Upper East Garden (Oberer Ostgarten)
Duke Friedrich II spent every summer in Ludwigsburg from 1797 until his death. The Upper East Garden was changed radically during this time, with the large opera house, which had been built by Carl Eugen, being demolished. Instead, a diverse garden took its place: the western area, which is planted in the style of a grove, created a transition to the Mediaeval-themed Lower East Garden, while the eastern area had an ancient-world theme with a Mediterranean landscape and a playground. The focal point, Schüsselesee lake, was surrounded by playground entertainments for royal society, such as merry-go-rounds, swings, a miniature big wheel, small swing-boats and skittles. The scene is rounded off with the ruins of an "ancient" aqueduct, which masks a playhouse and a gardener's cottage, a Mediterranean vineyard with a vintner's house, a kangaroo house with an enclosure and arcade-style trellises.
Tour through the Upper East Garden
During the 18th and 19th centuries in particular, exhibitions of creatures from other countries were a popular feature in palace gardens, as a way for the rulers to display their wealth. Ludwigsburg also boasted aviaries and animal enclosures. The large aviary, which opened at Blühendes Barock (Baroque in Bloom) in 1977, ties in with this historical tradition. When walking through the 150-metre-long and 30-metre-wide aviary, visitors can experience most creatures face to face. The birds are free to fly around the aviary, which is up to 15 metres high. The birds are selected to ensure that individual species have an optimum habitat and can breed.
The free-flight aviary also has another attraction: a Sardinian landscape with typical Mediterranean plants, rocks and architecture.
This also pays homage to Ludwigsburg's history. Duke Eberhard Ludwig had several hundred trees transported from Sardinia to Ludwigsburg in the early 18th century to give the gardens a southern flair. The variety of species presented to visitors today is just as impressive as it was in the past. The Mediterranean flair of the Upper East Garden is continued harmoniously along the sunny slopes of the Sardinian Garden. But this area is particularly special. The southern character is even more intricate and detailed, displaying a rich blend of flora, fauna and rocks. The path leads through a neolithic gateway, past dry-stone walls with characteristic moss and lichens to a small fountain. It then continues up a small hill with a typical Sardinian shepherds' hut, surrounded by olive trees, cork oaks and carob trees.
When Ludwigsburg and the park were founded, the garden designers drew inspiration from other cultures to demonstrate their education and openness towards the rest of the world. The Japanese Garden was laid out in 1979 in keeping with that tradition. Japanese garden design evolved from the religions of Shinto and Zen Buddhism. The designs imitate the clear forms of nature and transform gardens into places of stillness and contemplation.
Inside the gateway of the stroll garden, a symbolised mountain landscape unfolds, with a winding river of white gravel breaking on rough rocks. Everything appears random. But it is this randomness that conceals the art of evoking a natural appearance. Clear water drips from a bamboo pole into a stone basin, while ornately pruned groups of pine trees hint at forests. A flagstone path leads to a little pond into which a rushing stream flows over cataracts and waterfalls. Leaving this scene behind, the stream flows through a mellow valley with lush green areas.
Play like royalty at the historical playground
Visitors can play like royalty at the reconstructed historical playground. Unlike today, the royal play area was used by all age groups. At the time, play was seen as a leisure activity as well as an integral part of courtly interaction. The constraints of court etiquette were compensated for by playing together.
The original version of the royal playground was completed in 1802. Duke Friedrich II of Württemberg commissioned court architect Thouret with the planning of the play area. The playground equipment is a blend of the contrasting styles of neoclassicism and romanticism. The royal play area was part of the grand design of the Upper East Garden.
The precious playground equipment has not survived, although there is evidence of its existence up until 1863. It was gradually disassembled. Because it was so well documented, the royal play area could be partially reconstructed, taking into account today's requirements, between 1997 and 1999.