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:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.