Bonn – the City


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February 16, 2019

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First a Fort, then a Baroque Residence


Ernest of Bavaria initiates the sequence of Electors from the House of Wittelsbach who from now on officially hold court in Bonn. Ferdinand (1612 - 1650) appears to have been the most capable of them. He manages to steer the town clear of trouble throughout the Thirty Years’ War. The year 1689, however, turns out to be a year of horror. Throughout almost three months, troops from Brandenburg, Münster and the Netherlands besiege and shell the capital of the Electorate whose Bishop Coadjutor Egon of Fürstenberg has decided to side with Louis XIV of France against Emperor Leopold I in the War of the Palatine Succession. In the end, the town is almost totally destroyed, with chaos and misery ruling all over. Von Fürstenberg is forced to cede the reign to the legitimate successor Joseph Clemens of Bavaria (1688 - 1723).

Joseph Clemens and his successors upgrade the town into a baroque residence with splendid buildings such as a town palace, the Poppelsdorf Palace, the Town Hall and the church on the Kreuzberg hill with its Sacred Stairs. The most popular Elector is Clemens August, a charming as well as an easy-going gentleman with a propensity to magnificent buildings and the high life, who ultimately dies dancing. He boasts the most pompous court in the entire western part of Germany and receives a host of illustrious guests. The members of the House of Wittelsbach are succeeded by Max Frederick of Königsegg-Rothenfels (1761 - 1784) and Max Franz of Habsburg-Lorraine (1784 - 1794), a son of Empress Maria Theresa. He elevates the academy that was founded by his predecessor to the rank of university, Bonn’s first, and makes Godesberg a spa. The "Redoute” - building is his outstanding architectural legacy.

Last update: June 2, 2017



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