The construction of the original Lütetsburg castle dates back to the East Frisian chieftain Lütet Manninga. He lost his ancestral home in Westel to devastating floods between 1373 and 1377. As a consequence, he expanded the family property Uthoff into the moated castle Lützborch.
Further outstanding castle lords and Knyphausen dynasty representatives followed, e.g. Dodo zu Innhausen und Knyphausen (1583-1636), who served the Swedish King Gustav Adolf in the Thirty Years’ War, and Wilhelm von Knyphausen, who in 1776 fought with the British against George Washington in America.The castle itself underwent many changes in its long history: theft and depredation during the Saxonian feud in 1517, ravages during the Thirty Years’ War, destruction by fire in 1893, and finally, partial destruction by aircraft bombs during the Second World War.
The present Lütetsburg castle is a modern, four-wing construction that was built 1956-1962 on the 1517 foundation walls. The family zu Inn- und Knyphausen continues to lives there today.
The simple, monumental brick building, consisting of a four-winged main body and two towers, was designed by Prince Wilhelm Edzard zu Inn- und Knyphausen and implemented by the architect Hans Heinrich von Oppeln.
The basic form of the outer ward goes back to the 15th century, and the impressive gate towers were built in the 17th century. The architectures integrate harmoniously into the landscape and exist in unison with the impressive park complex surrounding it. The castle interior is closed to visitors because it is a private residence.
Edzard Mauritz zu Inn- und Knyphausen (Earl from 1816 onwards) decided to transform the representative Baroque garden with its different parts into a naturally-formed, integrated landscape. He planted new foreign trees and shrubbery, dug canals and other streams and erected earth banks. He later added monuments and sculpted figures, so that the park gradually came to express his personal values and sentiments according to his experiences. We can see this in structures such as the stone pyramid in memory of his mother and his first wife, the friendship temple that he dedicated to a good friend, as well as in the Caroline Island with the Caroline memorial, which he dedicated to his deceased first daughter.
Following his death, Edzard Mauritz zu Inn- und Knyphausen’s children carried out very little structural change in the park. Yet alterations in its character did occur at that time, thanks to the extensive planting of rhododendrons and later azaleas, whose spectacular blossoms transformed the garden of quiet contemplation into a colourful, festive area.
The park continued to be cultivated as a monument steeped in history and picturesque natural space. Only in 1932 was it extensively redeveloped by Fürst Wilhelm Edzard zu Inn- und Knyphausen. After 1945, his commitment focused largely on clearing war damage and reconstructing the castle after a fire in 1956.
Castle Park counts today as one of the largest and most beautiful in northern Germany. Its 30 hectares and several kilometres of walking trails offers everyone, young an old, an oasis for regeneration. It is one of the few preserved examples of early Romantic garden types combining art and history as an integrative way of life.
The variety of over 150 exotic and native plant species, together with the vast expanse of the enclosure, make for the park’s charm. Here every visitor can find his or her own space and discover the park’s beauty for themselves. To this day, many characteristics of historical design have remained intact, so that you can still admire them in the park. For example, the ornate, affectionately inscribed benches invite every visitor to a moment of reposeReferences:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.