A residence city is a city that is the seat of a ruler.

The concept

The term derives from residence, latin Residentia to residere, sit down, settle down, to live ', (English Residence, French Résidence ) from, the seat of spiritual or secular ruler, originally selected by a ruler permanent representative residence (castle, castle, palace).

Residence towns were or are common in all cultures, from Rome to Constantinople Opel / Byzantium, Baghdad to the Emperor cities in China and Edo and Tokyo in Japan, and cities such as Tenochtitlan in the new world. These were mostly the residence of the dynasty, but were taken over on acquisition or conquest of the kingdom by the new rulers to express legality and continuity, as well as a newly acquired higher rank. The relocation of the residence of an empire was - except in ancient China, where the religious motivation had - mostly a matter of down step-up hierarchy of territories in a realm.

In the European Middle Ages draws a ruler, primarily depending on the political or economic necessity, of a raised hide ( castles strategically scenic location ) to another, and keeps on site, farm ' (Pfalz beings ) - initially literally in the courtyard. Here gathered the vassals and estates of the region, tributes and taxes accepts ( tithe ), speaks right, says contracts ( regalia ) and makes other official acts, to then move on. Thus, about the Roman German Emperor to the end of the Middle Ages no " permanent resident ", but infuses permanently round the kingdom.

With the advent of urban cultural centers, and the formation of the main locations of a region, the nobles are moving their headquarters in the city ( castle, usually - depending on the climate - the Winter Palace '), remain the old residences as a summer residence ( country house, hunting lodge and the like). This creates from the early modern period in northern Europe capitals of the territories within the meaning of the term today, with a permanent royal household.

The new urban residences were mostly in the old medieval main strongholds of the city ( Holy Roman Empire: Prague Castle in Prague, Vienna ( yard ) Castle; France: Louvre), or the inner-city palace ( townhouses ) the Renaissance, since the Baroque and but the increasing agreement of the city fortifications after the Thirty Years' War prevail to escape the confines and also the dirt of the cities, start-ups outside of the suburbs before, or are suburban agriculture and economy seats converted into government and representation centers ( France: Palace of Versailles in Paris, United Kingdom: Windsor, near London, St. Roman Empire: Schönbrunn in Vienna, Prussia Potsdam near Berlin). This is followed by the gentry of the country towns, the need to relocate far less, so that the typical " city palace" arise within the meaning of the central building of the city.

In classical residence was clenched at the expense of the rest of the nobility owning the intellectual and economic potential of the dominions. Newly proclaimed residence towns were often created or expanded as a planned city. The architecture former residence cities is often characterized by its function as a representative residence of the ruler ( representational architecture, magnificent buildings ).

List of major residential cities


  • Aachen, with the under Charlemagne built palace complex probably the most important Carolingian residence
  • Altenburg, capital of the Duchy of Saxony- Altenburg (1603-1672 and 1826-1918)
  • (From 1288 preferred officially from 1597 to 1794) Bonn, the seat of the Electors of the Electorate of Cologne
  • Bartenstein ( Schrozberg ), probably the smallest -scale planned, pure baroque and self-contained residential town with castle in Germany
  • Braunschweig, residence of the dukes of Saxony ( 1142-1195 to ), the Principality of Brunswick- Wolfenbüttel ( 1267/1269-1430, 1753-1807 ) and the Duchy of Brunswick ( 1814-1918 )
  • Wroclaw, seat of the Kings of Prussia (1741-1918)
  • Biickeburg, seat of the Counts and Princes of Schaumburg -Lippe (1647-1918)
  • Celle, seat of the Dukes of the Principality of Lüneburg (1433-1705)
  • Coburg, residence of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the Coburg dukes, officially until 1920
  • Darmstadt, seat of the Landgrave of Hesse -Darmstadt (1567-1806) and the Grand Dukes of Hesse (1806-1918)
  • Dessau, home of the Prince of Anhalt -Dessau (1396-1918)
  • Detmold, the seat of the Imperial Count and Prince of Lippe (1528-1918)
  • Diez, seat of the Counts of Nassau- Diez
  • Dresden, the seat of the Electors and Kings of Saxony (1485-1918)
  • Dusseldorf, seat of the Dukes of Jülich- Berg ( from about 1380 ), of the Dukes of Jülich -Cleves - Berg ( 1521-1609 ), Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm ( 1614-1653 ), the Elector Palatine Philip William ( 1653-1690 ) and Johann Wilhelm (1690-1716) and the Grand Dukes of Berg (1806-1813)
  • Eisenach, capital of Saxony- Eisenach until 1741, after which a secondary residence of Saxe- Weimar -Eisenach until 1918
  • Gera, capital of the principality of Reuss younger line (1564-1802 and 1848-1918)
  • Gotha, seat of the Dukes of Saxe- Gotha ( from 1640, since 1826 in personal union with Saxe-Coburg )
  • Greiz, seat of the counts and princes of Reuss (1306-1918)
  • Hall, seat of the archbishops of Magdeburg and its administrators 1152-1680
  • Hanover, the seat of the Principality of Calenberg -Göttingen (1636-1692), of the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1692-1814) and the Kingdom of Hanover (1814-1866) [Note 1]
  • Heidelberg, seat of the Elector Palatine to 1720
  • Hildburghausen, seat of the Dukes of Saxe- Hildburghausen (1680-1826, residence from 1684)
  • Itzehoe, seat of the Counts of Holstein- Itzehoe (1261-1290)
  • Karlsruhe, newly founded in 1715, the residence of the Margraviate of Baden -Durlach, from 1771 the Margraviate of Baden, from 1806 to 1918 the Grand Duchy of Baden
  • Kassel, home of the Landgrave of Hesse -Kassel (1567-1803) and the Elector of Hesse (1803-1866)
  • Koblenz- Ehrenbreitstein seat of the Electors of Trier (1629-1786)
  • Cologne, since the Merovingian period residence, later the seat of the Elector of Cologne (1151-1801)
  • Königsberg ( Prussia), the seat of the Electors and Kings in / of Prussia
  • Ludwigsburg, newly founded in the 18th century, alternating with Stuttgart residence of Württemberg
  • Lüneburg, seat of the Dukes of the Principality of Lüneburg (1269-1378)
  • Mainz, the seat of the Elector of Mainz until 1792
  • Mannheim, the seat of the Elector Palatine to 1778
  • Meiningen, seat of the Dukes of Saxe- Meiningen ( including Duke Georg II. / Theatre Reform) ( 1680-1918 )
  • Munich, seat of the Roman- German Emperor (1328-1347) and the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings (1504-1918)
  • Oldenburg ( Oldenburg), seat of the Earls (up to 1667), dukes ( 1774-1810 ) and Grand Dukes ( 1815-1918 ) of Oldenburg
  • Plon, seat of the Dukes of Schleswig -Holstein -Sonderburg- Plön (1561-1761)
  • Poses, seat of the German Emperor and King of Prussia as Grand Duke of Posen (1910-1918)
  • Potsdam, home of the Kings of Prussia (1701-1918), seat of the German emperor from 1871-1918
  • Rastatt, oldest baroque residence on the Upper Rhine, systematically developed and 1705-1771 residence of the Margraviate of Baden -Baden
  • Rudolstadt, residence of the prince tower Schwarzburg -Rudolstadt (1599-1918)
  • Schleswig, seat of the Dukes of Schleswig and the Dukes of Schleswig -Holstein - Gottorp (1119-1864)
  • Special Hausen, capital of Prince Tower Black -Sonderhausen (1599-1918)
  • Stuttgart, home of the Counts (12th century - 1495 ), then the Dukes ( 1495-1806 ) and of the kings of Württemberg ( 1806-1918 )
  • Trier, the seat of the Electors of Trier before 1629 and from 1786 to 1815
  • Weilburg, seat of the counts, princes and dukes of Nassau- Weilburg and later the Duchy of Nassau
  • Weimar, seat of the Dukes of Saxe- Weimar, later of Saxe- Weimar -Eisenach (1552-1918)
  • Wiesbaden- Biebrich, seat of the Dukes of Nassau (1744-1866)
  • Wolfenbüttel, seat of the Dukes of the Principality of Brunswick- Wolfenbüttel (1430-1753)
  • Würzburg, UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the prince-bishops of Würzburg ( 1720 )
  • Two bridges, seat of the Dukes of Pfalz- Zweibrücken (1470-1793)


  • Vienna, the seat of the Roman- German Emperor (1278-1806, with interruptions), the Emperor of Austria (1804-1867, 1867-1918), the Apostolic King of Hungary (1867-1918), as well as the ore dukes of Austria.
  • Graz, residential city of Inner Austria ( until 1619).
  • Innsbruck, residence of Maximilian I, as well as residence city of Upper Austria (in the sense of Tyrol and forelands, 1410-1665 ).
  • Salzburg, the residence of the prince-archbishops, then shortly Elector seat ( 1803-1806 ).
  • Steyr, seat of the Dukes of Austria under Babenberg rule.


  • Versailles, the seat of the French kings.


  • Cetinje, the tiny capital of the Kingdom of Montenegro (1878 to 25 January 1916) was the royal residence and throne city.


  • Douala, residence of the royal family Douala - Bell.
  • Foumban, seat of the king of Bamun.


  • Thebes, former capital of ancient Egypt.