Mannheim may not be one of Germany's most most beautiful cities, but its gigantic electroral palace is definitely worth a stop. With a length of 450 metres and a floor area of 60,000 m², it is simply Germany's largest palace (only slightly smaller than Versailles) and Europe largest Baroque-style palace. Unfortunately the palace was badly damaged during World War II. All the exterior was reconstructed, but only the most important state rooms were restored to their former glory. Most of the palace is now occupied by the University of Mannheim. Only the central part can be visited.
All started in 1720 when Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine, decided to move his capital from Heidelberg to Mannheim. At the time, Mannheim was just a small town defended by the citadel of Friedrichsburg. The prince-elector moved to his new residence in 1731, although the palace was not completed until 1760, 18 years after Charles III's death.
The enormous, lavish baroque palace cost 2 million gulden, seven times more than originally projected, and seriously strained the public finances of the Palatinate.
Following Napoleon's reorganisation of Germany, the Palatinate was split in two and Mannheim became part of the Grand Duchy of Baden, thus losing its capital status.
The palace was partly destroyed by bombings in WWII, but repaired soon afterwards. It is now used primarily by the University of Mannheim. The State Rooms are open to the public.
Opening Hours & Admission
Mannheim Palace is open from Tuesday to Sunday, as well as public holidays, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (last admission at 4:30 pm). It is closed on 24th, 25th and 31st December. Guided tours in German, English and French are held every day at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, as well as 1:00 pm on weekends and public holidays.
Admission is 6 € for adults, 3 € for concessions and includes an audio guide. Guided tours cost 8 € for adults, 4 € for concessions.
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