Welcome Ladies and Gentleman
WELCOME TO THE EBELEBEN CASTLE GARDEN!
"Germany is full of surprises everywhere."
This is how a travel description by Udo von Alvensleben ends after a visit to the palace gardens in 1938.
During your visit to the park, you will be surprised by a baroque garden from the 17th century that still exists in its basic features - a gem of Baroque landscape architecture in Thuringia.
Archaeological excavations and finds document several construction phases of a castle complex with a moat. At least 3 fortification systems are verifiably available. Destruction and demolition of buildings, such as the fire layer of the Peasants' War of 1525, can also be detected.
After the Counts of Schwarzburg took over Ebeleben Castle in 1616, it gradually became one
S-shaped palace complex rebuilt. This is how the south wing was created in the Renaissance style. Inside, rooms have been redesigned and lavishly decorated with stucco or clad with fine wooden panels. In addition to the expansion and renovation work on the castle, a spatially and topographically differentiated garden was built in several construction phases. Its completion and full expression can be dated to the 1870s. The last major construction work on the castle was completed in 1772. This includes the construction of the three-arched bridge at the main entrance including the two cavalier houses, the so-called guard houses, as well as the western barn / stable building in the service yard.
The ancestral story of the Ebeleben
According to the nobility lexicon of 1740, the boar boar belonged to the "oldest and most handsome noble families in Thuringia". Since the 12th century, the lords or knights of Ebeleben owned Ebeleben and its castle. Evidence shows that the Ebeleben knight Apel I took part in the 5th crusade in 1227. The Ebeleben gentlemen, known as Martin Luther, introduced the Reformation into their properties in 1544. They provided ministerials, were active at the court of the Saxon electors, founded the Cistercian monastery in Marksußra in 1272 and closed it again in 1551 to open the so-called collegiate school for poor boys. This existed until 1829 and was headed by Paulus Jovius (around 1570-1633), among others. A famous student was the polymath Mellissantes (1685-1771). Nikolaus von Ebeleben (around 1514-1579) was a book collector and, thanks to his cover designs, a pioneer for the book industry in the 16th century. Debts and inheritance regulations led to the sale of the property to the house in Schwarzburg-Sondershausen in 1616. The von Ebeleben family died out with Johann Christoph von Ebeleben on Wartenburg / Elbe in 1656.
THE SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE CASTLE GARDEN
Christian Günther I (1578-1642) carried out the first horticultural measures as early as the first half of the 17th century. Part of the western moat was filled in and a court of honor (cour d´honneur) was created. Furthermore, the topography was changed by embankments, creating an upper ground floor with a large water basin, the roundabout and the north slope with the Great Cascade. His son Ludwig Günther II (1621-1681) continued the garden design. In the first half of the 18th century it was especially Prince August I (1691-1750) who pushed ahead with the decoration of the garden. With Christian Günther III. (1736-1794) the palace
complex experienced its heyday both in terms of design and use. In 1774 the gardens were given an orangery building with two flanking greenhouses at the northern end point.
The peculiarities of this palace garden consist in the atypical course of its main axis which, contrary to the ideal scheme, is not aligned with the palace but only connected to it by a secondary axis. It is about 322 m long and overcomes an artificially created height difference of over 18 m. Various water features, cascades, boscines and designed beds with sculptures formed the framework for the court garden culture arranged in geometric shapes on three terraces. All water features were fed with water from a well in the neighboring village of Rockensußra.
CASTLE AND PARK SINCE THE 19TH CENTURY
Until 1837 the palace complex was used as the residence or seat of government of the Schwarzburg princes. After that, authorities and officials' apartments were housed in the castle. The ruling princely couple Karl Günther and Marie von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen donated the converted orangery building in 1883 as a “rescue facility for morally neglected children”. With the Prince's abdication in 1918, the palace complex became the property of the State of Thuringia. The garden area separated by the Prince Foundation north of the Mühlgraben with the Karl Marien House named after its donors was continued by the Inner Mission.
In the first half of the 20th century, the savings bank and an agricultural school still used the premises of the castle. The garden was falling into a deep slumber. The northern garden area was converted into a kitchen garden for the Karl Marien House's own use. The lack of maintenance of the garden and its opening as a general park resulted in losses in the small-scale architecture and sculptures. Attempts to renovate the park by a beautification association in the 1930s were interrupted by World War II.
At the beginning of April 1945 the palace complex was hit and destroyed by grenades and incendiary bombs. By 1952, the remains of the building were removed and the rubble dumped in moat areas and north of the Great Cascade. Usable building material was used for the reconstruction and the construction of new farm houses.
After the Second World War there were various plans to convert the former palace complex and the southern garden area. For example, for a swimming pool, a new monastery building with a Catholic round church, a rural outpatient clinic, a "cultural center of the township" with a kindergarten, a hall with guest rooms and apartments as well as an open-air stage below the Great Cascade. Except for the latter, no project went beyond the planning phase. In addition to the redesign measures during the GDR era, the construction of a kiosk with a roofed dance floor in the area of the former farm yard and the construction of animal enclosures should be mentioned.
USE AND MONUMENT RENOVATION SINCE 1990
With the unification agreement in 1990, the property of the palace complex was taken over into federal property. In 1995 it was rededicated in the municipal property of the city of Ebeleben. The northern foundation area is now the property of the Novalis Diakonievereins e.V. Numerous extensions for the living and working of people with disabilities have since been built in the area of the former saffron garden and the pheasantry. Today over 70 residents are cared for here. In addition to residential units and rooms for daily structuring offers, the Karl Marien Haus also has a cafeteria with a company kitchen and the Diakonieverein administration.
The palace gardens are located on Via Romea Stadensis, a 13th century pilgrimage route from Stade to Rome.
Since the mid-1990s, both owners of the former palace and gardens have been trying to preserve and renovate the palace gardens with their historic buildings. You will receive support from the Förderverein Schloßpark Ebeleben e.V. The redevelopment sponsors are the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Free State of Thuringia, the German Foundation for Monument Protection, the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Hessen-Thüringen and many private donors. The technical support is provided by the Thuringian State Office for Monument Preservation and Archeology.
For the Federal Garden Show 2021 in Erfurt, the baroque palace garden Ebeleben was selected as an outdoor location. The Thuringian Monument Protection Prize 2016 was jointly awarded to the Novalis Diakonieverein e.V. and the Förderverein Schloßpark Ebeleben e.V. for their "outstanding and exemplary commitment to the renovation and use of the castle park in Ebeleben".