The Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloss) was built by the Romantic on the Throne, Friedrich Wilhelm IV from 1851 to 1864. The architects Friedrich August Stüler and Ludwig Ferdinand Hesse designed it in the style of the Italian Renaissance, after the image of the Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence.
The middle building with its twin towers is the actual castle. This building is joined to the 103 meter long and 16 meter wide Plant Hall, with its almost ceiling-to-floor windows on the south side. In the western hall, the original floor duct heating system is still present and functioning. In the alcoves along the garden side of the castle annex, there are allegorical figures of the months and seasons. In the corner building at the end of the Orangery Hall were the royal apartments and the servants' quarters.
In front of the peristyle Elizabeth, Friedrich Wilhelm IV's wife, had a statue of the king erected in Memoriam after his death in 1861.
Behind the portico, in the middle building, lies the over two-story-tall Raffael Hall. It was based on the Sala Regia in the Vatican. Over a large skylight in the high clouded ceiling, light falls into the Museum Hall. On the red silk covered walls, hang over fifty copies of Renaissance paintings. Friedrich Wilhelm IV inherited the images from his father, Friedrich Wilhelm III, and brought them here together.
The royal apartments were outfitted in the second Rococo style, connected to both sides of the Raffael Hall. They were intended as guest rooms for Tsar Nicholas I and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. The Tsarina was the favorite sister of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Charlotte, who gave up her name along with her homeland when she married.
The gardens were styled after those of the Italian Renaissance by the garden architect, Peter Joseph Lenné. In the west, below the annex, he designed the Paradise Garden in 1843/1844. In it are many exotic flowers and foliage plants. The atrium, a small building in middle of the compound, designed in the ancient style, was built on plans by Ludwig Persius in 1845. The current Botanical Garden, with its systematically arranged planting, is used by the University of Potsdam as a teaching garden.
The Norse and Sicilian Gardens lie to the east. These completely different garden sections were laid out by Lenné between 1857 and 1860. The dark, effective Norse Garden, with its pines, was to have been an element of the planned triumph street. The Sicilian Garden, with its palm tubs, myrtles, laurels, flowers, arcades, and fountains, runs jovially southward.References:
The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.
In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.
The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.
In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.
Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.
In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.