Palaces Castles & Gardens


Hello and welcome to my site "Palaces Castles & Gardens" which is my photographic travel guide on palaces and gardens in Europe, mainly in Germany. The guide shows plenty of photographic materials on the sites and I also provide in-depth information on the sites. You will find information on how to travel there, what is the site all about and you will see for yourself what the site looks like.


orangerie sanssouci palace gardens
Orangerie at Sanssouci Palace Gardens
logo raymond loyal photography
zwinger dresden
Zwinger Dresden Kronentor - Crown Gate

palace benrath
Rococo Palace Benrath in the south of Duesseldorf



Palaces Castles and Gardens - Architectural Styles


The Renaissance


In every respect, the renaisssance was a renewal, a regeneration and a reformation, if not a complete rebirth of the people of Europe. The renaissance marks the end of the middle ages and the ascent of the modern era. The renaissance is synonym for humanism, the Reformation and also for a completely new style of architecture. The ideal of the new human also creates the ideal of new architecture.


Renaissance commences in Italy, which is also where the philosophical basis were laid for the new era. The renaissance builds on antique thinking, especially on Greek philosophy. As for architectural styles, the early patterns are roman, but sooner, rather than later, people orientate on Greek and Byzantine models of the past. Columnar shapes, ornaments and gables do have antique models, though renaissance architects and builders start to create their own conceptions of space.


The characteristic features of renaissance architecture are layout and facade. The order of columns copies the antique ideal, arches form semicircles and vaultings without any ribs. The renaissance re-invents the dome as the architectural element (for example the Florence Cathedral). Ceilings and roofs are isolated against room space; horizontal door lintels are en vogue, walls are plastered or revetted. On top of that renaissance is rich in detail on cornices and fieses. 


The three eras of renaissance architecture are Early Renaissance (1400-1500), High Renaissance (1500-1525) and late Renaissance, also called Mannerism (1520-1600). 


The Baroque


The architectural style of the Baroque belongs to the era between 1600 and 1780. Baroque also marks the epoch of absolutism and the Baroque is the architectural expression of the absolute power of the sovereign.


Sculpture, plastic art and painting seamlessly fit into the building, the Baroque sense of life is reflected in religion, literature, furniture, clothing and hairstyle. As was the case with Renaissance, Baroque is derived from Italy but really thrives on the French art of living and therefore, really is the French idea of a new era.


The essential style of Baroque is the pre-dominance of the central-plan building, dynamically curved facades, the orientation of geometrical fundamental forms, especially the ellipse, facade towers and a love for decoration.


The three eras of Baroque are Early Baroque (1570-1630), High Baroque (1630-1700) and Late Baroque (1700-1780).


The Rococo - Late Baroque


The Rococo marks the period between 1735 and 1780. With this understanding we realise that Rococo and Late Baroque are more or less one thing, though with different names. Rococo is the advancement of Baroque and comes across with dainty and delicate ornaments. We recognize Rococo in the interior design of the rooms.


Of course, Rococo also shows its impact in the way palaces were designed. During Rococo smaller palaces are being built and it is the period of the so-called Maison de plaisance. Nonetheless, Rococo is elegant, energetic and full of spirit. Exuberant ornaments are essential stylistic devices (e.g. braid ornaments, putti and rocaille to name but a few). The shell is the central element from which all other ornaments are derived. Outside the buildings putti and bacchants are the sculptures of choice, which the puto representing a cheerful sculpture exuding happiness and bliss. The puto comes across as musician or craftsman or simply as a sculpture propping up the coat of arms.


gosssedlitz baroque garden puti
Putti at Goss-Sedlitz baroque garden



Palace Gardens


The Renaissance Garden


The renaissance garden is routed in Italy. Basically, the renaissance garden is a piece of artwork and garden leaves nothing to chance. Everything is planned and has a purpose. Everything serves a purpose. The renaissance garden proves to the outside world how wealthy the owner of the garden is. The owner mostly belongs to the landed gentry or is a wealthy merchant.


The sub-ereas in the renaissance garden interact with each other and convey an idea of balance and order to the visitor. It is important to understand that the renaissance garten is not just an attachment to the palace but is an elementary part of the entrance to the palace. As well as the renaissance was an intellectual awakening to Europe a the start in a new era, the renaissance garden is open-minded and invites the visitor to stay. 


The renaissance garden has a language-specific character, meaning the renaissance garden in the German area looks different to a garden in Italy or in France and vice versa. Nonetheless, the renaissance garden has a number of basic elements that recur in all gardens across Europe. Basically, the renaissance garden adjusts to the terrain and does not need plain ground. The walls of the medieval gardens are still in use. New is the element of the axis in the form of alleys, ways or pergolas. Buildings are creative elements in the garden. The renaissance garden is a play with geometrical forms and already uses galleries and pavillons. Terraces are build in the gardens and water features are not only there to provide water but are an creative element.


The elements of the renaissance garden will later pop up again in the baroque garden, as the baroque garden is an advancement of existing elements.


The Baroque Garden


The baroque garden itself is a real work of art and belongs to the palace as part of the entire complex. No longer the garden is proving the wealth of his owner only. The baroque garden is the expression of its owner's absolute power, which is why baroque gardens are mostly an accessory to princely and royal residences. The very model of any baroque garden on the European continent was the garden at the royal palace of Versailles in France.


One of the major elements in the baroque garden is the use of axes in symmetrical forms There are main and side axes which form a network of pathes and roads. Every baroque garden has a main axis. From this main axis a view opens to the wide landscape. This baroque visual axis or sight line actually directs the view into the world, allowing the viewer also to look at the park with all its elements. All elements of the baroque garden are symmetrical. The outlay of the garden is strict and formal. Sculpture belong to an antique scheme. The Baroque garden shows, at times, quite a number of putti and also the bacchanal is scheme use in the jardin à la francaise.


The English Garden


The landscape garden in the palace gardens is called either "English Landscape Garden" or "English Landscape Park" or simply the "English Garden". As such, the English garden shows an idealised idea of nature and first emerged in England of the early 18th century as an answer to the very symmetric and sorted French garden (jardin à la francaise). The English garden brings to life the vison of nature portrayed in landscape paintings. It was this idea of a garden which made its way from England to the continent as a deliberate renunciation from the formal French gardens.


The English garden contains many elements but lacks the symmetry of the French baroque garden. In the English garden we find elements such as lake / pond, bridges, mounds or hills, temples, rotundas, the garden path and benches under trees. An apparently pristine nature provides tranquility and recreation to the visitor.


However, the landscape is by no way natural but reflects the idea of unspoiled and virgin nature. Nonetheless there are buildings in the gardens. There are buildings scattered all over the place in the English garden, such as picturesque pavillons and sculptures. Brick-build bridges cross natural looking watercourses and open the view to small ponds and lakes.


The landscape garden makes the visitor feel the unity of man and nature. If landscape could speak we were to conceive nature as poesy; and if we were painters, the landscape garden is how we would capture nature on canvas. We walk about the landscape garden in a symbiosis of living poesy and a sanguine painting, to which we were granted access.



Glossary on Baroque Gardens


This glossary provides terms and definitions with regard to baroque gardens. The terms will pop up in following articles. 


Term Definition
 Cabinet The cabinet marks a small garden space in the bosquet, which is always based on a geometrical layout
Bosquet The bosquet describes an area in the garden made of a formal plantation of trees or hedges; the plants are always set in strict regularity. The bosquet is made of coppice and is always lower in height compared to the wood area of the garden. 
Broderie Broderie is made of planted boxtree, free areas are covered with sand or gravel. From the distance it looks like embroidery.
grand parc The grand parc adjoins the bosquettes. Mainly the grand parc is used for timber production and for hunting.



This picture gallery publishes images on castles, palaces and palace gardens across Central Europe. A distinctive image shows the castle / palace and the link under the picture will connect with the respective article 


moritzburg palace
Moritzburg Palace
pillnitz palace
Pillnitz Palace

baroque garden gross-sedlitz
Baroque Garden Gross-Sedlitz
sanssouci palace
Sanssouci Palace

festetics palace
Festetics Palace
dresden zwinger palace
Dresden Zwinger Palace

raesfeld castle
Raesfeld Castle
moyland castle
Moyland Castle

bladenhorst castle
Bladenhorst Castle
castle vischering
Water Castle Vischering