Muskauer Park

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Muskauer Park
Muskauer Park

[ source: Wikipedia]

One of the most famous landscape parks in Central Europe can be found in an out-of-the-way corner of northern Saxony. The Muskauer Park is an English style landscape park, and it is today located in both Poland and Germany. Things were not always this way, though. The Muskauer Park was built by Prince Hermann von Pueckler-Muskau on his ancestral estate in the long-vanished state of Silesia. In 2004, the park's importance was recognized in its listing on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The genesis of the park began in the 1810s, when Pueckler visited England for a prolonged period, dabbling in English high society and making a careful study of stately English parks and gardens, especially those designed by Humphrey Repton. Upon his return to Muskau, Pueckler formulated a new design for his estate and began to implement his plan in 1815. His work with the landscape here in Muskau would not end for another 30 years.

On his estate, Pueckler introduced a new concept of early regional planning by incorporating the town of Bad Muskau (Bad Muskau vacation rentals | Bad Muskau travel guide) into his plan. The work in the Muskauer Park entailed, among other things, the renovation of the "Old Castle," the creation of a more ornate "New Castle," and the introduction of smaller architectural elements, such as bridges, an English cottage, an orangery, and a Gothic chapel. Due to the enormous debts he incurred through his extensive park work, Pueckler sold his estate at Muskau in 1845; however, his vision for the park continued under subsequent gardeners and designers. At the end of World War II, much of the park, including all four bridges over the Neisse River and both castles, were destroyed through arson and fighting. In the immediate post-war years, the owners at this time, the Arnims, were dispossessed by the new socialist government of East Germany, and the park was divided by the new alignment of the Polish-Germany border along the Neisse River, which once ran through the center of the park.

Pueckler himself is a varied and complicated figure. He is considered one of the most important German landscape designers, but he was also an adventurer, a dandy, and a popular travel writer. Pueckler traveled extensively in both Europe and Africa, and he was known for both his extravagant lifestyle and his unusual behavior. For example, he purchased a slave girl at the slave market in Cairo, and returned with her to Europe, where he introduced her to European high society in Vienna. Pueckler was a keen observer of society and of the landscapes he encountered. He achieved popularity with his 4-volume Briefe eines Verstorbenen (1830-31), which documented his travels throughout and observations of Britain. However, it is his book on landscape design, Andeutungen ueber Landschaftsgaertnerei (1834), that has made him a significant figure in the world of landscape architecture.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Hermannsbad 9, 02953 Bad Muskau, Germany

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