Close to Home: Bad Muskau

November 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

 

Bad Muskau in Saxony

 

 

Prince Pückler-Muskau (German = Fürst; not from a royal family, but formally ruler of the Principality of Muskau), already in his times an exceptional appearance, was unorthodox, eccentric and unadapted to aristocratic society. In a way he was a revolutionary libertine, politically left-leaning, but also slightly arrogant, narcissistic and with his head in the clouds of his own version of Neverland. In todays terms he would be described as a globe-trotting, jet-setting playboy, yet very educated, mostly down-to-earth and never afraid of getting in touch with commons. He is best known for his famous park in Bad Muskau which he created in his capacity as the most gifted landscape architect outside of England. In Germany most people will also know Fürst Pückler Ice Cream, not created by him, but in honor of him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two major traits of his vision were tidiness in a surrounding as natural as possible,

and long vistas from certain points to others.

 

 

 

 

A mighty trunk that may have been standing in his lifetime.

 

 

 

 

Apart from creating artificial ponds, streams and cascades, he also integrated bridges and paths. Hundreds of gardeners and laborers worked for years, and often enough he would join them when he was around. But as a professional traveler he was absent for long periods of time. On one of his travels to England and Ireland he was shocked to see some of the consequences that absenteeism could bring. Royals and nobles neglecting and ignoring large swaths of land belonging to them, yet not letting locals cultivate it for common good. This resulted in catastrophic living conditions for great parts of the rural population. Being an absentee himself, he gave it a lot of thought, trying not to let it come so far in his principality.

 

 

 

 

Poland here, Germany there - nowadays the park is divided into the German part with the castles and the main part of town, and the Polish part with the bigger section of the park. Due to cold war neglect the Polish side was involuntarily renaturized and therefore has a wilder feeling to it. But being part of the cross-border park project things are getting to where Pückler would have wanted them to be.

 

 

 

 

Reminder of times when the border used to be a stricter concept. No admittance to the Neisse River valley path.

 

 

 

 

This is the border. Germany to the left, Poland to the right of the Neisse River.

Two bridges allow cross-border hikes through the park.

 

 

 

 

 

The older and smaller castle being dwarfed by a tower of the larger and newer castle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit away from the castle are the former service buildings and stables.

Today there are cafés, shops and vacation rentals.

 

 

 

 

Time flies.

 

 

 

 

Germany Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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