Work on Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach's new residence, "Carols Ruh", in the middle of the forest began on 17 June 1715. What was initially planned as a summer residence soon became the first and central building of the new town of Karlsruhe.
Karlsruhe's palace was built between 1715 and 1718. For almost 200 years it served as the residence and seat of government of the margraves, the electoral princes and grand dukes of Baden.
The palace was given its present baroque appearance in the second half of the 18th century after conversion work and extensions. These can be traced back to the plans of Balthasar Neumann, realised by the architect Albrecht Friedrich von Kesslau, who at that time was building director for the Baden royal court, and by his successor, Wilhelm Jeremias Müller. It was Müller who connected the tower, which had originally stood alone, to the central section of the building and crowned it with its characteristic dome.
Karlsruhe palace is at the hub of 32 avenues radiating outwards to form Karlsruhe's iconic layout, the so-called "Fächer", or fan. The history of the city and its architecture is concentrated along the "via Triumphalis", the central axis of the "rays" emanating from the residence. The unique regularity and symmetry can best be seen from the top of the palace tower.
It has been home to the Baden State Museum (Badisches Landesmuseum) since 1921. Large parts of the bulding were destroyed by incendiary bombs in September 1944. When it was to be rebuilt, however, the decision was made to reconstruct only the exterior in the historically correct design. The interior was modified to suit the requirements of a modern museum.
The Badische Landesmuseum is one of the most active cultural history museums in Germany. It presents art and historical living environments from pre- and early history, ancient cultures, the Middle Ages, the baroque period and into the 21st century.