The ancestral seat of the counts and princes of Schwarzburg – Schwarzburg Palace – had fallen victim to a fire in 1695. The subsequent reconstruction and redesign of the castle grounds also affected the area around today's Emperor's Hall building on the terrace of the mountain spur dominating the landscape. A garden or summer house was built here, which gained renewed importance following the elevation of the counts of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt to the rank of imperial princes in 1710. The imperial hall was finally completed in 1719.
On January 10th in the year 1695, a fire destroyed parts of the castle complex. The subsequent construction and reconstruction work under Count Albert Anton of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt also affected the area around today's Kaisersaal building. On the area at the end of the mountain spur, to the south, a three-part pavilion group, the so-called garden house, was built. In 1704 the extension of the main building was completed. Between the garden house and the main building there was now a 43-metre-long connecting passage, later known as the »Kaisersaal-Gallerie«. This corridor, which was primarily used for weather protection, connected the first floor of the main building with that of the Emperor' s Hall building, thus the stately living rooms with the garden hall. In 1940/1941 the Kaisersaal-Galerie was demolished.
With the elevation of the Schwarzburgian counts to the Reichsfürstenstand (Imperial prince) in 1710, the garden house became the focus of further renovation work. Between 1713 and 1719 the building received its pictorial expression in the imposing Kaisersaal (Emperor Hall) above the garden hall on the ground floor and thus the still characteristic roof structure with lantern. The central part of the building was highlighted not only by the roof structure, but also by its two-storey front with triangular gable, while the side wings with mansard roof tended to step back. The Emperor Hall, which served as a hall of fame and ancestral hall of the Schwarzburgian dynasty, shows imperial portraits of the Holy Roman Empire from Gaius Julius Caesar to Charles VI, as well as the Roman-German King Günther XXI, Count of Schwarzburg-Arnstadt (1304 - 1349), who reigned for only seven months as ancestors of the House of Schwarzburg. Of the original 48 life-size depictions some have been lost during the reconstruction in 1870/71 and interventions since 1940. Since then, the paintings in the third, topmost row have been missing. The picture program is crowned by a ceiling painting in the light-flooded dome area of the lantern, which refers to the founding legend of the House of Schwarzburg and thus to the time-honored ancestry of the Roman dynasty as well as to the service for emperor and empire. Reforms of the 19th century and renovations of the 20th century have destroyed evidence of the initial design of the walls of the Emperor Hall, so that no further statement can be made here. An excerpt from the inventory of Schwarzburg Castle from 1723 gives a small insight into the furnishing.
Schwartzburg. Inventory Anno 1723
In the Emperor Hall
In which all Roman Emperor from Julio Cesare painted as 48 in life size on canvas and 100 heads painted in fresco. Four ground double doors with English locks / One part of a three-piece taffle / An oval taffle on which an oval rug of green cloth / A leather blanket / Sixteen chairs covered with green cloth / Six windows with 4 wings and black fittings / Twelve windows without wings at the upper outer gallery / (...)
In the southernmost part of the spur, the castle garden with the size of about half a hectare is located, directly in front of the Emperor's Hall building. The creation of the garden originates in the time after the fire of 1695. Based on bills and inventory entries, it can be seen that water features had been arranged, pathways had been laid out, and sculptures had been erected. But from 1787 onward, the garden was privately leased and became visibly unkempt. Through the initiative of the castle captain Holleben in 1825/26, the Baroque gardens were restored, but it eventually dissolved over the course of the 19th century. In 1892, a tennis court was built in front of the Emperor’s Hall, which continued to exist in this form until 1905, when a large lawn was laid out.
Diary 1901 (Anna Luise of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt)
The ground floor of the Kaisersaalgebäude was used as a greenhouse or orangery for the hibernation of exotic pot plants which could not endure the winter weather, of which citruses were particularly popular in the 18th century, not least for their connections to mythology. On the upper floor, on the same level as the Emperor’s Hall, the princely apartments were located on the side wings. In 1776, the West wing, most likely originally the princely apartment, had to be demolished for statistical reasons. The East Wing, with the Princess’s apartment, also housed a picture gallery, a hall of mirrors, and a room with Japanese varnished wallpapers. Around 1870/71, the Baroque furnishings of the Emperor’s Hall were replaced with a new programme. But by 1940, the furnishings had already been widely destroyed.
In tandem with the restoration of the Emperor’s Hall, the horticultural environment was remodeled. Upper plantations were removed and the garden setting was restored in reminiscence of the 18th century. Thus the motif of the crossroads can be found again, albeit without a central fountain. In 2000, besides the renovation of the terrace supporting walls, a revision of the castle garden could be attained, to make the connection between the building and the gardens on the basis of the Baroque garden plan of 1744 and 1825 tangible once again.