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Friedenstein Palace (german: Schloss Friedenstein) is an early
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a of , , , , and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740s. In the territories of the Spanish and Portuguese empires including the Iberian Peninsula it continued, together with new s ...
palace built in the mid-17th century by
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha Ernest I, called "Ernest the Pious" (25 December 1601 – 26 March 1675), was a duke of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg. The duchies were later merged into Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. He was the ninth but sixth surviving son of Johann II, Duke of Saxe-W ...
at
Gotha Gotha () is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazi ...

Gotha
,
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
. In Germany, ''Friedenstein'' was one of the largest palaces of its time and one of the first Baroque palaces ever built. ''Friedenstein'' served as the main seat of the
Dukes of Saxe-Gotha A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor, king, and grand duke ruling over a duchy or a member of Royal family, royalty or nobility, historically of highest rank, below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...
and later as one of the residences of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, closely linked with the Royal Family of Great Britain through the marriage of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
and Prince
Albert Albert may refer to: Companies * Albert (supermarket) Albert Česká republika, s.r.o., is a division of the Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize group, operating in the Czech Republic. The company (then known as Euronova a.s.) began trading in Czec ...

Albert
. The final two ruling Dukes were both princes of the United Kingdom. The palace complex today houses several museums. It is also notable for hosting the , one of the oldest theatres in operation in Germany, still featuring the original Baroque machinery for changing the
scenery Modern-day rotating set for the play '' Noises Off''. Theatrical scenery is that which is used as a setting for a theatrical production. Scenery may be just about anything, from a single chair to an elaborately re-created street, no matter how l ...
.


History


Earlier structures

The site where ''Friedenstein'' stands today, dominating the town of Gotha and its surroundings, was previously occupied by ''Grimmenstein Castle''. It was first mentioned in 1316 and rebuilt in 1531-43 when it was also fortified in accordance with the changed requirements for a fortress in the age of gunpowder. In 1547, the Ernestine branch of the
House of Wettin The House of Wettin () is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, T ...
as members of the Protestant
Schmalkaldic League The Schmalkaldic League (; ; or ) was a military alliance of Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German Protestant Reformers, reformer whos ...
had lost the
Battle of Mühlberg The Battle of Mühlberg took place near Mühlberg, Brandenburg, Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony in 1547, during the Schmalkaldic War. The Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Holy Roman Emperor ...
against the Catholic forces of
Emperor Charles V Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanoru ...

Emperor Charles V
. As a result, Johann Friedrich I, Kurfürst von Sachsen (John Frederick I) was stripped of his title as "Elector of Saxony" (''Kurwürde''). Imperial forces blew up the fortifications of ''Grimmenstein'' but left the castle itself largely intact. It was rebuilt in 1552-54. However, in 1567 the fortress was almost completely razed as a result of the attempt of Johann Friedrich II (John Frederick II) to regain the ''Kurwürde'' by force of arms.


Construction

In 1640,
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha Ernest I, called "Ernest the Pious" (25 December 1601 – 26 March 1675), was a duke of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg. The duchies were later merged into Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. He was the ninth but sixth surviving son of Johann II, Duke of Saxe-W ...
, also known as ''Ernst der Fromme'' ("Ernest the Pious"), first ruler of the newly created
Duchy of Saxe-Gotha Saxe-Gotha (german: Sachsen-Gotha) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty The House of Wettin () is a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Diction ...
, settled on Gotha as the site for his ''
Residenz Residenz () is a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German langu ...
''. Gotha at the time was the largest town in the Duchy. In 1641/42 work began on the park, followed by construction of the palace itself in 1643. In naming the castle ''Friedenstein'' (literally "peace-rock"), Ernst made a point of drawing a clear line between this new palace and the warlike history of its predecessor. In addition, with the
Thirty Years War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire from 1618 to 1648. Considered one of the most destructive wars in European history, estimates of total deaths caused by the conflict range from 4.5 to 8 million ...

Thirty Years War
still ongoing, the name also expressed a desire for peace after decades of warfare. Based on plans by (1600-1663), (1601-1679) was in charge of building the castle. When it was finished in 1656, ''Friedenstein'' was the first ever ''Residenz'' in the Baroque style built on German soil that was completed during the lifetime of the ruler who ordered it. To justify the expense of such a vast structure, Ernest explicitly referred to the need to accommodate the administration for the new Duchy. In July 1655, work began on fortifying the castle. By 1672, four
bastion A bastion or bulwark is a structure projecting outward from the Curtain wall (fortification), curtain wall of a fortification, most commonly angular in shape and positioned at the corners of the fort. The fully developed bastion consists of two f ...

bastion
s had been completed. The outer works were finished by 1687 and, beginning in 1663, the town of Gotha was also fortified. In 1672, the House of Saxe-Altenburg ended and most of the Duchy passed to Ernst, who now was ruler of
Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg () was a duchy ruled by the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in today's Thuringia, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capit ...
. Although the Duchy now had two ''Residenzen'', Gotha was by far the more important one. However, Ernst was unwilling to exclude any of his surviving sons from his heritage. So after his death in 1675, the Duchy was split in 1680/81 into seven separate territories: Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg,
Saxe-Coburg Saxe-Coburg (german: Sachsen-Coburg) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of ...
,
Saxe-Meiningen Saxe-Meiningen (; ) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin dynasty, located in the southwest of the present-day German state of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuring ...
, Saxe-Römhild,
Saxe-Eisenberg The Duchy of Saxe-Eisenberg was one of the Ernestine duchies, Saxon Duchies held by the Ernestine line of the House of Wettin, Wettin Dynasty. History Established in 1680 for Christian, Duke of Saxe-Eisenberg, Christian, fifth son of Ernest I, D ...
,
Saxe-Hildburghausen Saxe-Hildburghausen () was an Ernestine duchies, Ernestine duchy in the southern side of the present State of Thuringia in Germany. It existed from 1680 to 1826 but its name and borders are currently used by the Hildburghausen (district), District ...
and
Saxe-Saalfeld The Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld was one of the Saxon Duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin Dynasty. Established in 1680 for Johann Ernst, seventh son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha. It remained under this name until 1699, when Albert V, ...
. Ernst's oldest son,
Friedrich IFrederick I may refer to: * Frederick of Utrecht or Frederick I (815/16–834/38), Bishop of Utrecht. * Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine (942–978) * Frederick I, Duke of Swabia (1050–1105) * Frederick I, Count of Zollern ...
, became Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, with his main ''Residenz'' at Gotha.


House of Saxe-Coburg

In 1826, after the death of the heirless Friedrich IV, the Duchy was split and Gotha passed to Ernst I of the House of Saxe-Coburg and father of
Albert, Prince Consort Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Albert was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe ...

Albert, Prince Consort
who was to marry
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
. Ernst I now styled himself "
Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (german: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha), or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (), was an Ernestine, Thuringian duchy ruled by a branch of the House of Wettin The House of Wettin () is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-elector ...

Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
", although he technically held the two separate Duchies of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
. For the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the latter was only a secondary residence, the focus was squarely on
Coburg Coburg () is a Town#Germany, town located on the Itz (river), Itz river in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. Long part of one of the Thuringian states of the Ernestine duchies, Wettin line, it joined Bavaria by popular vote only ...

Coburg
, where the
Ehrenburg Palace Ehrenburg Palace (German: ''Schloss Ehrenburg'') is a palace in Coburg, Franconia, Germany. It served as the main Coburg residence for the ruling princes from the 1540s until 1918. The palace's exterior today mostly reflects Gothic Revival style. ...
was the main residence.
Ernst IIErnest II may refer to: * Ernest II, Duke of Swabia (died in 1030) * Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1745–1804) * Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1818–1893) * Ernest II, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1842–1904) * Ernst II, Pri ...

Ernst II
, successor of Ernst I and older brother of Albert, did not live in the castle when in Gotha, but at the ''Winterpalais'' in the town. During his long reign (died in 1893), the castle only housed the administration of the Duchy. Since Ernst II was without heir, he made his nephew,
Alfred Alfred may refer to: Arts and entertainment *''Alfred J. Kwak'', Dutch-German-Japanese anime television series *Alfred (Arne opera), ''Alfred'' (Arne opera), a 1740 masque by Thomas Arne *Alfred (Dvořák opera), ''Alfred'' (Dvořák opera), an ...

Alfred
, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, his heir. Alfred renounced his title of
Duke of Edinburgh Duke of Edinburgh, named after the city of Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of th ...
and his seat in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
and went to Germany. In 1899, his only son
Alfred Alfred may refer to: Arts and entertainment *''Alfred J. Kwak'', Dutch-German-Japanese anime television series *Alfred (Arne opera), ''Alfred'' (Arne opera), a 1740 masque by Thomas Arne *Alfred (Dvořák opera), ''Alfred'' (Dvořák opera), an ...
reportedly shot himself during his parents' 25th wedding anniversary celebrations at ''Friedenstein''. After being cared for in the castle for some days he was sent to a sanatorium near
Meran Merano (, , ) or Meran () is a city and '' comune'' in South Tyrol, northern Italy. Generally best known for its spa resorts, it is located within a basin, surrounded by mountains standing up to above sea level Above may refer to: * Above (art ...
, where he died on 6 February 1899. As Alfred's uncle,
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert; 1 May 185016 January 1942), was the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of ...

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught
, and cousin,
Prince Arthur of Connaught Prince Arthur of Connaught (Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert; 13 January 1883 – 12 September 1938) was a British military officer and a grandson of Queen Victoria. He served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 20 November 1920 ...
, both renounced their right of succession to the Duchy, the title passed to Charles Edward (Karl Eduard), the son of the
Duke of Albany Duke of Albany was a peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general sense, are nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, ...

Duke of Albany
, fourth son of Victoria and Albert. Since Charles Edward was only 16 at the time, until his 21st birthday on 19 July 1905 a
regency A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

regency
was installed.
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
caused a conflict of loyalties for Charles Edward/Karl Eduard, but he sided with Germany, leading the British government to strip him of his titles in the United Kingdom. In November 1918, during the
German Revolution German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Germ ...
Charles Edward was deposed by the local "Workers' and Soldiers' Council" and on 23 November he signed his abdication, thus ending the existence of the Duchy. The castle was now used as a museum.


After 1918

During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
an air raid shelter was constructed in the casemates of the castle. In 1944, part of the park and outbuildings were heavily damaged by Allied bombing. After the end of the war, a significant part of the art treasures of the Friedenstein museums was transported to the Soviet Union as war reparations. However, most of it was restored in the late 1950s. During the time of the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
(GDR), renovation work in the castle began in 1965 and many of the additions of the late 19th and early 20th century were removed from the interior. In what became known as the ', in the night from 13 to 14 December 1979, five valuable paintings were stolen from the castle:
Frans Hals Frans Hals the Elder (, , ; – 26 August 1666) was a Dutch Golden Age painter, chiefly of individual and group portraits and of Genre painting, genre works, who lived and worked in Haarlem. Hals played an important role in the evolution of 17th ...

Frans Hals
(''Brustbild eines jungen Mannes''),
Anthony van Dyck Sir Anthony van Dyck (, many variant spellings; 22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque painting, Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England after success in the Southern Netherlands and Italy. ...
(''Selbstbildnis mit Sonnenblume''),
Jan Lievens Jan Lievens (24 October 1607 – 4 June 1674) was a Dutch Golden Age painter who was associated with his close contemporary Rembrandt Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (, also , ; 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch Drawing, draught ...

Jan Lievens
(''Alter Mann''),
Jan Brueghel the Elder Jan Brueghel (also Bruegel or Breughel) the Elder (, ; ; 1568 – 13 January 1625) was a Flemish painter Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after ...
(''Landstraße mit Bauernwagen und Kühen'') und
Hans Holbein the Elder Hans Holbein the Elder ( , ; german: Hans Holbein der Ältere; – 1524) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For c ...
(''Heilige Katharina''). A special commission of the GDR police failed to solve the theft.Wolfgang Hirsch: ''Die finsterste Nacht über dem Friedenstein. Eine Verlustgeschichte: Museumsdirektor Bernd Schäfer erinnert sich an den Gothaer Kunstraub 1979 – Jetzt läuft die Verjährungsfrist ab'' (German). In: ''Thüringische Landeszeitung'', 14 November 2009. It took no less than 40 years for the paintings to be recovered. The theft is still unsolved, however, in the sense that the identity of the 1979 thieves remains unknown. In 2004, the castle and parks came into the care of the ''Stiftung Thüringer Schlösser und Gärten''.


Building history and architecture


Building history

The castle built for Ernst I was constructed according to general principles favoured by Protestant rulers in the 17th century. It took the form of a so-called "sub-ordinated" palace, meaning that the four wings are not on an equal footing but that there is one dominating main wing. At ''Friedenstein'' that is the four-story north wing, facing the town. The two side wings have three floors (but end in the four-story towers or pavilions) and the final wing had just one floor. Initially, all the state apartments were housed in the four-storied sections of the palace. The palace dominates the town by its sheer size: the main wing is 100 metres long, the two side wings are 140 metres long. Although the interior of the palace has been significantly altered since the time of Ernst I, the exterior has remained largely unchanged. The simple, unadorned exterior was originally selected to contrast with the palaces of Catholic princes, which at the time were still mostly influenced by the elaborate
Renaissance style Renaissance architecture is the European architecture of the period between the early 14th and early 16th centuries in different regions, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek Ancient Gre ...
. The only major embellishment at ''Friedenstein'' were four larger-than-life statues located at the four corners of the palace, showing
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
,
Elijah Elijah ( ; , meaning "My God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honde ...

Elijah
,
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
and
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
. Other external features were a few reliefs salvaged from the old ''Grimmenstein'' and some decoration above the main gate to the courtyard, located in the centre of the north wing. The austere facades are structured not by ornamental features but only by the symmetrical arrangement of the windows and a cornice running around the whole building between the first and second floors. On the side facing the courtyard, an arcade was constructed running around all four wings of the palace. The major later change to the external appearance of the palace has been the addition of the two buildings on the left and right of the main wing facing the town, known as ''Pagenhaus'' and ''Wachthaus'', added in 1778/79. At that time the four statues were also removed. None of the original state rooms constructed for Ernst I remain today. The palace sections that have maintained their original use include the chapel and the ''Geheimes Archiv'' on the ground floor of the north wing. Otherwise the ground floor of all the wings housed servants' and storage rooms as well as an armoury, a stable, a mint and a smithy. The fourth wing contained a
riding hall A riding hall, indoor arena, indoor school (UK English), or indoor ring (US English) is a building (part of an equestrian facilityAn equestrian facility is created and maintained for the purpose of accommodating, training or competing equids, es ...
. The first upper floor of all the wings is slightly lower than the others – it used to house the offices of the Ducal administration. The second floor contained the main representatives areas reached by two staircases located at the juncture between the north and the side wings. The palace interior was completely rearranged as early as the reign of
Friedrich IFrederick I may refer to: * Frederick of Utrecht or Frederick I (815/16–834/38), Bishop of Utrecht. * Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine (942–978) * Frederick I, Duke of Swabia (1050–1105) * Frederick I, Count of Zollern ...
, Ernst's son. In 1677, the east pavilion was struck by lightning and burned down. Fire walls helped to contain the fire to that part of the palace. It was realized that the Great Hall in the north wing, stretching over two floors and reaching above the chapel, prevented the addition of fire walls to the main wing. The hall was thus demolished and replaced by a new fire wall along with new state apartments: a flight of five rooms each for Duke and Duchess. These rooms were finished by around 1685. After that a new main hall, the ''Tafelgemach'' or ''Hauptsaal'' was added. After 1687, a crypt for the burial of the Ducal family was created beneath the chapel and the chapel itself rebuilt. In 1681/82, the former ballroom in the west pavilion was replaced by a theatre (see below). In 1684-87, the east pavilion was rebuilt and crowned with a rounded roof, distinguishing it from the west pavilion which retains its original roof shape.
Friedrich IIIFrederick III may refer to: * Frederick III, Duke of Upper Lorraine (died 1033) * Frederick III, Duke of Swabia (1122–1190) * Friedrich III, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1220–1297) * Frederick III, Duke of Lorraine (1240–1302) * Frederick III of Sici ...

Friedrich III
had the rooms of the Duchess renovated in 1747/51 and some years later, rooms for Friedrich III were added to the east pavilion. Friedrich's son
Ernst IIErnest II may refer to: * Ernest II, Duke of Swabia (died in 1030) * Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1745–1804) * Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1818–1893) * Ernest II, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1842–1904) * Ernst II, Pri ...
moved out of the Baroque state apartments in the main wing and into new rooms in the east wing, between the Mirror Hall and the east pavilion. Ernst II also had various other changes made to the palace and its surroundings, including tearing down some of the original gate buildings and ramparts and replacing the riding hall to the south with the simple wall now closing off the arcades of the south wing. Starting in 1797, the former guest quarters in the west wing were redesigned and new ones added. Rooms were planned for heir apparent Emil August and his bride. Since work was not finished in time for the wedding, the Princess moved into the rooms in the northwest corner and Emil August into the unfinished west wing. After his wife died in 1801, Emil August had her rooms changed for his own needs. The bastions around the palace were removed around the year 1800 without ever having been used in defence. Emil August's brother and successor, Friedrich IV did not live in the palace but in the town. His main contribution to the palace was bringing together the gallery of paintings from ''Friedenstein'' and other castles in the vicinity. This was located on the second floor of the west pavilion. Friedrich also created the ''Kunst- und Naturalienkabinett'' on the third floor of the north wing – the nucleus of the Ducal museums. After the change in dynasties, the new Duke Ernst I von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha had the rooms in the northwest corner redesigned. His , however, did not live in the palace but at the ' in the town. With ''Friedenstein'' not used as a residential palace, the focus shifted to its function as administrative centre of the Duchy. Various changes occurred during the long reign of Ernst II: Space for the museum became too tight, so it was decided in 1863 to construct a specialised building. This new museum was built in 1864-79 south of the palace. After a new theatre had been built in town in 1837-40, the Ekhof-Theater lost its function as the main stage. In 1847, new stables ( ''Marstall'' ) were built, freeing up space in ''Friedenstein'' itself. Finally, in 1860/61 the main state apartments were fundamentally redecorated to bring them in line with the tastes of the times. The use of the palace changed again under
Alfred Alfred may refer to: Arts and entertainment *''Alfred J. Kwak'', Dutch-German-Japanese anime television series *Alfred (Arne opera), ''Alfred'' (Arne opera), a 1740 masque by Thomas Arne *Alfred (Dvořák opera), ''Alfred'' (Dvořák opera), an ...

Alfred
. Despite the work done in the 1860s, the palace was not suitable for running a household in accordance with the demands of a ruling prince, lacking sufficient guest quarters for example. As a consequence, most of the Duchy’s administration was moved out of the palace and into the town. Substantial redecoration work was done to the state apartments at that time. The final round of redesigns occurred under Charles Edward after 1905. Many of the changes wrought by the final two princes were undone by renovation work after 1965, however.


Ekhof-Theater

Located in the west pavilion, the ''Schlosstheater'' was built in 1681-87 by Caspar Lindemann and Hans Hoffmann. It is one of the oldest still operating theatres in Germany. Today, the theatre is named after its best-known ''Direktor''. In 1774, an actor group led by Conrad (or Konrad) Ekhof, called "the father of German acting", came from Weimar to Gotha. Ekhof began working at the ''Schlosstheater'' and became ''Direktor'' of the newly created "court theatre" while acting in many plays himself. Having turned it into one of the leading theatres in Germany, after his death in 1778 the fame of the theatre declined rapidly. The current appearance of the theatre dates mostly to renovation in 1774/75, although the ceiling (looking like
Coffer A coffer (or coffering) in architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in ...
but actually printed on canvas) is still the original from the 1680s. In the 1770s, the balcony was extended and a second one added above. The theatre features a Baroque ' still in working condition, which makes it possible to change the scenery in view of the audience while the curtain is open. The mechanism was restored in the 1770s but is largely unchanged from 1683.


Parks

''Friedenstein'' is surrounded by substantial gardens, developed individually but today linked into one park. The first garden was created even before the castle itself. The vegetable garden south of the castle was started in 1641/42. In 1645 and 1649, other gardens followed; the ''Hertzogin Lustgärtlein'' in the west and another ''Lustgarten'' to the east. Due to the existence of the massive fortifications around the castle, these first gardens were fairly small. In 1707/08, a
water feature in the park of Château de Bagatelle, Bagatelle, France. Image:GaylordNationalComputerizedMusicalWaterFeature.jpg, upComputerized musical water feature in National Harbor, MD In landscape architecture and garden design, a water feature is one or ...
was added north of the castle on the slope towards the town. Around 1700, the western ''Lustgarten'' was redesigned in a Barqoue style (this garden does not exist anymore today). More gardens were created east of the castle and in 1706 the eastern ''Lustgarten'' was also redesigned. From 1708 to 1711/14 the ''Friedrichsthaler Garten'' was created with a ''Lusthaus'' that eventually became the French Baroque style ''Schloss Friedrichsthal''. The axis between ''Friedrichsthal'' and ''Friedenstein'' was turned into the ''Orangeriegarten'' between 1747 and 1774, designed by . This is the oldest part of the gardens still in existence today. By the time it was finished, however, this type of garden had become unfashionable. After 1767, Ernst II combined the individual gardens into a single ensemble. The bastions were demolished and new sections added: * The
English landscape garden The English landscape garden, also called English landscape park or simply the English garden (french: Jardin à l'anglaise, it, Giardino all'inglese, german: Englischer Landschaftsgarten, pt, Jardim inglês, es, Jardín inglés), is a sty ...
to the south is based on ideas of
Lancelot Brown Lancelot Brown (born c. 1715–16, baptised 30 August 1716 – 6 February 1783), more commonly known as Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect A landscape architect is a person who is educated in the field of landscape arch ...
and was originally designed by . It is one of the oldest such parks in continental Europe, built after 1769. * After 1779, the ''Herzoginnengarten'' was built, south of the Orangerie and in 1781 a
Gothic revival Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic, neo-Gothic, or Gothick) is an Architectural style, architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England. The movement gained momentum and expanded in the first half of the 19th cent ...
building was added (''Teeschlösschen''). * Finally, the fortifications were replaced by the ''Herzögliche Anlagen''. In the 19th century, only minor alterations were made to the gardens. After the change in dynasties, the English garden was opened to the public in 1827. In the second half of the 19th century the last remaining formal gardens were replaced - the new museum building and the ''Tannengarten'' replaced the kitchen garden in 1869-82. Major changes in the 20th century were limited to memorials and the areas immediately to the north and south of the castle proper. In 1904, the statue of Ernst der Fromme to the north was erected. This area between town and castle has since been restored in 1998, although it was previously occupied in turn by a fire pond, an air raid shelter and a parking area. South of the castle, a memorial to the dead of World War I was built in 1927 on the ''Reitplatz''. In 1930, this area was part of the ''Deutsche Rosenschau''. In 1947, the statue of the soldier was removed by the
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sove ...
authorities and twenty years later replaced with a memorial to “the victims of fascism”. This memorial in turn was demolished in 2011.


Today

The palace houses the ''Schlossmuseum'' (state apartments), ''Museum der Natur'' (natural history) and the "Historical Museum Gotha" in the north and west wing, the ' in the west wing and the ' in the east wing. The ''Schlossmuseum'' currently combines the Baroque and
neoclassical Neoclassical or neo-classical may refer to: * Neoclassicism or New Classicism, any of a number of movements in the fine arts, literature, theatre, music, language, and architecture beginning in the 17th century ** Neoclassical architecture, an arc ...
state apartments, the Ducal ''Kunstkammer'', the ''Neue Münzkabinett'' (numismatic collection) and the ''Ekhof-Theater''. The gallery of paintings has been moved to the New Museum building outside the palace itself. This reorganisation is part of the general overhaul of the museums that began in 2010 under the label ''Barockes Universum Gotha'' ("Baroque universe Gotha").


References


Further reading

In German: * Erhard Drachenberg: ''Die Architektur des Schlosses Friedenstein.'' In: ''Der Friedenstein. Monatsblätter des Deutschen Kulturbundes.'' 1961, , p. 260–270. * Marc Rohrmüller: ''Schloss Friedenstein. Architektur, Distribution, Ausstattung.'' In: Juliane Ricarda Brandsch (Ed.): ''Ernst der Fromme (1601–1675). Bauherr und Sammler.'' Schlossmuseum, Gotha 2001, p. 11–20. * Dieter Schnabel: ''Die Fürstengruft der Schlosskirche von Schloss Friedenstein. Wahrheit, Legende, Mysterium.'' Schnabel, Gotha 2003. * Jörn Tillmann Rieckhof Nackas: ''Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha. Entwürfe für die Residenz Ernsts des Frommen (1601–1675).'' Berlin 2010 (Berlin, Freie Univ., Magisterarbeit, 2010). * Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha (Ed.): ''Märchenschloss Friedenstein - Gotha erzählt. Ausstellungskatalog.'' Mitteldeutscher Verlag Halle (Saale) 2012,


External links


Official Website

Forschungszentrum Gotha of Erfurt University (German)

Freundeskreis Friedenstein (German)

Stiftung Friedenstein (German)

Article about the palace from August 2010 (German)
{{Authority control House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg Museums in Thuringia Castles in Thuringia Royal residences in Germany