Baden Marathon 2005: Kilometer 5

The route continued down Durlacherallee passed rows of businesses, apartments etc. On the right side this eventually opened up to the gardens and grounds of the Gottesaue Palace (Schloss Gottesaue) as we passed the 5K marker.

In 1094, the Benedictine abbey Gottesaue was founded with a donation from Count Berthold of Henneberg and his wife Luitgart. The legend has it that because it was where the count found his daughter who had run away, he named the place after God's eyes (Gottes Augen, hence "Gottes-Aue") that had wonderfully watched over his child.

In the 12th and 13th century, the monastery was in its prime, having come under the supreme power of the house Baden. The deterioration in the monastery's economic situation following the wars of the patron governors climaxed in it being looted and burned to the ground in 1525.

Margrave Karl II had a palace built on the site of the devastated abbey in 1553. His son, Margrave Ernst Friedrich commissioned the renowned architect Johannes Schoch from Strasburg with the extension of the building to a summer residence and hunting "lodge" in the Renaissance style.

During the Thirty Year War, Gottesaue occasionally became a Catholic abbey again, after the Westphalian peace settlement in 1648, the monastery and palace became the property of the margrave's chamber once and for all. In 1689 the palace was destroyed by the French then restored by Karl Wilhelm, Karlsruhe's founder.

Repeated outbreaks of fire of unknown cause in 1735 destroyed the interior of the palace. 5 years later, it was rebuilt yet again but this time as an agricultural estate. The towers of the fourth floor and the walls of the third were torn down, effectively stripping the building of one of its levels. The palace was now given domes in place of the former pointed towers. In 1789, the later Grand Duke Karl-Friedrich established a show estate for merino sheep in the domestic buildings.

Gottesaue's purpose was changed again in 1818: the palace was converted to military barracks. It was home to the grand duke's No. 14 artillery regiment and a division of the No. 50 artillery regiment until 1918. The parade ground was the terrain opposite the Luther church from Durlacherallee to the railway line. After WW1, the palace was used as a civilian tenement block owing to its position in the demilitarised zone. In 1935/36, a police school moved in under the Nazi regime before the 2nd Baden artillery division was stationed there after Hitler's announcement of the lifting of the neutral zone on 7th March, 1936.

The building was reduced to rubble yet again during an air raid in WW2 on 7th July, 1944. It was not until 1961 that conservation measures could be undertaken to preserve the ruin. Only the vaulted cellar and half the perimeter walls had remained standing. In 1978 the decision was finally made to rebuild the palace to house a music academy. Gottesaue Palace has been home to Karlsruhe's State Academy for Music since 1989.

Buffalo Bill in Karlsruhe?

Down the street from the Gottesaue Palace are the Karlsruhe Fair Grounds on Durlach Avenue. On of the more famous event held here occurred on August 23, 1891. In a huge procession consisting of 43 railway wagons, 200 Indians, authentic cowboys, sharpshooters and riders accompanied William Cody to the fair grounds. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was in town!

The highlights of his show included a buffalo hunt with real buffalo and horses, as well as stagecoach attacks and skirmishes with Indians. A further attraction was the sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Buffalo Bill and his troupe spent a total of four days in Karlsruhe.

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