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A paradise born of the Age of Enlightenment

The youthful Prince Friedrich Franz von Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817) was obsessed with the idea of turning his small realm into a paradise of the Age of Enlightenment. His garden kingdom at Wörlitz was more than just a wonderful park, however. It also provided the location for his pioneering educational institute: the “Philanthropinum”, which brought improvements in teacher training, relief for the poor and medical provision. In 1781, an academic bookshop was opened in Dessau, and in 1798, the architect Friedrich von Erdmannsdorff built a theatre in this blossoming centre of the arts – without the usual royal box.
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Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz

Noblemen, artists and horticulturalists journeyed from all over Europe to marvel at this glorious achievement. “Father Franz” also wanted Wörlitz's very own Garden of Eden to serve utilitarian purposes. It was made freely accessible to all his subjects, giving them the chance to better themselves amid natural surroundings. The pièce de résistance is the 112-hectare Wörlitz Park, tucked away in the sweeping meadowlands that now make up part of the Middle Elbe biosphere reserve. The park is punctuated with ponds, lakes and canals, and the experience of gliding silently across its waters in a punt is as special now as it ever was.
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  1. Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz