Monday, October 15, 2007

I Visit Schloss Benrath, a Palace in Dusseldorf

It was a sunny Sunday, and I decided to take a train to Schloss Benrath, a UNESCO world heritage site that I had never heard of until I went to Dusseldorf. The train took only about 10 minutes from the city center, and from there it was a short walk.

The palace on the grounds was built by Nicolas de Pigage, a French architect, just before the American Revolution. Well, for about 20 years before the Americans Revolution, as the construction took a long time to finish. This was a pretty exciting place to visit. If it were in France, they would be bringing in tourists by the busload.

I decided to take an interior tour, which didn't tell me much as it was all in German, though they gave me a printed sheet in English with some facts. I learned that the palace had been built for the Elector Palatine, whose busy schedule only allowed him time to visit the palace just once, and then only for five hours. He had a number of houses, and I suppose enough money to allow him to build more in the chance that perhaps he might need it. Eventually it ended up in the hands of the Prussian royal family who sold it to the town of Benrath around World War I, and the house and gardens were established as a park by the town.

In order to keep the floors nice during the tour, we had to put on huge felt slippers over our shoes. We glided from room to room--sort of like ice skating--pretty well polishing the floors as we went. The park outside the palace is huge, and there were dozens of people out for a walk. As an American, I found it strange that everyone walked on the paths, and no one walked on the lawn, although there weren't any signs.

I enjoyed looking around outside, and was quite taken with the roof ornament from an out building pictured to the left, which seemed quite modern and not unlike Russia's sputnik. I considered, but rejected the notion that the builder had been visited by aliens, but the effect was quite unusual. I had never seen anything like it before.

There were also a number of very interesting plants on the grounds. The plant to the right looked like holly, but the berries were blue. If you have any interest in plants, you can click on the picture and you wil be taken to a new webpage where the pcture will appear but much larger.

The USA has only three manmade structures on the UNESCO list: Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty, and the Pueblos in Taos.


Blogger Praguetwin said...

I love those slippers. They have them in all the little castles here.

Oct 18, 2007, 4:21:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

They must be safer than I imagined. Perhaps too much imagination, but I envisioned someone taking an enthusiastic couple of steps and flying up in the air!

Oct 22, 2007, 11:58:00 PM  

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