I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Germany and thought I would share my experiences and what I had learnt. Alongside my lectures, I had the opportunity to tour the cities of the Ruhr Valley and Schwerin with friends and hosts. At the top of my sightseeing was the majestic building of Schwerin Castle.
Situated on the city’s main lake, Schweriner See, the castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and lakeside views. With architecture representing times from the Medieval and Gothic era, the castle truly creates magnificent scenery depicted from a fairy-tale.
Schwerin Castle has been home to dukes and royalty for centuries and its walls hold a rich history. In the 20th century Schwerin Castle was a college. My tour guide and host, Anneli Ward, tells me about the time she spent living in the castle whilst her parents worked there. Who better to show me around such a magnificent building than a previous resident of seventeen years!
“Schwerin Castle used to be a school for Kindergarten teachers. My dad was a teacher in the castle, and my mother a house mistress. For my siblings and me the castle was a huge play ground that we could explore when the students were away.”
“The castle suffered a devastating fire in 1913 where a third of the castle was destroyed. Restoration work is still on going. Its biggest problem is subsidence because of its location but a lot of money has been invested in slowing it down. Schwerin Castle is now the seat of the local parliament”
Within the castle there are some interesting features and my favourite had to be the lover’s chairs. With two seats built next to each other but facing opposite directions, the chairs were designed to promote modesty between couples and people sat next to each other. The high ceilings decorated with elaborate paper mâché surround the chandeliers hanging in the centre of the grand rooms. The heating and pipe work in the throne room are cleverly positioned behind doors subtly hidden within the walls. Ornate cast iron doors lead from one hall to the next. Most of the building retains its original character but since the early seventies, the castle is used as a museum and hosts art exhibitions.
“The beautiful floral cabinet room on the ground floor has access to the lovely gardens dedicated to the memory of the Duke’s first wife. In the library there is a secret passage way behind the bookcases which used to be the private access for Duke when he visited his wife who resided on the second floor.”
“The popular legend of a ghost, said to resemble a dwarf because of its very short height, ‘Little Peter’ is said to roam the halls of Schwerin Castle supposedly defending it from enemies.”