See sites of royal splendour in Germany
Eutin Castle in East Holstein was once the seat of the prince bishops of Lübeck and the dukes of Oldenburg. This four-winged residence was built on the site of a medieval stronghold. It obtained its characteristic appearance between 1707 and 1729, and in spite of the baroque conversion, the castle exterior remains rather austere. The inside is a different story, however, with splendid original rooms, salons, halls, the castle church and a wealth of exquisite objects. Eutin Castle's heyday arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was transformed into a courtly baroque residence under Duke Christian August and Friedrich August I. At that time Eutin became the social focus of the region and major extensions were undertaken both inside the castle and in the park. The castle park was one of the largest baroque gardens in Schleswig-Holstein. in the 18th century and was redesigned in the style of an English garden at a later date. It features majestic tree-lined avenues, grand old trees and a small sun temple, while Lake Eutin itself is incorporated into the park landscape. Part of the 14 hectares of land is given over to the open-air stage for the annual Eutin Festival. Every July and August, a season of operas and operettas are performed on the stage. Eutin Castle is now a museum with exhibitions illustrating courtly life through the centuries. The model ships, a gift from the Tsar to the ducal family, are especially impressive. Nearby attractions: St. Michael's Church in the heart of the town is an important example of 12th century Romanesque architecture. Eutin's listed water tower was completed in 1909. The reward for climbing its 156 steps is a wonderful panoramic view.