As the first English-style landscape garden in mainland Europe, the 18th century Garden Kingdom of Dessau Wörlitz unites garden design and architecture in perfect harmony. Here you'll find manor houses, more than 100 buildings of varying sizes and a range of sweeping parks and gardens, all spread over an area of 140 square kilometres on and around the banks of the rivers Elbe and Mulde.
The garden is predominantly the work of Leopold III, Duke of Anhalt Dessau (1740-1817). As an adherent of the Enlightenment, the Duke used the art of landscape gardening to give expression to political views. Many of the structures and statues were also designed for the moral improvement of the observer. Between 1769 and 1773, mainland Europe's first ever classical building, Wörlitz House, was built in the centre of Wörlitz Park. In a period of over 40 years, other grand houses and parks were built in and around Dessau. These include Georgium Palace – in which the unmissable Anhalt Art Gallery can be found – Luisium Palace, Wörlitz Park and the wooded park on Sieglitzer Berg hill. Kühnau Park represented the culmination of this phase in 1805. Over time, the older structures of Oranienbaum Palace and Mosigkau Palace were integrated into the overall scheme, so that this landscape in today's Saxony-Anhalt resembles an open-air architecture museum covering the period from antiquity to the modern era. Numerous tree-lined avenues, dyke paths and sightlines link the individual gardens and parks. A weekend stay in one of the many holiday homes here should give ample time to appreciate the perfection of this landscape. You can explore the Garden Kingdom at your leisure on foot or by bike and then maybe take in one of the many concerts held as part of the Garden Kingdom Summer from May to September.
Wörlitz House and Wörlitz Park: April to October: open daily except Monday
Oranienbaum Palace and Park: May to September: open daily except Monday; April and October: open Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Luisum Palace and Park: April to September: open daily except Monday; October: open Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Mosigkau Palace and Park: May to September: open daily except Monday; April and October: open Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Tips for your visit
Palace and park tours, gondola trips
Holiday accommodation in the Garden Kingdom: Schlangenhaus Lodge, Elb Pavilion, Eyserbeck House and Kavalier Pavilion
Further information: www.gartenreich.com
Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is part of the 'Palaces and parks' UNESCO route. Other stops on the route are:
UNESCO World Heritage sites: