Güstrow Palace is a Renaissance-era palatial schlossb built in 1558 for Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg. The palace features stucco decorations and a Baroque-classicist gatehouse.
Construction of the present palace was initiated in 1558 by Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, in place of a medieval castle. Franciscus Pahr was the master builder who constructed the additional south and west wings in a fusion of Italian, French, and German architectural styles, unique for the time and area.
In 1657, Gustav Adolf, the last Duke of Güstrow, engaged Charles Philippe Dieussart to refurbish parts of his palace in modern style. The Baroque gatehouse and the palace bridge were built during this time. After the end of ducal control, between 1817 and 1950, the palace became the farm house of Mecklenburg workers. Further restoration took place from 1963 to 1978, when the palace was restored to its original grandeur.
Güstrow Palace is quadrangular in shape. Some of the old furniture has been removed to Schwerin and other places following the death of Magdalena Sybilla which marked the end of the Güstrow lineage. In one part of the palace, there are well preserved Flemish paintings; one particular painting is of a Dutchman smoking. A theatre is in good shape with well preserved original stucco paintings. The stucco ceilings are retained in their original form in the palace. The banquet hall's ceiling has unique stucco paintings of hunting scenes which are adaptations from Dutch copper engravings. The medieval rooms in the basement of the palace, which are vaulted, have many artifacts of the medieval period of Germany. The art chamber contains exhibits of hunting and ceremonial weapons. The refurbished former dining halls, residential and reception rooms have exhibits of paintings of Cranach, Marten de Vos, and Tintoretto. Antique ceramic vessels and a large number of glass items are on display in the former chamber of the duchess. There are also displays from the 19th to 21st centuries.
The grounds contain stables and a well-tended garden. The garden has been redone with beds of lavender and walkways.
The palace houses a museum related to the male line of Duchess Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg's family, presenting also art exhibitions and concerts.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.