Friday, 20 September 2013

Branitzer Park, Cottbus

Last week we went on an enjoyable 30km (or so) cycle ride that started at Cottbus Hauptbahnhof, went to Schloss Branitz and through Branitzer Park with its curious pyramids, caught up with the canal (Branitz-Dissencher Hauptgraben) running North-East through serene countryside, which we followed up to the not so serene - in fact downright terrifying - Cottbus-Nord brown coal strip-mining site. Then we cycled through the dotting of lakes (Teichland) to Peitz and the Jänschwalde power station. There we caught a train back to Cottbus from Peitz Ost Bahnhof, and thence back to Berlin.

It's been four (four!) years since we last visited Cottbus which is a shame, because I like Cottbus.We seem to travel through it a lot by train, on our way to other places. Mind you, the station doesn't have any lifts to the platforms, so it is a pain when you have a bike to lug up and down the stairs.

Schloss Branitz was the principle home of Fürst (Prince) Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, who also built the Schloss and park at Bad Muskau that we cycled to a few weeks ago. As at Bad Muskau, he landscaped an English-style park around his residence, Branitzer Parklandschaft.

Schloss Branitz
Where you are distracted from the symmetry of the architecture by the statue of a naked woman mooning at you.
Lake at the rear of Schloss Branitz
The naturalistically coloured statue on the left with the blue robe is of a naked woman caught as if just got out of the lake after bathing.
I am beginning to see a theme here!
Gilded bust in a rose arbor of famous opera singer Henrietta Sontag, with whom he was infatuated
Fürst Pückler wrote in a letter to his wife Lucie in 1847 about Branitz Park 'Was daraus wird nach unserem Tode, ist ja vollkommenste Nebensache. Nichts ist ewig, aber ewig schaffen ist göttlich.' (What becomes  [of the park] after our deaths is certainly an absolutely minor matter. Nothing is eternal, but eternally creating is godly). Fürts Pückler certainly did a lot of creative work with the park, but none is more surprising than the two earthen pyramids he erected, on on the land and one in a lake.

The lake pyramid is where Fürst Pückler is buried together with his Lucie.

The Branitz Park is a lovely place to spend a day-trip from Berlin. It is of course a copy of a landscape style that is itself an artificial construct. As such, it does feel a bit too idealised for me, especially when it doesn't have the flocks of sheep and herds of deer that a 'genuine' English landscaped garden usually has. It was infinitely preferable though to the artificial landscape that we visited later in the day on our bike trip, the terrifying (albeit spectacular) moonscape around Jänschwalde power station.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great photos. Wants me to go there soon! Believe it or not I lived in Cottbus for a year and I never made it to Branitzer Park!


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