Current Research Project

Marbach State Stud - Investigations in Architectural History and Cultural Landscape


With more than 500 years of history the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Stud of Marbach is one of the oldest horse breeding institutions of Europe. The first written record dates back to 1514. The stud was established by the dukes of Wuerttemberg as their court stud to provide a stimulus for the improvement of horse breeding in the dukedom. It is located in the south-west of Germany and is part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve for the Swabian Alps. Marbach includes 960 hectares of land, three stud yards and four satellite farms. Two of them have developed from secularised monasteries.

Generations of horses in their interaction with mankind have shaped the scenery and thereby formed a unique cultural landscape. The spacious stud premises, from administration and residential buildings, stables, barns, historic riding arenas to simple houses for herders at the remote summer stables, are registered as monuments as well as alleys, groups of trees, wells, bridges and open spaces. The architectural heritage is diverse. The origins of some buildings date back to the 16th century, but structures of the 19th century predominate.


During the second half of the 20th century extensive construction works changed the face of Marbach and at the beginning of the 21st century a master plan was developed in order to improve the infrastructure for the growing tasks in the fields of education, events and tourism. Different new structures and building alterations have already been realised, others are still in preparation. 


Every development implies an intervention in the mature cultural landscape. Careful planning based on knowledge and understanding is essential to find adequate solutions. So far scientific work in connection with the stud has focused mainly on aspects of hoses breeding and agriculture while the history of the stud premises lies largely in the dark. The objective of the dissertation project is to shed light on the historic connections within the Marbach cultural landscape and to explain its significance to lead to a better understanding for the future handling of this unique heritage.


The dissertation project is supervised by Prof. Dr. phil. Leo Schmidt at the Cultural Heritage Centre of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg.