RUDOLSTADT, a town of Germany, capital of the principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, and the chief residence of the prince, lies on the left bank of the Saale, 18 m. S.W. of Jena, by the railway Grossheringen-Saalfeld, in one of the most beautiful districts of Thuringia. Pop. (1905) 12,494. The picturesque town is a favourite tourist resort. Besides containing the government buildings of the little principality, Rudolstadt is well provided with schools and other institutions, including a library of 65,000 volumes. The residence of the prince is the Heidecksburg, a palace on an eminence 200 ft. above the Saale, which was rebuilt after a fire in 1735, and contains a picture gallery, a magnificent banqueting hall and a library. The Ludwigsburg, another palace in the town, built in 1 742, accommodates the natural history collections belonging to the prince. The principal church dates from the end of the i 5th century and contains tombs and effigies of many former princes. In the Anger, a public park between the town and the river, is the theatre. The Rudolsbad a handsome hydropathic establishment with a richly decorated interior lying amidst extensive grounds, is also noticeable. Various memorials in and near the town commemorate the visits of Schiller to the neighbourhood in 1787 and 1788. The industries of the place include the manufacture of porcelain, chocolate and dyestuffs, wool-spinning and bell-founding.
The name of Rudolstadt occurs in an inventory of the possessions of the abbey of Hersfeld in the year 800. After passing into the possession of the German kings and then of the rulers of Orlamiinde and of Weimar, it came into the hands of the counts of Schwarzburg in 1335. Its civic rights were confirmed in 1404, and since 1599 it has been the residence of the ruling house of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.
See Renovanz, Chronik von Rudolstadt (Rudolstadt, 1860); Anemiiller, Geschichtsbilder aus der Vergangenheit Rudolstadts (Rudolstadt, 1888); and Woerl, Rudolstadt (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1890).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)