Schloss Bothmer is the largest Baroque palace in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The assembly of several interconnected buildings with its warm red brick facades attracts many thousands of visitors each year. Bothmer Palace combines in its architecture many different European influences and makes thereby a unique monument to the Baroque style in North Germany.
The palace was designed by the architect Johann Friedrich Künnecke (died 1738) and built between 1726 and 1732. It was built by Count Hans Caspar von Bothmer (1656-1732) who had served as a diplomat for the Electorate of Hannover and had spent many years as Ambassador on long missions in several European courts. By clever negotiations, Bothmer helped his employer, Elector Georg Ludwig von Hannover, to become George 1st, King of England. George 1st showed his appreciation of Bothmer’s efforts in a special way. In1720, he gave his first minister for German affairs the use of a house in St. James’s park in London, where he could live until his death (1732). Thereafter the house was to become the official residence of the British Prime Ministers. However, between 1720 and 1732, No. 10 Downing Street was known as `Bothmar House´ after its then occupier. The King also showed financially his appreciation of his diplomat’s services.
In view of the various postings of the Count, it is not surprising that Bothmer Palace draws on English and Dutch influences, among others, the Dutch Castle Het Loo, Buckingham House in London, later to become the royal residence Buckingham Palace, and the Royal Brass Foundry in Greenwich, London. The former castle had been the representative and commercial centre point of the fertile `Klützer Winkel´, but was no longer in use when Hans Caspar von Bothmer inherited it, and in his will, left it to the benefit of the descendents of his brother Friedrich Johann. Bothmer died before the new palace was completed His nephew Hans Caspar Gottfried von Bothmer (1694-1765) and his wife Christina Margarethe von Bülow (1708-1786) were the first occupants of the house. Their plaster portrait medallions can still be seen over the fireplace in the entrance hall to the house.
The Bothmer family occupied the palace ensemble until 1945. After the war, the Palace was first used as an isolation hospital. Between 1948 and 1994, it was an old peoples home and the side wings were extensively altered. Only the main building and the Cavalier’s house on the adjoining east side remained largely unchanged. Here splendid stucco ceilings, richly decorated fireplaces, a precious inlaid cabinet and numerous wood panelled walls have survived.
Since 1st February 2008 the palace and park have been in the ownership of the State of Mecklenburg- Vorpommern. After failure to privatise the property, the State will, in the coming years, undertake an historically correct restoration of the Baroque ensemble and give it a new future. From the 1st March 2009, due to the start of renovation works, the palace is closed to the public until further notice. The park remains accessible.References:
Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin and one of the the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The rich and eventful history of Heidelberg Palace began when the counts palatine of the Rhine, – later prince electors – established their residence at Heidelberg. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
The 19th century brought a new wave of admiration: a sight both terrible and beautiful, the ruins epitomised the spirit of the Romantic movement. Heidelberg Palace was elevated to a national monument. The imposing edifice and its famous garden, the Hortus Palatinus, became shrouded in myth. The garden, the last work commissioned by the prince electors, was never completed. Some remaining landscaped terraces and other vestiges hint at the awe-inspiring scale of this ambitious project. In the 17th century, it was celebrated as the “eighth wonder of the world”. While time has taken its toll, Heidelberg Palace’s fame lives on to this day.
Heidelberg Castle is located 80 metres up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley.