The first fortified structure in this place dates back to the 10th century. When excavations were done in the courtyard of the palace in 2014, remnants of a wall built in 965 were discovered; these can today be seen under glass. From the 14th century on, the castle island was in the hands of the dukes of Mecklenburg, many of whom added details to existing structures or commissioned new ones. In the early 17th century, there were plans to build a palace in Dutch style, but they were interrupted by the outbreak of the Thirty Years War. In the 18th century, a gallery building to host the duke’s paintings collection was constructed. Finally Grand Duke Paul Frederick and his successor, Frederick Francis II, commissioned an entirely new structure. Work was begun by royal architect Demmler, but when he quit service in 1851, his successor named Stüler completed the building, working in some ideas of his own such as the equestrian sculpture in the facade structure and the large golden dome. The new Palace was ceremonially opened in 1857.
In December 1913, the structure fell victim to a large fire that destroyed large parts of the structure. Reconstruction works were hindered by World War I and when the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin stepped down in the German Revolution of 1918, the majestic palace began serving in new capacities. From then on, it hosted several museums and when the Nazis seized power, it was even in parts used as a kindergarden. After the war, the Soviet occupation forces used the palace for administrative purposes.
After Germany’s reunification in 1990, the palace became the seat of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern parliament. In 2009, the German National Garden Show took place around the palace, for which large parts of the historical gardens were renovated or restructured. In 2014, the state government and the Schwerin city council started the application process to have the palace listed as a World Heritage Site.
Visitors today can discover the beautiful palace gardens, notable sculptures and architectural details and walk around the palace. Inside, there is the Palace Museum covering three stories, exhibiting many of the historic treasures that have been collected over the centuries. Even more can be discovered in guided tours that are offered on the weekends from April to November upon advance reservation.
Museum opening times Tuesday-Sunday 10 am - 5 pm, until 6 pm from April to October. Parking garage near the Palace available