Project 20: Fürst-Pückler-Park Branitz

Landscape spirit and pyramid soul

Apart from the Bad Muskauer Park, the park at Cottbus-Branitz represents the most significant work by Hermann Ludwig Heinrich Fürst von Pückler-Muskau. What looks like a miracle of nature was really the result of Pückler’s careful planning. Apart from the late baroque Schloss at the heart of the park – and the famous pyramids – there is the lesser-known outer park. Pückler incorporated the farm and forestry land around his park into the design as a kind of »designed meadow.« After a long period of neglect, the outer park is to be put on display again.


After Pückler’s Bad Muskau park got him into debt, he had to sell his Muskau estate and retire to his family’s non-transferable estate in Branitz at Cottbus. At sixty-one, he immediately began to redesign Branitz, calling the new layout of the landscape park »an artistic oasis in a desert.« Until he was very advanced in years, he continued to redesign the castle and park according to his grand design. The park continued to be tended, and was largely preserved in the state in which Pückler had left after his death in 1871.

During the GDR period, the park and its many expanses of water were endangered by the nearby Cottbus Nord mine, which caused the lowering of the groundwater level. That there was no permanent damage to the park was largely thanks to the efforts of Cottbus landscape architect Helmut Rippl. The outer park, however, was completely neglected. The park was converted or used for other purposes several times, and the original spatial structure was built on, altered, or overgrown by plants. After centuries of carelessness, the outer park was barely recognisable – and virtually forgotten.


In 2005, the Branitzer Park became an IBA project. In association with the »Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz« foundation, the Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus, and the city of Cottbus, the outer park has been brought to public attention again – both as part of the Branitzer Park and of the sculpted cultural language. The idea was to open up this almost lost place, put it on display, and make it into a listed agricultural and forestry park and cultural landscape for the future. Branitz can only be perceived as a single unified artwork when visitors can experience the interaction and succession of the meadowland, the outer and inner park, and the Schloss’s »pleasure ground.«
The priority was to recreate the so-called Umfahrungsweg, which is a kind of approach that takes visitors slowly towards the castle. This opens up a round trip for coaches and cyclists from the Gutsökonomie (the foundation’s new visitor centre) via the Zollhaus, Kirschallee, Wappenhaus, Englische Allee, and back to the Gutsökonomie. Particularly important to the approach path were the lines of sight with the castle and the interplay of light and shadows, between fields, woods, and meadow areas. The focus was therefore on preserving the huge, individual old trees placed at important points in the landscape, and on clearing the area around him.

In the summer of 2007, the first part of the circular route to be restored was presented to the public – with the aid of a cycle tour of the Fürst Pückler Path (another IBA project). Further plans were produced for developing the Umfahrungsweg and the outer park. 2007 also saw the reopening of the historic Gutshof (manor) as a visitor centre, after extensive restoration.


The project envisages that anyone visiting the park in a few years will experience a fully restored outer park and be aware of a tangible connection between Branitz’s historical cultural landscape and the future »Cottbuser Ostsee« (today still the Cottbus-Nord open-cast mine). The presently missing approach road stretch on the height of the Branitzer Siedlung will be filled in, completing the approach road. The »Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz« foundation’s aim is for the park to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with its counterpart in Bad Muskau – which has already been given this title.

Opening times

Park open all the year round
01 November - 31 March
Castle: Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 05.00 p.m.
Royal Stables: Closed
01 April - 31 October
Castle: Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.
Royal Stables: Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.


Park freely accessible; castle: adult 3.50 Euro, reduces 2.50 Euro, children 1.25 Euro


Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz
Robinienweg 5
03042 Cottbus


Go by car to Pückler's Branitz or by public transportation:

VBB fahrinfo - Link (mit Vorbelegung)
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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13