to walk far from the bus stop to get to the the Kloster (abbey). Trains run regularly from Stuttgart main station (HBF) to Tübingen. The trip takes anywhere from 42 minutes to 1 hour depending on the train. Check Deutsche Bahn for times and costs.