Palace Church of the Holy Cross
Rastatt's finest, most interesting and most valuable church has to be classified as Off the beaten path because it is hardly ever open to visitors. The delicate interior is in need of restoration and is thus shut away. I once had the chance to see it during a convention of art historians that took place in the palace. Apologies for the bad quality of the interior photos - it was rather dark inside and flash was forbidden altogether, only extensive photoshopping made details at least visible.
Margravine Sibylla Augusta, who had the church built, was both a lively baroque princess and a devoted catholic. From time to time she withdraw from the court for a while to undergo repentance and prayer. Her palace church, which also became her burial place, was directly connected to her living quarters.
The church was designed by court architect Johann Michael Ludwig Rohrer and built in 1720-1723. The most precious materials were used for all parts of the interior. A private chapel for sacred relics and a Scala Sancta, a sacred staircase according to the model in Rome, are connected with it. The ceiling fresco of the church depicts the legend of the Finding of the Cross by Empress Helena in the 4th century - pious Sibylla Augusta had herself portrayed as Saint Helena.
The original interior is completely preserved, including the embroidered tapestries still in situ on the walls and pillars.