Schloss Birken © Andreas Harbach

Visit Birken Palace and Colmdorf Palace in Bayreuth.

Birken Palace (Schloss Birken)

From the hunting lodge . . .

Between the city center and the univer­sity is located on a small hill the castle Birken in the district of the same name. It was first mentioned in docu­ments in 1459 as a house on thePircken. Heredi­tary Prince Erdmann Augustus of Bran­den­burg-Bayreuth (1615–51) built the Birken hunting lodge after 1647.

In 1686 Margrave Chris­tian Ernst of Bran­den­burg-Bayreuth (1644/1661 1712) donated his hunting lodge Birken to his Ober­hof­mar­schall Hans Wilhelm von Erffa, toge­ther with his estate and the asso­ciated lands.

He demo­lished the old hunting lodge and instead built a new buil­ding accor­ding to plans by the Margrave archi­tect Charles Phil­ippe Dieu­ssart. The heavy baroque white stucco ceilings in the stair­case and in the first-floor repre­sen­ta­tion rooms were desi­gned between 1689 and 1692 by the Italian Bernardo Quadri, who already created stucco ceilings in early margrave and aris­to­cratic churches in the region.

Under Prime Minister Erdmann Frei­herr von Stein, Schloss Birken expe­ri­enced its heyday in 1724–39. During the summer months, the castle is the perma­nent resi­dence of the Margrave Minister. In the Audi­ence Hall he receives court offi­cials, envoys and peti­tio­ners. In addi­tion to large court hunts in the estates, sple­ndid festi­vals take place in the Baroque Hall. Margrave Wilhel­mine (1709–1758) and Margrave Fried­rich (1711/1735–1763) were often guests. In 1740, Birken Castle was trans­ferred to the Baron von Stein‘schen Stif­tung, the days of hunting lodge were over. Margrave Fried­rich prefers to ride along the extended Fried­rich­straße past birches to the hunting grounds Thier­garten and from 1756/57 prefers the new cons­truc­tion of the hunting lodge in Kaiser­hammer and the wild Fich­tel­ge­birge.

. . . to the Stein’s Foun­da­tion and to the private property

Castle Birken remained in the posses­sion of the Baron von Stein‘schen Stif­tung until 1956. Baro­ness Chris­tiane Char­lotte von Stein decrees in the letter of foun­da­tion that: “from my intended wealth . . . always four poor noble widows or young lady are provided with accom­mo­da­tion, food and main­ten­ance on the Birken, four other poor civic widows from the local town but also stan­ding in the houses in front of the Birken Palace . . . are provided with accom­mo­da­tion and food . . . !”

From 1956 to 1975, the castle became the private resi­dence of the von Hoesslin fami­lies and from 1975 it became the private resi­dence of the Peter Rothen­bü­cher family. Since 1979 it has been known natio­nally as the art auction house P. Rothen­bü­cher KG.

Text: Peter Rothen­bü­cher

Colm­dorf Palace (Schloss Colmdorf)

Schloss Colmdorf

After the death of Margrave Wilhel­mine, Margrave Fried­rich purchased the country palace, Colm­dorf Palace, built in 1754/55 by the then court buil­ding inspector Rudolf Hein­rich Richter on behalf of the Margrave Minister Frei­herr von Reit­zen­stein. It first served as a gift and resi­dence for his second wife Sophie Caro­line Marie, an educated and attrac­tive prin­cess of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel.

Schloss Colm­dorf or Caro­li­nen­ruhe, as it is also called, expe­ri­enced nume­rous diffe­rent owners and had a corre­spon­dingly varied history. From 1901 to 1912, Isolde, the eldest daughter of Richard and Cosima Wagner, and her husband Franz Philipp Beidler lived in the castle on Königs­allee, before it finally fell into a dormant sleep for decades.

2021 – Restored in new splendor

Since July 2021, Schloss Colm­dorf has been perfectly restored and equipped with original furni­ture, as well as Schloss Birken, to the public as a baroque castle museum under the direc­tion of the Rothen­bü­cher family. In addi­tion to valuable inven­tory from the time of the Margrave, guided tours also include the exqui­site stucco work by Adam Rudolph Albini, who also desi­gned the stucco work in the Old Castle of the Hermi­tage and in various Margrave churches.

Further infor­ma­tion and guided tours:




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