Built in 1765 as a tenement house for a grand ducal demesne, Schloss Tiefurt served from 1776 as the residence of Prince Friedrich Ferdinand Constantin, the younger brother of the reigning Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. After the expansion of the tenement house to a country mansion, he and his tutor Karl Ludwig von Knebel designed a landscaped park in English style. Meandering paths were laid together with the first park architecture and seating, and various types of plants were cultivated. After Constantin’s departure to Weimar in 1781, Duchess Anna Amalia moved her summer residence to Tiefurt and continued to develop the park step by step. These developments included the Leopold memorial, the cenotaph for Constantin who died young, the Mozart memorial, the Herder stone, the Temple of Muses and the Tea Salon. During this time, Tiefurt became a social centre for the court of Weimar and their guests. A convivial social life developed featuring recitals, literary evenings and even a small newspaper, the Journal of Tiefurt. However, Tiefurt fell silent when the mansion was plundered by French troops in 1806 and on Anna Amalia’s death in 1807. Tiefurt was restored to its former glory only with the extensive renovation and redesign of the park between 1846 and 1850 carried out by the Weimar court gardener Eduard Petzold. Many of the copses which define the park landscape were planted in this period. Tiefurt Mansion and Park were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
Many of the artworks are mementoes of Anna Amalia’s trip to Italy between 1788 and 1790, including a watercolour by Johann Georg Schütz showing the Duchess and her travelling companions among Roman artists in the garden of the Villa d’Este. Some of the artistic highlights of the institution are sculptures and busts done by the court sculptor Gottlieb Martin Klauer on the staircase and porcelain from China, Meissen, Copenhagen, Fürstenberg and Vienna. Visitors can look into the Cold Kitchen with a wide variety of utensils from the courtyard. The historical display dishes made of porcelain, wax and paper maché come from the ducal household and look deceptively realistic.
Tiefurt Park covers an area of 21 hectares on both sides of the Ilm. Gently sloping fields with beautiful groups of trees stretch to the bank of the river. A steep slope covered with dense forest rises on the far side. Numerous memorials and park constructions invite visitors to linger.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.