The Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm (English Grounds of Wörlitz) in Saxony-Anhalt

Saturday, 27 October 2012 - 01:18 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Wörlitz - Rock island Stein and Villa Hamilton © Matthias Seifert

Wörlitz – Rock island Stein and Villa Hamilton © Matthias Seifert

The DessauWörlitz Garden Realm, also known as the English Grounds of Wörlitz, is one of the first and largest English parks in Germany and continental Europe. It was created in the late 18th century under the regency of Duke Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817), returning from a Grand Tour to Italy, the Netherlands, England, France and Switzerland he had undertaken together with his friend architect Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff. Both strongly influenced by the ideals of The Enlightenment, they aimed to overcome the formal garden concept of the Baroque era in favour of a naturalistic landscape as they had seen at Stourhead Gardens and Ermenonville. Today the cultural landscape of Dessau-Wörlitz encompasses an area of 142 km2 (55 sq mi) within the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.

Minor structures of the Garden Realm, stretching for some 25 km, had far-reaching ramifications in architecture of Central Europe. The “Gothic House”, started by Erdmannsdorff in 1774, modelled on the villa of Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, was one of the first Neo Gothic structures on the continent. The park also features replicas of Roman temples, including the Pantheon built in 1795. In the early years of the following century, the landscape was enriched with the Neo Gothic churches in the neighbouring villages of Riesigk (1800) and Vockerode (1811).

Georgium Palace © Doris Antony - GFDL/CC-BY-SA-2.5 Großkühnau Palace © M_H.DE - CC-BY-SA-3.0 Mosigkau Palace © Unify Oranienbaum Palace © Martin8721 Wörlitz Park - Palm House © H.-U. Küenle - CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wörlitz Palace © Nikater - CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wörlitz Park - Gothic House © Erbanor Wörlitz Park - Venus Temple © Jazz-face Wörlitz - Rock island Stein and Villa Hamilton © Matthias Seifert
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Wörlitz - Rock island Stein and Villa Hamilton © Matthias Seifert
The central Wörlitzer Park lies adjacent to the small town of Wörlitz at an anabranch of the Elbe river, making it rich in water and diversity. It was laid out between 1769 and 1773 as one of the first English gardens on the continent. According to the ideals of Duke Leopold III the park would also serve as an educational institution in architecture, gardening and agriculture, therefore large parts were open to the public from the beginning. Most buildings were designed by Erdmannsdorff, while the gardens were laid out by Johann Friedrich Eyserbeck (1734-1818). The gardens are protected from floods of the Elbe river in the north by a dam which is also a belt-walk offering numerous views along the park’s sight lines.

Wörlitz Palace finished in 1773, residence of Duke Leopold and his wife Louise of Brandenburg-Schwedt, was the first Neoclassical building in present-day Germany. The palace and its interior with valuable cabinets from the studio of Abraham and David Roentgen as well as a large collection of Wedgwood porcelain were publicly accessible. Louise had her private home in the adjacent Graues Haus (Grey House). At the eastern rim of the palace’s garden stands the Wörlitz Synagogue built in 1790 as a rotunda modelled after the ancient Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. The building expressing Leopold’s religious tolerance was saved from demolition in the 1938 “Kristallnacht” pogrom by the custodian of the park, who thereupon lost his employment. The Neo-Gothic St Peter’s Church in the west with its 66 m (217 ft) tall steeple was finished in 1809.

Read more on Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm and Wikipedia Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm. Fotos von Wikipedia Commons.




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