Station: [3] Tiergartenmühlgasse

There they are, nicely lined up in sequence: Palais Wunderlich’s impressive main building, its lower west wing and the wall that runs along the adjoining garden. Until the end of the 19th century, the property even included two buildings behind the present site. The building at right angles to the road, and the low factory building. It’s now decorated with a colourful mural that you can view at the end of the alley.

The records show that little Tiergartenmühlgasse has been as straight as a die since the Middle Ages. It originally led to a water mill that stood on Neue Schutter – on the site where the music school is now. Beyond that was the "Tiergarten”, a preserve where members of the local nobility had kept and hunted game since medieval times.

But back to Palais Wunderlich: its walls are made of reddish sandstone, which supported half-timbered features in many places. The sandstone, quarried at nearby Kuhbach, is extremely hard and weather-resistant – a stroke of luck for the old building. However, the previous owners were ill-advised. In keeping with the fashion of the day, they had the sandstone painted and thus sealed. The result was a damp problem in the masonry, which they tried to treat by drilling holes in the stone. The layers of paint were only stripped during the refurbishment from 2016 onwards. Now, the old walls can breathe again.

That refurbishment also involved building an underground car park beneath the mansion. You’ll find the entrance at the point where west wing begins.

If you take a few more steps along the alley, you’ll come across a vertical seam in the masonry, just before you reach a bricked-up doorway. It marks the end of the west wing built by Carl Ludwig Wunderlich. The extension was constructed by a subsequent owner, the cigar manufacturer Adolf Friedrich Bader.

Now, take a few more steps and then look up. About three metres or ten feet off the ground, there are two small loopholes. However, they’re not associated with warfare or a siege, but purely to do with household matters and the keeping of animals. They were windows that provided ventilation for the stable beyond.

Feel free to walk all the way along Tiergartenmühlgasse so you can see how far down the site reaches. Roughly half way along the garden wall, you’ll come across an old street light that was incorporated into the masonry. With a little imagination, you can still picture a bright glass orb on top of the metal pole.

All depictions: © Palais Wunderlich