Tag Archives: gardens

France – Chateau de Nacqueville

France-Chateau de Nacqueville

 

Since building started 500 years ago, the history of the Chateau and Park of Nacqueville has been closely linked to those of the three families who have lived there:

Body text bullet pointthe Grimouvilles in the 16th and 17th centuries

Body text bullet pointthe Mangon family, and their relatives the Barbout de Querquevilles and the de Tocquevilles, in the 18th. and 19th. Centuries, and

Body text bullet pointthe Hersents and their descendants from 1880 to the present day.

 

In 1510 the ancient Norman family of Grimouville constructed the original building as a fortified manor with a protective wall, 6 metres high. This completely blocked out the view from the manor thus giving the owners of the time no interest in landscaping the surrounding countryside.

Around 1700 the defensive wall was knocked down. With only the postern gate as the remaining reminder of the original defences, the owners had a beautiful view from the Chateau over the valley floor to the ornamental woods beyond.

Only much later, in 183o, did Hippolyte de Tocqueville, whose wife owned the estate, decide to create a true park.

An English landscape gardener was commissioned to design a romantic park, taking in the three small valleys. Within a few years the work had been successfully completed:

Body text bullet pointcreating a lake next to the Chateau and forming ponds, waterfalls and fountains,

Body text bullet pointclearing the main valley and planting it with ornamental trees, flowering shrubs and exotic plants,

Body text bullet pointmoving the entrance drive to lead right up to the Chateau, and

Body text bullet pointextending the woodlands on the surrounding high ground.

These changes so impressed the political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of the classic “Democracy in America”, that he wrote to his friend G. de Beaumont in 1857:

“I was, the day before yesterday, at my brother Hippolyte’s house. They have lavished enough money and taste on Nacqueville to make it one of the prettiest places in the world.”

 

Restoration

During the 2nd World War, the Chateau and the Park were occupied by the German army and then the Americans, who used the Chateau as an headquarters.

When Marcel Hersent (1895-1971) reclaimed the property in 1946, the whole place was in a disastrous state. Parts of the roof were missing, the interior was in ruins, the park had been devastated and the woods badly damaged. Over the next ten years, he completely restored the Chateau and put the Park and the woods back in order.

Proud of his work, in 1962 he opened the Park and the Chateau to the public.

Consolidation

In 1971, Marcel’s daughter Jacqueline, who had married Francois Azan in 1946, inherited the property. For the next 29 years they dedicated themselves to keeping the estate in perfect order, preserving its harmony and charm.

In 2000, the property passed to their daughter, Florence. With her husband Thierry d’Harcourt and their three children Hildevert, Alban and Quitterie, they left their Australian home of 12 years to settle in Nacqueville and pursue the task of the 18 previous generations who have over 5 centuries been the owners of Nacqueville.

 

Czech Republic – UNESCO WHS – Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava, at the foot of the Chriby mountain range which dominates the central part of Moravia. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens.

 

The history of Kromeríz began with the establishment of a settlement in the floodplain of the Morava river in the 9th century AD during the Greater Moravian Period. By the 12th century, when it belonged to the Bishopric of Olomouc, the original fortified site had disappeared. It did not achieve the status of a fortified town again until the mid-13th century, when a Gothic fort was constructed. The town prospered in the succeeding centuries, becoming the centre of the organization of vassals of the episcopal domains.

In 1497 the wealthy and well-connected Stanislav Thurzo became Bishop of Olomouc. He set about reconstructing and modernizing his castle at Kromeríz. At first this work was carried out using the Late Gothic style of the period, but Renaissance elements began to filter in as the work progressed. Bishop Thurzo also established a garden, comprising orchard, kitchen garden, and flower garden, which was praised by King Vladislav II when he visited Kromeríz in 1509.

Thurzo’s successors made minor modifications and additions to his castle. The castle suffered grievously in the Thirty Years’ War when the town was sacked by the Swedish army in 1643, a disaster followed by an outbreak of plague two years later. It was not until Count Karel Liechtenstein-Castelcorn became Bishop of Olomouc in 1664 that the town’s fortunes began to change. He wanted the town where he lived to have an aristocratic air, and so he undertook many building projects, as well as compelling the burghers to renew their buildings and equipment.

He brought in the talented Imperial civil engineer and architect Filiberto Lucchese, who designed an entirely new Pleasure Garden (Lustgarten) for him after having brought the ruined castle back into a habitable state. When Lucchese died in 1666, his work was taken over by his successor as Imperial architect, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla; the work on the Garden was not completed until 1675.

Once the garden was finished Tencalla’s attention turned to the design and construction of a magnificent episcopal castle and residence. This was to be his masterpiece, in the tradition of the north Italian Baroque school of Genoa and Turin. Nonetheless, it respected its Gothic predecessor, elements of which were blended into the new complex. Meanwhile, Bishop Karel was furnishing the interiors, creating a picture gallery that contained many masterpieces.

The castle was affected by the fire that swept through the town in March 1752. Bishop Leopold Bedrich Eghk oversaw the restoration, bringing in artists and craftsmen to carry out the work, notably the Viennese painter Franz Anton Maulbertsch and the Moravian artists Josef Stern.
The see was raised to an archbishopric in 1777 and the first archbishop, Colloredo-Waldsee, was responsible for the restyling of the Castle Garden in accordance with the romantic approach of the late 18th century. The Pleasure Garden, however, preserved its Baroque geometrical layout. The work on the Castle Garden continued well into the 19th century, with the construction of arcades, bridges, and even a model farmstead. Much of this was carried out under the supervision of the architect Antonín Arche between 1830 and 1845.

 

(whc.unesco.org)

Germany – Potsdam

 

Potsdam  is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 24 km (15 miles) southwest of Berlin city center.

The name “Potsdam” originally seems to have been “Poztupimi” from a West Slavonic name meaning “beneath the oaks”, highlighting the area’s many grand oak trees.

Potsdam has several claims to national and international notability. In Germany, it had the status Windsor has in England. It was the residence of the Prussian kings, and thus the German Emperors, until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and unique cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference, the major post-World War II conference between the victorious Allies, was held at another palace in the area, the Cecilienhof.

Babelsberg, in the south-eastern part of Potsdam, was a major movie production studio before the war and has enjoyed increased success as a major centre of European film production since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Filmstudio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world.

Potsdam developed into a center of science in Germany from the 19th century. Today, there are three public colleges and more than 30 research institutes in the city.

China – Suzhon Gardens

 

Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.

The city of Suzhou is situated in the Lower Y angtze Basin alongside Lake Tai. It was founded in 514 BC as the capital of the Wu Kingdom, and has remained the political, economic, and cultural centre of the region since that time.

The earliest gardens in Suzhou date back to its foundation in the 6th century BC, but it was during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and in particular the 16th to !8th centuries, that the city’s prosperity resulted in the creation of as many as two hundred gardens within its walls. Their quality and profusion earned Suzhou the title of the “Earthly Paradise.”

The oldest of the four gardens that form this nomination is probably the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, whose origins go back to the end of the 16th century, when it belonged to the Royal Academician Shen Shixing.

The Humble Adrninstrator’s Garden has been the site of the residence of Suzhou notables since the 2nd century AD. It was the Ming Imperial Inspector Wang Xianchen who built the present complex, when he retired from public life in 1509 and returned to his native city.

The Lingering Garden dates from the end of the 16th century and is the work of Xu Taishi, also a high Imperial official. Its present name was given to it in 1873 by the Zhengs, who paid a graceful tribute to the former owners, the Liu family, since the Chinese word for “lingering” is similar to the name of this fami1y. When Deputy Minister Shi Zhengzhi lived in Suzhou in the late 12th century he called his house “The Fisherman’s Retreat,” and this idea was picked up in late 18th century by Song Zongyuan when he created the Garden of the Master of the Nets.

(whc.unesco.org)