On 09.01.1819 Queen Catharina Pavlovna, of Russia, née Grand Duchess of Russia died at the age of only 30. Because she once had said that she would like to be buried on the Württemberg, her widower King Wuilhelm I. decided to demolish the ruins of the ancestral Family Castle there and build a Burial Chapel for her. He worte out a competition for the construction of the Chapel and finally chose the design of the court architect Giovanni Salucci. Under the influence of the ancient Pantheon in Rome, Salucci created a round building of local sandstone with three column porticoes and freestreads. The domed interior, with its colossal statues of the four evangelists, testifies to the strict neoclassical taste of the time.
Because Queen Catharina was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church the chapel therefore followed the requirements of a Russian Orthodox church: It is divided into an antechamber, a main room and an altar room, the most holy. This is separated by an elaborately designed picture wall, the so-called iconostasis. The Chapel served from 1825 to 1899 as a Russian-Orthodox church. To this day, a Russian-Orthodox worship service is celebrated every year at Whitsun in memory of Queen.Catharina.
Below is the Crypt which can be reached over a narrow staircase. It is a round central space with four cross arms. The sarcophagus of Queen Qatharina and King Wilhelm I., a narrow side facing the middle of the room, stands in the eastern cross. Beside the royal parish, the common daughter Princess Mari, Countess of Neipperg has been buried in the Crypt.since 1887.Her sarcophagus is located in the southern cross. As it was the wish of King Wilhelm I. that only descendants of him and Catharins should be buired in the Chapel there are only 3 persons buired there as their other daughter Sophie, Queen of the Netherlands and her 3 sons are buried in the burial side of the dutch Royal Family in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft. Busts of King Wilhelm and Queen Catharina and the three other King’s of Württemberg Friedrich, Karl and Wilhelm II. stand in the northern cross.