Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Emperors of Austria and Russia at Schloss Rohrbach

 Surrounded by the expanding city of Heidelberg is the former village of Rohrbach with a hunting lodge built in 1700 to the southwest. The schloss was inherited in 1795 by the future King Max of Bavaria where the family took refuge during the Napoleonic wars. After his first wife died there in 1796, he married a year later Princess Caroline of Baden, sister of the Russian Empress Elizabeth. In 1803 Max gave the estate to his mother-in-law the Margravine Amalia of Baden for her summer home. His son Ludwig’s poem remembers his childhood: ‘Peacefully you lie in serene peace, my rural Rohrbach at the foot of the mountain, my ancerstors seat!’

Painting c1800s (below) of Schloss Rohrbach

With the escape of Napoleon from Elba in the spring of 1815, the Congress in Vienna hurriedly assembled their army on the Rhine. The two most powerful men Emperor Franz of Austria and Alexander of Russia were lodged in Heidelberg. In June they accepted Margravine Amalia’s invitation to attend an evening soiree at the Schloss. The Austrian emperor entered the grand salon on the arm of his hostess. Alexander had politely given him the lead as he believed he was a ‘child of the house’, calling the Margravine ‘mama’.

Drawing c1810s (below) of Schloss Rohrbach and interior

After the death of the Margravine in 1832, the Schloss was sold to the family of her former lady-in-waiting. Later at the turn of the century it became a tuberculosis hospital.

Photographs (below) of Schloss Rohrbach today

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