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|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Inscription||2004 (28th Session)|
Muskau Park (German: Muskauer Park, officially: Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau; Polish: Park Mużakowski) is a landscape park in the Upper Lusatia region of Germany and Poland. It is the largest and one of the most famous English gardens in Central Europe, stretching along both sides of the German–Polish border on the Lusatian Neisse. The park was laid out from 1815 onwards at the behest of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785–1871), centered on his Schloss Muskau residence.
In July 2004, Muskau Park was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The park covers 3.5 square kilometers (1.4 sq mi) of land in Poland and 2.1 km2 (0.81 sq mi) in Germany. It extends on both sides of the Neisse, which constitutes the border between the countries. The 17.9 km2 (6.9 sq mi) buffer zone around the park encompassed the German town Bad Muskau (Upper Sorbian: Mužakow) in the West and Polish Łęknica (Wjeska, former Lugknitz) in the East. While Muskau Castle is situated west of the river, the heart of the park is the partially wooded raised areas on the east bank called The Park on Terraces. In 2003 a pedestrian bridge spanning the Neisse was rebuilt to connect both parts.
On July 2, 2004, UNESCO added the park to its World Heritage List, as an exemplary example of cross-border cultural collaboration between Poland and Germany. It was added to the list on two criteria: for breaking new ground in terms of development towards the ideal man-made landscape, and for its influence on the development of landscape architecture as a discipline. The park also stands as one of Poland's official Historic Monuments (pomnik historii), as designated May 1, 2004, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.
A fortress on the Neisse at Muskau was first mentioned as early as the 13th century under the rule of Margrave Henry III of Meissen. The founder of the adjacent park was Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871), the author of the influential Remarks on Landscape Gardening and owner of the state country of Muskau from 1811. After prolonged studies in England, in 1815 during the time when the northeastern part of Upper Lusatia fell to Prussia, he laid out the Park. As time went by, he established an international school of landscape management in Bad Muskau and outlined the construction of an extensive landscape park which would envelop the town "in a way not done before on such a grand scale".
The works involved remodelling the Baroque "Old Castle" - actually a former castle gate - and the construction of a Gothic Revival chapel, an English cottage, several bridges, and an orangery designed by Friedrich Ludwig Persius. Pückler reconstructed the medieval fortress as the "New Castle", the compositional centre of the park, with a network of paths radiating from it and a pleasure ground influenced by the ideas of Humphry Repton, whose son John Adey worked at Muskau from 1822 on. The extensions went on until 1845, when Pückler because of his enormous debts was constrained to sell the patrimony. The next year it was acquired by Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, who employed Eduard Petzold, Pückler's disciple and a well-known landscape gardener, to complete his design. Upon his death in 1881, he was succeeded by his daughter Princess Marie, who sold the estates to the Arnim family.
During the Battle of Berlin, both castles were levelled and all four bridges across the Neisse were razed. Count von Arnim-Muskau was dispossessed by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany and since the implementation of the Oder-Neisse line in 1945, the park has been divided by the state border between Poland and Germany, with two thirds of it on the Polish side. Not until the 1960s did the authorities gradually accept the legacy of the "Junker" Prince Pückler. The Old Castle was rebuilt by the East German administration in 1965-1972, while the New Castle and the bridges are still being restored. The Englische Brücke ("English Bridge") across the River Neisse has been repaired and was rededicated on 17 October 2011, after having been demolished with explosives in 1945.
After the Revolutions of 1989 the German and Polish administration joined forces in the redevelopment of the park ensemble. Since Poland entered the Schengen Area in 2007, visitors may freely explore both parts of the park without border checks.
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