Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz
Visit this almost limitless picturesque and peaceful landscape with an incredible amount of attractions that are worth exploring. The 18th century Garden Kingdom of Dessau Wörlitz unites garden design and architecture to create a naturalistic answer to the more polished French gardens. There are manor houses, more than 100 buildings of varying sizes and a range of sweeping parks and gardens, on this sprawling area of 140 square kilometres on and around the banks of the rivers Elbe and Mulde.
The garden kingdom was conceived of by Prince Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau in the late 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment. The prince had just returned from a grand tour of Europe with an architect friend. He was inspired by what he had seen across the continent and his vision was to integrate art, education and economy throughout the landscape in a harmonious way. Reflecting prevailing attitudes of the day, many of the structures and statues were designed for the moral improvement of the viewer. Wörlitz House, mainland Europe's first ever classical building, was built in the centre of Wörlitz Park between 1769 and 1773. For a period of over 40 years, other manor houses and parks were built in and around Dessau. These include Georgium Palace, Luisium Palace, Wörlitz Park and the wooded park on Sieglitzer Berg, as well as Kühnau Park, which represented the culmination of this phase in 1805.
Today's landscape resembles an open-air architecture museum covering the period from antiquity to the modern era. Numerous tree-lined avenues, dyke paths and sightlines link the individual gardens and parks, making a seemingly boundless area of natural and architectural beauty. Explore this Garden Kingdom at your leisure on foot or by bike, taking in the idyllic countryside and grand houses in the area. Highlights include the Dutch-inspired Oranienbaum palace and park, the modest yet stunning Luisium house and gardens, the Georgium landscaped gardens with its sculptures and English style, and the Rococo palace of Mosigkau.
Wörlitzer Park and Wörlitz Palace
Perhaps most importantly, Wörlitzer Park and Wörlitz Palace contain the first English gardens in continental Europe, large parts of which were open to the public from the very beginning. Visitors can enjoy boating on the expansive artificial lake in the centre of the park, walking through the gardens or exploring the palace. Wörlitz Palace was finished in 1773 and was used as the residence of Prince Leopold III. Take a tour through the various stunningly designed rooms with different styles and the superb artwork collections. If you're visiting in summer time, you may be lucky enough to take in one of the concerts that take place between May and September. With so much to see in this enormous area, it's a good idea to plan your trip in advance to make the most of your time in the Garden Kingdom and see as many places as possible in this garden paradise.