the baroque period

from a stronghold to a residence

When Count Heinrich Trajektin died in 1693 without descendants in the battle of Neerwinden (Belgium) his cousin Count Wilhelm Moritz zu Solms-Greifenstein (* 1651) succeeded him in the possession and shifted his residence to Braunfels. He was married to Magdalena Sophia, daughter of the Landgrave of Hessen-Homburg. Under Wilhelm Moritz’ very creative reign the castle undoubtly witnessed the most extensive expansions and modifications in its history (marked yellow in the drawing). First Wilhelm Moritz completed the reconstruction of the castle, which was severely damaged by a fire in 1679. Later (1696) he created the inner courtyard (1) patterned like a chessboard, and in 1700 he expanded the so-called Ottonische Bau (2). In 1704 he created the Braunfelser Tiergarten. The Cabinettsbau (3), former bakery, brewery and administration (today Café), was increased and completed in 1712. In addition, Wilhelm Moritz created the Lange Bau (4) and the Entréebau (5) and extended it towards the West with the Prinz-Albrecht-Bau (6) to provide more living space for the growing family.

Finally, as completion of the inner ring, the Weedenbau (7) was built 1717, which still has preserved its baroque architecture. The plan to change the castle into a magnificent baroque residence with a huge glass dome, fortunately was not executed – the dome would certainly have caused abundant grief.
But Wilhelm Moritz not only is pompous. As regent he did a lot for his county, promoted the economic, founded ironworks and factories. He also settled foreign manufacturers, retailers and craftsmen – especially Huguenots – in the county. He initiated the formation of guilds for tailors, bakers, coopers, brewers and sheepherders. Last but not least Braunfels owes him its beautiful pictureque marketplace.

On February 9, 1724 Wilhelm Moritz died at the age of 73 years.

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