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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.