Just like the mausoleum on my hometown's old cemetery is a monument to friendship, the building on the hill is a monument to love.
It is a sepulchral chapel, built between 1820 and 1824 by King Wilhelm I in memory of his beloved wife Katharina. Of course, the location was no coincidence: The top of the hill with beautiful views of the river Neckar's valley was one of Queen Katharina's favourite spots. Also, being King and Queen of Württemberg, the couple felt a close connection to the place, as on this very hill the original House of Württemberg once stood.
|View from the chapel.|
|This is in the middle of the floor, separating the ground floor from the underground room where the coffins and busts are.|
|The same grill, seen from underneath.|
|Behind these doors is the altar. The chapel is still used for Russian-Orthodox services.|
|Statues of the four Evangelists Luke, Matthew, Marc and John adorn the chapel. As you probably know, each of them has their own symbol. The lion is Mark's.|
|Busts of Katharina and Wilhelm are placed near their tombs.|
|Other kings of Wuerttemberg (Wilhelm's family).|
Katharina, daughter of the Russian Tsar Paul, was actually Wilhelm's cousin. She was his second wife and had two daughters with him, Marie and Sophie. They married in 1816, and only three years later, Katharina died - she was 31 years old.
Her husband must have felt responsible for her death, as it was his affair with an Italian noble lady who made her rush after the two (or away from them - sources differ) in a carriage, wearing only a thin dress in spite of it being January and very cold. She caught a bad feverish cold, made worse by an infection she had been suffering from since November, and died a few days later.
Maybe he really did love her as much as he professed, but not enough to stop him having affairs. Anyway, he had the chapel built, with the words "Die Liebe höret nimmer auf" above the entrance: "Love never ends".
When Wilhelm died in 1864, his coffin was placed next to Katharina's, in spite of him having remarried a year later (another cousin of his, Pauline).
Their first daughter, Marie, was put to rest there as well.
There's certainly enough drama in the lives of this couple - and everyone else in their families - for a few books and even films, but as far as I know, nobody has ever turned their stories into a film. It is sad to think of them, as they had everything they would nave needed to be happy, but somehow never really seem to have found happiness.