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City Breaks: Online Travel Guide for Dessau
you walk in the sublime 18th century landscape parks and gardens in the English style,
watch beavers building dams,
The philosopher Moses Mendelssohn was born in Dessau. He was the model for Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Nathan the Wise and the grandfather of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
The composer Kurt Weill came from Dessau, too.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, the enlightened Prince Leopold III. Friedrich Franz and his architect Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorf built spacious landscape parks and gardens in the surroundings of Dessau, on the Elbe and Mulde rivers. In these parks and gardens in the English style, you walk along buildings, lakes and ponds, on avenues and artfully designed paths, passing meadows and trees, lookouts and views.
The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Woerlitz includes
the palace and park of Mosigkau,
the landscape garden of Gross-Kuehnau,
the Georgium palace and the Georgen garden,
the Luisium palace and park ,
the park and gardens of Woerlitz,
the palace and park of Oranienbaum.
The Dessau Woerlitz Garden Kingdom is part of the Unesco World Heritage.
Georgium palace houses the Anhalt Art Gallery. Here you see the pictures of medieval German and Dutch masters, amongst them contemporaries of Duerer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Baldung Grien.
Nearby in the Querallee avenue, surrounding the mausoleum, you find the Dessau zoo.
Oranienbaum is located ca. 8.4 miles from Dessau and ca. 3.6 miles from Woerlitz. The palace is open to visitors with changing exhibitions and events. The Oranienbaum Baroque ensemble was built end of the 17th century for the duchess, who was a member of the Dutch Oranje dynasty. Then, the Netherlands were rich and powerful: Oranienbaum palace is witness to the Dutch economical and cultural influence on the dukedom of Anhalt-Dessau.
Direct, you travel about 10.8 miles from Dessau to Woerlitz.
You hike or cycle across the Garden Kingdom. In summer, you swim in the open air swimming pools of Gross-Kuehnau or Mosigkau. In the lake of the "Strandbad Adria", you can dive to a wreck lying 23 feet deep.
On Wednesdays, weekends and bank holidays, the Dessau Woerlitz Railways takes you from Dessau station via the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve and the "Strandbad Adria" to Oranienbaum and Woerlitz. There is a bus service during the rest of the week.
On weekends in summer, there is a series of concerts in the Luisium palace, the palace of Oranienbaum, Mosigkau palace and at the lake in the Woerlitz park.
The Dessau-Woerlitz Garden Kingdom was the first landscape garden created outside of England.
Designed by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus building in Dessau was erected in 1925/26.
Walter Gropius also was the architect of the Masters' Houses nearby. The Masters' Houses were the homes of Walter Gropius, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Georg Muche, Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.
The interior of the Bauhaus building and the Masters' Houses are open for visitors.
In the Feininger House you find the Kurt Weill Center. Here you see an exhibition on the composer's life and work.
In the Masters' House Kandinsky/Klee, you find a documentation on the two artists and examples of their work.
There are changing exhibitions in the Bauhaus Building.
The Bauhaus building and the Masters' Houses are part of the Unesco World Heritage.
In the southern part of town, in "Dessau-Sued", you walk through the fairly well preserved Bauhaus housing development area "Toerten" with terraced houses and access gallery residential buildings.
The Dessau Labor Exchange of 1928/1929 was designed by Walter Gropius.
On the Elballee avenue, in the "Kornhaus" you dine in Bauhaus style. The excursion restaurant was erected in 1929/1930.
The Technology Museum "Hugo Junkers" shows regional industrial and aviation history.
Ferropolis at the shut down open pit mine Golpa-Nord revives memories of brown coal mining and its rolling stock and excavators.
Between the Elbe and Mulde rivers, you find backwater, floodplain meadows and the most extensive Central European floodplain forest.
Beavers, water fowl, fish, amphibians live here, rare plants thrive.
At the beaver open air enclosure you watch beavers in their natural habitat.
On Wednesdays, weekends and bank holidays, the Dessau Woerlitz Railways takes you from Dessau station to the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve. There is a bus service during the rest of the week.
Theater, Concerts, Exhibitions
The Anhalt Theater presents musical, operetta and opera, plays, dance theater and the concerts of the Anhalt Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Anhalt Art Gallery in the Georgium palace displays medieval German, Dutch and Flemish masters, contemporaries of Duerer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Baldung Grien.
Mosigkau palace owns an art collection of the 17th and 18th century amongst others pictures by Rubens and Anton van Dyk. Mosigkau Palace and Park belong to the few preserved Rococco Ensembles.
The Moses Mendelssohn Center shows exhibitions on the life and work of Moses Mendelssohn and on Dessau Jewish history. The seat of the center is a Bauhaus building in the southern part of town, "Dessau-Sued".
The Jewish philosopher of the enlightenment Moses Mendelssohn was born in Dessau in 1729. He went to Berlin when he was 14 years old. In 1743 he married Fromet Guggenheim, his sons Joseph and Abraham were bankers, his daughter Dorothea was married to the Romantic writer Friedrich Schlegel, his grandchildren were the composers Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Fanny Hensel ...
Kurt Weill, son of the synagogue cantor, was born in Dessau in 1900. In 1918 he went to Berlin for the first time, in 1933 he emigrated via Paris and London into the USA. You see an exhibition on the life and work of the composer in the Kurt-Weill Center in the Feininger Masters' House.
Every year, there is a Kurt-Weill Festival in Dessau in the first week of March.
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