The Palace Park

Image Credits

A landscape painting

Eggenberg Park, with its picturesque woodland sceneries and sweeping lawns, has preserved its poetic character as a living landscape painting as it was originally conceived in the 19th century. After 1810, Eggenberg Palace was only occupied for a few weeks in the year. It was Johann Hieronymus Count Herberstein and his wife Marie Henriette who initiated the ambitious transformation of the formal Baroque gardens into an English style landscape garden.

After 1820, Jérôme Count Herberstein commissioned two head gardeners from Silesia, Franz Matern and Friedrich Wägener, to design an English landscape garden that should represent the romantic ideals of the new era, "...a perfect landscape=painting" composed to recreate nature in all its diversity. In this era the Baroque garden was now viewed as a rigid formal system alienated from the natural landscape, whereas the romantic garden represented the idealised beauty of unconstrained nature.

For this very reason, the straight alleys, hedge maze and Baroque garden terrace were all removed to make way for winding paths leading through shrubberies of exotic plants and attractive architectural features. Created as a vantage point, an artificial hill covered with roses and conifers was constructed in the gardens at Eggenberg in 1835. A wooden "parasol" provided shade for those wanting to sit and take in the views after walking up the winding path to its summit. Picturesque sceneries of woodland groves and solitaires merged with open lawns and a delightful pond to create magnificent vistas.

The 20th Century

Interest in the garden began to wane at the beginning of the 20th century and it was slowly turned into a simple municipal park. Its basic structure did remain after the estate was purchased by the State of Styria in 1939, but many of the architectural features and areas requiring a great deal of regular care were lost. Not long ago, there was even serious doubt as to its survival as a cultural monument. Then in 1993 Eggenberg Palace and the Austrian Federal Office for the Care of Monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt) were finally able to draw up a restoration manual for the park to secure its maintenance and reconstruction as a romantic cultural monument. And work is now being carried out to secure the precious stocks of plants and trees and, wherever possible, also restore the lost features of the garden. Since 2000, extensive measures have been taken to supplement and reconstruct the woodland groves, pond and vistas in the gardens. Further restoration projects have included the so-called Master's Garden at the back of the Palace and the garden in front of the southern pavilion. The reconstruction of the Rose Mound in winter 2007/2008 signifies the return of what was once regarded as the biggest 19th century attraction of the historic Eggenberg gardens.