Schwetzingen Palace, the Mosque

A symbol of toleranceThe Mosque

The mosque is one of the most fascinating buildings in the Schwetzingen palace gardens. Elector Carl Theodor was not just following a fashionable trend of his time, he was also portraying himself as a cosmopolitan, tolerant ruler.

Schwetzingen Palace, the Mosque

The mosque – a symbol for tolerance.

Fascinating connection between East and West

Nicolas de Pigage built the mosque with its central construction, two minarets and prayer halls between 1779 and 1795. The models for this exceptional piece of garden architecture were the garden mosque by William Chambers from Kew Gardens in London and in particular the designs of Johann Fischer von Erlach. The combination of occidental and oriental architectural language is fascinating. Thus, Baroque domes, ogival windows and rounded archways are found alongside minarets, pavilions and half-moons.

Schwetzingen Palace, inside the Mosque

Adorned with oriental patterns.

Richly decorated interior

The interior of the mosque comprises a central interior space divided by columns and alcoves. Alcoves and architectural elements are colourfully designed. Inscriptions in Arabic and German make reference to virtues such as wisdom, industry and discretion. All the Arabic texts have errors with respect to dots on the consonants and the vocalization – a mistake on the part of the German stonemason who transcribed the inscription in 1794. The view to the top of the dome is impressive.

Silent prayer halls

A stroll through the prayer halls with their enchanting play between light and shadow is one the high points of a visit to the palace gardens. Wooden lattice work offers views into the inner courtyard and the surrounding Turkish Garden. Pavilions with mighty dome roofs and gilded half-moons emphasize the centres of the longitudinal sides and the corners of the corridors. Their walls are adorned with Arabic and German aphorisms.

Schwetzingen Palace, cloister of the Mosque
Schwetzingen Palace, yard of the Mosque
Schwetzingen Palace, aisle of the Mosque

Captivating colonnades surround the mosque, inviting visitors to take a walk through the Orient.

Encouragement to contemplation

As the last remaining garden mosque of the 18th century, Schwetzingen mosque bears unique witness to the prevailing interest in the Arab world at the time. Since the building was not built for practising a religion however, it primarily symbolizes the tolerance of the enlightened commissioner of buildings Carl Theodor. Reference to different religions are intended to encourage visitors to contemplation.