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Masterpieces of landscape design

Much of the impetus behind the development of garden art in the modern age came from the architectural history of the palaces and their parks. One of the most important periods in the development of European garden art was the Renaissance, when numerous, mostly exotic ornamental plants were imported to create lavish gardens and parks. The magnificent cascade in the grounds of Wilhelmshöhe Palace in Kassel was a leading attraction in 18th century Europe. Together with the romantic upland park and manicured gardens, it now forms part of a stunning ensemble of landscape architecture.
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Wilhelmshöhe Palace & Park, Kassel

A trip to Italy provided the inspiration for what is now Kassel's première visitor attraction. As soon as Landgrave Karl von Hessen-Kassel set eyes upon the monumental statue of Hercules in Rome, he was smitten. The task of turning the Landgrave's dream into reality fell to an architect from Rome called Giovanni Francesco Guerniero, who created a masterpiece of nature and architecture in the Habichtswald hills between 1701 and 1711. Towering atop a steep 527-metre peak is the Octagonal Palace with the famous Hercules at its very tip. From here, water gushes down a magnificent cascade, passing plateaus and grottos before emptying into the “Neptune basin”. In 1785 Elector Wilhelm I set about transforming the surrounding scenery into the wild and romantic upland forest park we see today, with its water features, embankments and bridges. Wilhelmshöhe Palace, to which he lent his name, is today a museum with an impressive collection of Old Masters.
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Bad Pyrmontspa gardens

This gem of garden art in the Weserbergland hills is considered one of Europe's five most beautiful parks. With an arrangement of baroque boulevards interspersed with classic English garden features, it never fails to inspire. The 17-hectare park is home to woodland of rare diversity with around 300 species. Another highlight is the mediterranean-style Palm Garden. The first trees were rooted here in 1903, and the population has since grown to include over 300 huge palms plus a multitude of potted plants. Every year, around a quarter of a million flowers and plants are displayed in the decorative beds.
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  1. Bad Pyrmontspa gardens
  2. Wilhelmshöhe Palace & Park, Kassel