The 48-hectare landscaped park on the edge of Weimar’s old town is part of a kilometre-long stretch of green along the Ilm. It was laid between 1778 and 1828 and features both sentimental, classical and post-classical/romantic styles.
The creation of the park on the Ilm river is closely linked with Goethe’s life and work in Weimar. In 1776, Duke Carl August gave the poet a small house with a garden, today known as Goethe's Garden House. The first constructions and developments appeared in 1778 on the rocky western slope. Paths were subsequently laid, seating installed, monuments, bridges and other park architecture built. Numerous trees and bushes were also planted. The old palace gardens such as the Stern and the Welsche Garten were redesigned and integrated into the park along with the eastern valley slope and the water meadow as far as Oberweimar.
Between 1791 and 1797, the Duke had the Roman House built in classical style. This is the main design featured in the southern part of the park. Important characteristics of the park include the numerous lines of sight linking features such as Goethe’s garden house, the Roman House and the bark house within the park; these also connect them with the surrounding countryside.
The work largely came to an end in 1828 with the death of Carl August, who had been a significant driving force behind the design of the park. Over the following decades, the park was maintained but part of its direct connection with the surrounding landscape disappeared due to building work such as the street Am Horn. Moreover, insufficient care of the trees and shrubs puts its original appearance at risk. Extensive reconstruction, preservation and maintenance work was carried out on the trees, shrubs, paths and architecture only when the park was taken over by the National Research and Memorial Sites of Classical German Literature (NFG) in 1970.
The park on the Ilm river has been one of sites in 'Classical Weimar' UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.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.