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:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.