UOur world has become smaller, for quite a few it only includes our own home. But you can get the most beautiful parks in them: with the illustrated book “Passion for Beauty – Garden Dreams in Saxony-Anhalt”, edited by Christian Juranek and photographed by Janos Stekovics. It is an important matter in every respect: more than two kilos and full of horticultural cultural sites, forty-nine in total.
Few of them are as famous as the Wörlitzer Park or the other six components of the Dessau-Wörlitz garden kingdom, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But the Ballenstedt castle park south of Quedlinburg or the Schönhausen manor park on the Elbe are just as great in terms of splendor as they are of cultural importance. They are only smaller and therefore less famous.
Many parks are ignored today
The book, published by the Hungarian photographer Janos Stekovics, shows in its diversity a fascinating facet of the wealth of historical sites in a landscape that in this regard is only behind Italy in Europe, as Harald Meller, the state archaeologist of Saxony-Anhalt, has found.
The large number of palaces and monasteries has given rise to a number of large gardens since the Middle Ages, but especially during the Baroque era, when parks became the epitome of a rational and aesthetic approach to nature should serve. Due to the rededication of former feudal seats in cultural centers or for other social use, numerous of these parks were preserved in the GDR, albeit rarely true to the original. After 1990, however, many could be restored. Some, however, are still in a deep sleep.
You can particularly dream about them when leafing through the 270-page volume with its approximately five hundred superbly reproduced images. For example, when you see the Briest manor park near Tangerhütte or the Burgscheidungen castle park on the Unstrut. But a whole chapter also applies to the parks of cities such as Magdeburg, Halle and Aschersleben, which usually go unnoticed in addition to the other attractions there.
Reichardt’s garden in Halle-Giebichenstein, for example, the composer’s private passion, which attracted such prominent visitors as Goethe and Novalis until his death in 1814, is today a citizen’s park that is used quite naturally by the townspeople, but which also contains the tombstone of previous owner can find.
For the days when we will be allowed to travel again, there are numerous suggestions in “Passion for Beauty”. And until then you can start planning the excursions with the pictures and texts.