36. Pretzsch (Elbe) Palace and Gardens

The renaissance castle Pretzsch Castle served Queen Christiane Eberhardine, the wife of Augustus the Strong, for holding court. The park was created as a Baroque pleasure garden at the beginning of the 18th century. Later, the park was re-landscaped. The castle houses a café and a small museum.

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The Saxon electress and Polish queen Christiane Eberhardine (1671-1727) received Pretzsch Castle from her husband Augustus the Strong (1670-1733) as a gift at the time of the birth of their first son.

In the upper section of the Baroque garden created for garden lover Eberhardine, there was a water pool with a fountain, surrounded by elaborate decorative beds and exotic pot plants. Today, there is a large grass area and an adventure playground for playing.

 A large, lowered water pool gave the courtly society opportunities for pleasurable boat trips and separated the upper section of the garden from the boscage area. The structures of the water pool can still be seen clearly today; additionally, the area will be planted considerably in future.

In the adjacent boscage area, a special feature of the Pretzsch Castle grounds becomes clear. Since the Elbe river ran in direct proximity to the castle grounds, the design of an identical garden plot to the right of the main axis, typical of the Baroque period, could not be implemented. Therefore, the actual main axis of the garden forms the border of the complex on the Elbe side. The Elbe weir currently lies right on this main route. During Christiane Eberhardine’s time, the view of the neighbouring Elbe was unhindered.

After the death of Augustus the Strong in 1733 – his wife died six years previously – the reshaping and conversion of the garden areas began. The biggest changes took place towards the end of the 18th century with the redesign as an English country park. The strict shapes were overlaid, the paths received a curved gradient and a natural seeming plantation with bushes and hedges followed. In an extensive renovation, the character of the Baroque park complex is now be made visible again.

The castle now looks back at a history of nearly 200 years as a home for children and young people. As an institution of the state corporation Salus gGmbH, today’s Pretzsch Home for Children and Youths offers all areas of modern child and youth aid.

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