Lapidarium of the City of Stuttgart
There is a wide variety of museums in Stuttgart, but the Lapidarium is something very special. The more than 200 stone relics in this open-air museum provide the visitor with an authentic and vivid picture of Stuttgart’s culture in the past. In the summer months the garden also hosts a number of open-air performances and events.
This collection of stone remnants, which has been set up in the relaxing atmosphere of a terraced park designed on the model of Italian Renaissance gardens not only keeps awake the memory of Stuttgart, which was to a large extent destroyed in the Second World War, but also provides multi-faceted, lively insights into the enormous variety of periods in the city’s history. Among the most important objects in the Lapidarium are, for example, the revealing portal of the Great Mill/Große Mühle in Berg (1613), the entrance façade (1596) of master builder Heinrich Schickhardt’s house, or the valuable fragment of the portal from the Old Stone House/Alte Steinhaus (approx. 1268), one of the oldest buildings in Stuttgart. No less interesting is the huge jasper bowl owned by Queen Olga (1858), a lintel from the former Carl’s High School/Hohe Carls-Schule or a remnant of the portal from the Hoppenlau Cemetery (1626). The 6m high weathervane from a house in Eberhardstrasse that was demolished around 1969 will also not escape the visitor’s notice.
Further highlights of the collection are the water-spring nymph created by Johann Heinrich Dannecker, in a marble copy from 1886, and the zinc casting of his famous water-and-meadow nymph. At every turn the visitor encounters a past that has been preserved in visual form, and artists’ names such as Dannecker, Hofer, Donndorf, Kiemlen, to whom the city is indebted for a good number of noteworthy works of art.
Originally, the park belonged to the manufacturer Karl von Ostertag-Siegle (1860–1924), a son-in-law of Gustav Siegle, a well-known industrialist and a major patron of the city. From his possessions, too, comes the charming collection of Roman antiquities from that period of the city’s history. These are to be found in the covered walks of the garden. Although surrounded by the city, a peaceful magic inviting people to make discoveries lies over the park, with its magnificent old trees, the covered walks, terraces and lawns that slope up to the Karlshöhe park.
The original nucleus of the Stuttgart Lapidarium collection comes from old houses that were demolished after 1900 as part of the modernization of the Old Town and the building of the new Town Hall in 1905. At that time, building components of particular architectural and historical value were collected in the cloisters of the former Dominican Monastery in the Hospital Church/Hospitalkirche. The air raid of September 1944 destroyed the cloisters and buried the exhibits under the debris.
The fragments saved from the Hospital Church during the cleaning-up work after 1945 formed the initial core of a new Lapidarium. To these were added other architectural monuments from the ruins of the devastated Stuttgart. Thanks to the enterprising and commendable work of the Municipal Commission for the Preservation of Works of Art and Architectural Monuments, initiated in August 1945 and chaired by Professor Gustav Wais, numerous valuable architectural parts of destroyed houses, sculptures, masonry corbels, keystones, grave slabs and stone coats-of-arms – valuable from the viewpoint of the history of architecture or art – were preserved for posterity. As a result of the energy of Professor Wais and his colleague, Senior Building Surveyor Dr. Wilhelm Speidel, impressive items came to be included in the Lapidarium collection.
The collection found a worthy and appropriate place in the parklike garden that was purchased by the city from the Ostertag-Siegle family. Here in these delightful surroundings the new Lapidarium was opened by Mayor Klett on 8th July 1950. In the following years the collection grew far beyond its original size as a result of donations and purchases. In spite of the restoration work that was constantly necessary, it is a sight that must be seen if you want to understand the history of the city. Thus the words that Mayor Klett said at the time it was opened are still true today: »To the superficial viewer, many of these stones may not, at first glance, appear to be of artistic or historical significance. But anyone who loves his home city and its history, will immerse themselves into the shapes and contents of these stones, experience an inner empathy with them and draw from them great benefit for the mind, spirit and soul. Here, too, the poet’s word is true: ‘What glitters is for the moment born, real art will posterity adorn.’ «
The Lapidarium is open to the public in the warm season.
The 2013 season lasts from May 4 to September 15
Wed – Sat 14-18
Entry is free of charge
Bus Nr. 41, Mörikestrasse bus stop
The Lapidarium is only in parts accessible by wheel-chair. Access ist possible through the gate at Willy-Reichert-Staffel. There is a barrierfree WC available.
Tel. +49 (0)711 / 216 964 00
Fax +49 (0)711 / 216 964 13
Guided Tours (in English) upon demand