We had driven out of a rain sodden Berlin for the day and decided to meander along some of the smaller roads in Brandenberg past Postdam (about an hour’s drive out of the Capital). There was a warm breeze that relieved the leaves of the earlier downpour and sprayed our car as we motored down avenue after avenue of dark green foliage where the only signposts were tiny wooden markers for walkers and cyclists.
We happened upon Schloss Carputh around lunchtime and parked up just outside the palace. A few other people were braving the weather but the quiet prevailed as is often the case in what was East Germany. Even though the wall came down almost 25 years ago, people are still noticeably reserved and watchful, even the younger generations who would not have known what it was like to have lived behind the Iron Curtain. Some of the tourists must seem very loud and brash to them.
Schloss Carputh and Park take up a huge chunk of this small town. The original house was destroyed during the 30 year’s war (1618-1648) and, after the war, the owner Friedrich Wilhelm – the ‘Great Elector’ – gave the land to his Dutch quarter master general who built the house we see today. In the late 1660s, Friedrich Wilhelm’s second wife Dorothea decided she would like the house as a summer retreat, wouldn’t we all, and it was Dorothea who developed the interiors and designed the grand external steps leading to the terrace and then on down to Lake Templiner where steamers still pull up at the landing stage in summer to offload visitors the Palace. What a lovely way to arrive! The formal Baroque gardens were replaced in the 1830s with a more Romantic, informal style of garden and trees and lawns lead you down to the water’s edge.
This stately home contains the oldest surviving Baroque interior in Brandenburg. An amazing fact when you learn that it has since been used as a factory and then a school right up to 1995 when renovation work began.
The interior rooms contain some stunning newly-gilded Baroque mouldings and freshly renovated ceilings in vibrant colours. As is usual, no photography was allowed so I only have pictures of the exterior to show you. There was virtually no furniture whatsoever in any of the rooms which gave the house an echo as we walked around and, consequently, there was no real sense that anyone had ever lived there.
Schloss Carputh and Park is definitely worth a visit as it’s part of the Potsdam cultural landscape and gives a tremendous sense of just how grand the Brandenburg early Baroque era was. It wont take you all day for this visit, unless you plan to picnic by the lake in more clement weather, so if you are touring under your own steam, it might be an idea to have at least one other attraction on your list while you’re in the area.
The open areas of the house are on several floors and no lift, so not so good if you can’t door stairs. There is a website if you would like to know more: www.brandenburg-tourism.com
There is a tiny shop just inside the Schloss, in the same area where you pay. The entrance fee is 5 Euros. A small charge is made for the car park too.
The toilets are near the car park and there is a little restaurant/café as you enter the large gravelled courtyard of the Schloss.