ByRedazione | 15/09/2023 10:08
Interestingly, the only two Unesco World Heritage sites in Saxony, an eastern German federated state, share a common feature: each Unesco site is in fact shared with another country. In fact, Muskau Park is located partly in Germany and partly in Poland, while the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří mining region is divided between Germany and the Czech Republic. The former joined the World Heritage List in 2004 as an "outstanding example of a European landscape park that broke new ground in terms of development toward an ideal man-made landscape" and as a "forerunner of new approaches to landscape design in cities and influencing the development of landscape architecture as a discipline" because of its harmonious integration with the surrounding agricultural landscape; the Ore Mountains/Krušnohoří Mining Region was awarded the important recognition in 2019 as "outstanding testimony to the role and strong global influence of the Saxon-Bohemian Ore Mountains as a center of technological and scientific innovations."
As noted above, the Fürst-Pückler-Park in the small town of Bad Muskau extends partly into Saxony and partly into Poland and is divided by the Neisse River; the two parts are thus connected by the double bridge over the river, which was opened in October 2003. With an area of about 830 hectares that includes a number of smaller parks, it is considered one of the most beautiful landscape parks in continental Europe and also a splendid example of a nineteenth-century English-style garden. It owes its name to its creator, the architect and landscape architect, as well as writer and traveler, Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau, who was inspired by this idyllic place and decided to create a vast park here between 1815 and 1845. He inherited this area upon the death of his father in 1811, thus having the opportunity to develop his first landscape designs right here. The park was conceived as a "painting with plants" using local plants to enhance the qualities of the existing landscape. He also perfectly integrated man-made architectural elements with natural elements: surrounded by greenery among paths, wooded areas, water features and bridges (ten in all), the New Palace, an imposing Baroque building with neo-Renaissance ornaments inside which a permanent exhibition on Prince Pückler is housed, stands out, and viewpoints arranged along the river are interspersed.
Pückler was a key figure in landscape design: in 1834 he published his principles in Notes on Landscape Gardening. However, in 1845 he had to sell Muskau due to heavy debts, but subsequent owners and gardeners retained Prince Pückler's original design. In fact, the original layout of the park has not undergone significant changes since its creation; rather, the posthumous owners further developed and enriched the park with terracing along the Neisse, intending to continue the work precisely in Pückler's memory.
Park Muskau today includes the New Palace, the Castle Garden and Nursery where exotic fruits grow, the court stables now used as a space for exhibitions and events, the carriage house that houses the Park's tourist information center; as well as, a café, a residential building, the knights' quarters where mud baths can be taken today, the spa park, the palace park and the Moorish orangery. On the Polish side, however, are the lower park gardens, from the arboretum to the Braunsdorf fields. Climbing the "carp bridge" then provides an excellent view of the New Castle, while from the viewing platform of the castle tower there is a panorama of the vast landscape of the park and its surroundings from a height of no less than 35 meters. One of the most impressive views of the entire park is also from the Pückler Stone, which was erected above the Neisse River in honor of the park's founder. For a romantic walk, the small paths along the shore of Lake Eichsee to the north of the park are worthwhile (you will also encounter a small waterfall), while for a gourmet break you can enjoy delicious cakes and the special ice cream dedicated to Fürst Pückler, which was originally a parfait poured into a mold with cream and three layers of fruit, in the castle cafeteria.
In addition to walking, Muskau Park can be explored by bicycle (with rental available on site), by carriage starting from the palace forecourt, and by boat (you can board a dinghy at the old dam, not far from the orangery, to enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour tour on the Neisse River to the Polish village of Żarki Wielkie. From here you will then return to the castle by bus.)
The entire maintenance and management of the Park is shared by Germany and Poland-the site is mainly state-owned. On the German side the Free State of Saxony owns most of the Park, while in Poland ownership is held by the State Treasury. German and Polish institutions are responsible for individual parts of the park and cooperate closely in its management, based on cooperation agreements related to strategic planning and estate management. Park management and all important decisions are evaluated and approved by the International Conservation Board of Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski and Park Branitz.
Nowhere else in Germany are so many traces of mining history to be found: in fact, 800 years of this mining past can be explored in the Ore Mountains, which truly shaped much of the area's identity. There are a total of twenty-two different components of historical mining value, seventeen of which are in Germany, while the remaining five are in Czech territory. Among the German seventeen, Schindler's blue paint factory (consider that the production of Erzgebirge blue paint was for many years the first in Europe), the mining landscape, and the historic center of Freiberg, also known as the city of silver (the mining landscape around Freiberg constitutes the oldest and most important mining area in the Ore Mountains), the Hoher Forst mining landscape, and the historic center of Marienberg, structured at right angles in the style of the Italian Renaissance, with the large square market square in the center.
However, each component represents a different place related to the region's historic mining heritage. On the Saxon side alone there are about four hundred of them, including mines and tunnel systems, metallurgical complexes, historic mining towns, churches, mining-related works of art, and typical elements such as old sinkholes and mine tailings. All bear witness to the most important eras of Saxon and Bohemian mining history.
The Ore Mountains are among the most popular tourist regions in Saxony: in fact, it has over a million visitors a year, as it offers a wide range of choices. One can stroll through mining towns or visit underground treasures or go hiking. There are, for example, a number of open mines, such as the "Markus-Röhling-Stolln" Mine in Annaberg-Buchholz, the Zinngrube Ehrenfriedersdorf Tin Mine, which is part of the Saxon Museum of Industry, the "Reiche Zeche" Silver Mine in Freiberg, one of the largest large and oldest silver mines in Saxony, and Mine "Molchner Stolln," also among the oldest (Silver, tin, copper and iron have been mined at this site since 1491.
Mining history is also rooted in traditions and celebrations, such as the miners' parades or the celebrations marking the last shift before Christmas. And many customs still come from the region's mining culture, including the art ofwood carving, a specialty of the Ore Mountains that developed at the end of the mining era. As early as the 16th century, miners supplemented their finances by carving figurines and other objects. Indeed, among the most popular souvenirs from the Ore Mountains to this day are typical miner figures, angels, arched candelabra, and nutcrackers.
Two very different Unesco World Heritage Sites, but they contribute to making Saxony the first cultural tourist destination in Germany.