Kosmos Wiepersdorf


Stop 6: Castle park
© Dirk Bleicker

Stop 6
Castle park

Of flowers and stones: The parterre and its sculptures

The parterre lies before you. Where it ends, a wide flight of stairs with balustrades leads up to the castle entrance. This parterre is about fifty meters long and is aligned with the architecture of the house in the typical Baroque manner. An oval of lawn surrounded by a low hedge is at the center and—at least during the summer planting season—is enhanced by red and white begonias and blue heliotrope. A wide path of reddish gravel leads around the oval lawn with several stone and wooden benches at the outer edges. The area is surrounded by ten large statues made of calcium silicate standing on pedestals as well as four heavy stone vases, which Achim von Arnim-Bärwalde, the painter and grandson of Achim and Bettina, had had sent from Rome and Venice to Wiepersdorf. He designed the park, which in its symmetrical shape is indebted to the formal Baroque gardens of French landscape architecture.

The five sculptures posted on each side of the circular path represent Roman and Greek goddesses and gods or legendary figures. Their names—from Apollo to Eternity to Saturn—are for the most part engraved on the pedestals. On the oval where you now stand, allegorical figures of the four seasons are arranged in a semicircle. These figures represent, among other things, the supposedly stable basis of human life provided by nature, or at least the desire for it. A good one hundred meters behind the figures of the seasons, at the end of the axial view from the main building and the flight of steps, is a statue of Zeus—or rather a copy—that stands at a proper distance from the other sculptures. The original is now in the orangery.

If you turn towards the statue of Zeus, you will find yourself at a forest entrance. Behind the forest are fields, behind the fields are villages, eventually—it is a long way to the next larger village. This remoteness is a determining characteristic of Wiepersdorf Castle. It is one of the experiences that makes a strong impression on both the residents and the guests. At the next stop, in front of the sculptures of the four seasons arranged in a semicircle, you will learn what it can mean to live in a remote place—for better or for worse.