Georgium Castle and Park

Nature and culture on the Elbe

Every park in the Gartenreich Dessau-Wörlitz is unique. In the Dessau Georgium, it is the contrasts of conscious garden design and untouched nature, of classicist architecture and romantic ruins that enchant. And just a few steps away you will find another World Heritage Site with the historic Bauhaus.

The English landscape garden was created from 1780 between the Elbe and the centre of Dessau on behalf of Prince Johann Georg (1748–1811), the brother of Prince Franz. This was commonly called Hans Jürge. The prince shared the prince’s enthusiasm for Italy and incorporated impressions of their joint trip to Italy into the new park.

Hans Jürge and his master builder Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff, together with the garden experts, had their hands full for the time being to cultivate remnants of the swampy floodplain forest, clay pits and dreary pine forests and to redesign them according to their wishes. The architectural centre of the park is Georgium Castle, which houses the Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie, the most important collection of Old Masters in Saxony-Anhalt. Recently, extensive renovation work could be completed. The reopening is imminent. Despite its striking architecture, however, the castle is conceived as part of the whole and is not located directly on the main axis of the park.

In the spacious garden there are buildings and sculptures of various kinds and shapes within walking distance, but at a reasonable distance. It was not until the 19th century that the mausoleum was built as the burial place of the Anhalt princes at that time. In 1958, the Dessau Zoo was built around it.

The Georgium includes, among other things, the so-called Fremdenhaus, a ruin bridge, an Ionic round temple, two replicas of ancient archways and an ensemble of eight columns, which in the vernacular is only called “the seven columns” – because almost from every line of sight a column is always hidden.

The Georgengarten with its 21.3 hectares flows into the Beckerbruch (97 hectares) towards the Elbe, where all sorts of architectural and plastic surprises can also be discovered. The most striking are the Elbe Pavilion, where you can spend the night today, and the artificial ruin “Wallwitzburg”, from which you have an incomparable view of the surroundings on both sides of the Elbe.

Today, the construction of the Georgengarten is supervised by the city of Dessau-Roßlau, a support association supports this concern.

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