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 original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.
In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.
The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.
In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.
Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.
In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.