The Moorish Style

King Wilhelm I of Württemberg contracted his architect Karl Ludwig von Zanth in 1837 to design buildings in the Moorish style for his gardens, which were to be called Wlhelma.

Priority was not to lie in implementing the regularity of the true oriental-Islamic art of construction. The idea was simply to lend an oriental flair to the garden with the help of this building style. Fountains and water features underline the placid serenity of this mood. In the middle of the 19th century the mention of an oriental garden always conjured up visions of elegance, luxury, colourful brilliance, seduction and lascivious eroticism.

The term "Moorish style" or "Moorish art" stems from the Moors, people from North West Africa. The Moorish style reached its zenith between the 12th and 15th centuries in Spain and North Africa. One of the most important examples is the Alhambra in Granada (Spain), built in 1492. This is why Wilhelma is also known as the Alhambra on the R. Neckar. Many other buildings that were constructed around the same time, synagogues in Berlin and Vienna, for example, were also built in the Moorish style.

The royal architect von Zanth planned and built all of the buildings at Wilhelma, with the exception of the Damascene Hall, which was not constructed until after his death.