Which castle resisted an air attack but not the East German land reform?

Rittergut Meuselwitz / Meuselwitz Manor (c) Museum Burg Posterstein
Rittergut Meuselwitz / Meuselwitz Manor (c) Museum Burg Posterstein

Between 1724 and 1724 the German statesman Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff (1626-1692) let build a castle with park and orangery on his manor in Meuselwitz. A baroque gate led into the estate.

Von Seckendorff, born in Herzogenaurach, had graduated at a grammar school in Gotha, Thuringia, and was later on supported by Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg. During the Thirty Years’ War the Swedes executed his father in Salzwedel because of high treason. Von Seckendorff studied philosophy, law and history in Strasbourg. In 1655 he published his book “Der deutsche Fürstenstaat“, a handbook of German public law. This book, which long time had been a benchmark for political science at German universities, was already in von Seckendorffs lifetime published in several editions.

From 1651 to 1663 he achieved a number of important functions at the duke’s court in Gotha. In 1664 he started working for the duke Maurice of Zeitz (†1681). In 1680 he stopped working as a chancellor and retired to his estate in Meuselwitz. But he still had political positions as a chief tax collector in Altenburg and as landscape director. In 1685 his book “Christenstaat“ (the Christian state) was published. Shortly before his dead he was appointed to chancellor of the new founded university in Halle. He died in Halle and was buried in the church in Meuselwitz at December 30th in 1692.

Under an air attack against Meuselwitz at February 20th in 1945 the economical buildings of Meuselwitz Manor were badly damaged. The castle itself suffered from only small damages.  But as a consequence of the East German land reform in 1945 all buildings were pulled down. Only the badly damaged orangery and the well preserved baroque gate were conserved. In spite of protests from the local office for preservation of historical monuments the gate was pulled down, too, in 1950. The orangery could be restored by Walter Gruner, an architect from Leipzig, in 1957. An historic mill, belonging to the old estate, was pulled down in 1988. The free space, where Meuselwitz manor once had been standing, is today used as a parking space.

View the about 60 manors of the county of Altenburg on our google map: http://tiny.cc/o27p6.

Read more about castles and manor houses in Altenburg region in the following books, which can be bought in the museum or ordered per e-mail to info@burg-posterstein.de:

Das alte Schloss sehn wir noch heut…
Aus der Geschichte der Rittergüter im Altenburger Land (Teil II)
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2010

…Und nachmittags fuhren wir nach Nöbdenitz segeln!
Rittergüter im Altenburger Land und ihre Gärten
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2007

Text: Marlene Hofmann / Museum Burg Posterstein

Who was buried under a tree?

Die 1000jährige Eiche von Nöbdenitz / the 1000 year old oak of Nobdenitz (c) Museum Burg Posterstein
Die 1000jährige Eiche von Nöbdenitz / the 1000 year old oak of Nobdenitz (c) Museum Burg Posterstein

In Nobdenitz, a small village in Eastern Thuringia, stands an old oak tree. People say that it is about 1000 years old. Last year the local authorities fitted the tree with further support columns to match the requirements of the German traffic regulations. The so called “1000 year old oak” is hollow inside – and houses a minister’s grave.

Nobdenitz once had a manor, which in the 12th century was mentioned fort he first time. The former medieval mouted castle was later converted into a castle. Awhile manor in Nobdeniz was owned by the minister Hans Willhelm von Thummel (1744-1824). Between 1803 and 1808 he was – with diplomatic mission – travelling to Denmark, Berlin, Königsberg (Kaliningrad), Dresden and Paris. As a friend of the duke Ernst from Saxony-Gotha and Altenburg (1745-1804) his influence on court was huge. Today he is still known because of his engagement in the county: He founded one of the first banks (Kammerleihbank), supported the building of roads, mapped the region and founded the local hospital in Altenburg.

East from Nobdenitz castle Thummel had a pleasure garden. From here visitors had a straight-lined view alongside a way to a summer house. A path along the lake invited the guest to dander. Friends of the family, as the duchess Dorothea of Courland (http://www.facebook.com/burgposterstein?v=app_2344061033#!/event.php?eid=166366573376663&index=1), who had a castle near-by in Lobichau, liked to visit Nobdenitz to sail on the lake and to enjoy the view of the old and the new castle.

Before his dead Hans Willhelm von Thummel decided to get buried at an inconvenient place – under the oak of Nobdenitz. He bought the tree from the local church and let arrange a grave between the trees roots. This grave was inspected in 1959 by the local teacher and historian Ernst Braunlich. He documented that there was a small oratory with a wooden bench inside the hollow tree, to commemorate the death. The body lies in a coffin parallel to the street. Today one can only look at the 1000 year old oak from outside. A tablet tells its story.

As a consequence of the East German land reform in 1945 the Nobdenitz Manor’s owners were expropriated. The new castle and large parts of the economical buildings were pulled down. A mausoleum from 1782, the Thummel’s family grave, was pulled down in the end of the 1960s. The manor house, dating back to 1692, still exists and is now used as the communal administration department.

View the about 60 manors of the county of Altenburg on our google map: http://tiny.cc/o27p6.

Read more about castles and manor houses in Altenburg region in the following books, which can be bought in the museum or ordered per e-mail to info@burg-posterstein.de:

Das alte Schloss sehn wir noch heut…
Aus der Geschichte der Rittergüter im Altenburger Land (Teil II)
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2010

…Und nachmittags fuhren wir nach Nöbdenitz segeln!
Rittergüter im Altenburger Land und ihre Gärten
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2007

Text: Marlene Hofmann / Museum Burg Posterstein

What does a sphinx in the county of Altenburg?

Die Sphinx von Prößdorf / the sphinx of Proessdorf (c) Museum Burg Posterstein
Die Sphinx von Prößdorf / the sphinx of Proessdorf (c) Museum Burg Posterstein

In the 15th century a knight’s residence in Proessdorf was mentioned in the records for the first time. The manor’s high period started in 1818, when Carl Heinrich von Tettenborn bought the property. He was said to be a strong admirer of fine arts like architecture, sculpture and painting. He decorated the buildings and the park according to his taste. That included enlargement and rearrangement of the park. After Tettenborns treatment shady access balconies decorated the pleasure garden. An antic pavilion invited the guests to stay. Grots, a number of statues as lions and a sphinx as well as small fountains decorated the park. Exotic plants of all kind blossomed in beds and flower buckets.

The castle Proessdorf, dating back to 18th century, was converted into an apartment building in 1969. The estate buildings, which were built in the 19th century, were expanded in 1906/07. As a consequence of the East German land reform the manor’s owner were expropriated. In the following time the farm buildings were pulled down bit by bit, lastly in 1998. By the installation of apartments between 1969 and 1973 the castle was strongly deformed. Rests of the impressing port are still remaining.

View the about 60 manors of the county of Altenburg on our google map: http://tiny.cc/o27p6.

Read more about castles and manor houses in Altenburg region in the following books, which can be bought in the museum or ordered per e-mail to info@burg-posterstein.de:

Das alte Schloss sehn wir noch heut…
Aus der Geschichte der Rittergüter im Altenburger Land (Teil II)
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2010

…Und nachmittags fuhren wir nach Nöbdenitz segeln!
Rittergüter im Altenburger Land und ihre Gärten
© Museum Burg Posterstein 2007

Text: Marlene Hofmann / Museum Burg Posterstein