European rosarium, Sangerhausen. Roses as far as the eye can see.

The European Rosarium is more than purely a beautiful, poetic garden – it is a living museum for the 'queen of flowers'.

Sangerhausen's love affair with roses began way back in 1896 when its residents founded an association to enhance the beauty of their town. The chairman Albert Hoffmann was rose mad and the inspiration for the rosarium project. Inaugurated in 1903, the European rosarium has become a focus of international attention. On 13 hectares of land it has 80,000 roses of 8,600 species, which makes it the biggest collection of roses in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. During the main flowering season from the end of May to the middle of July, the heady scent of roses fills the entire garden. 'Old' roses – those known before 1867, for example noisettes and damasks – are especially fragrant. The era of the 'modern' rose began in 1867 with the breeding of the first hybrid tea La France, an epoch-making celebrity which also blooms luxuriantly in the park. Sangerhausen's diversity of roses appears to know no bounds: wild roses, English roses, bed roses, hybrid tea roses, shrub roses and climbing roses are grouped together in the Sea of Roses, the 'World Egg', the old display garden, the anniversary garden and on the great lawn. All this splendour is on display in a beautifully manicured park in which the 'queen of flowers' is the star of the show, with supporting roles played by sculptures and other works of art both old and new. In late June this is the venue for the Festival of Mining and Roses whose 'night of 1,000 lights' features fireworks, music and dance as well as culinary delights. Nearby attractions: at Allstedt Imperial Castle and Palace, in addition to the impressive buildings themselves, visitors can admire the largest chimneypiece in a German castle and the late-Gothic castle kitchen in the castle museum. Also popular are the concerts and open-air events in the castle ward and the medieval banquet in the court chamber. History is brought to life at the Röhrigschacht visitor mine/mining museum in Wettelrode. Round off your visit with a walk along the mining trail, stopping off at the Bergmannsklause restaurant along the way.

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