The very first trip that we took while staying in Germany was to the city of Kassel where we spent most of our time at the incredible Bergpark Wilhemshöhe. There are so many wonderful sights to see on the grounds of the largest European hillside park. Due to it’s size of 590 acres as well as the fact that it sprawls across a steep hill makes it a strenuous day of walking, but the views and historic sites are well worth the effort. The park is made up of four major points of interest, Schloss Wilhemshöhe, Lowenburg Castle, Hercules Statue, and the fountain and water feature that cascades down the hillside.
As you enter the sprawling estate, Schloss Wilhemshöhe looms large across the landscape as the prominent feature for anyone who enters the park. As the one-time summer home of Kaiser Wilhem II in the early 1900’s, this magnificent palace was originally built in the 12th century as a monastery and used as a castle for centuries before becoming the summer home of the aristocratic elite. There is no doubt as to the reason that this site with it’s beautiful gardens is still the site of many fairytale weddings, which was also the case on the day that we visited.
For us, the Lowenburg Castle was one of the highlights of our visit to Bergpark Wilhemshöhe. First of all, it was the first true castle that we visited while staying in Germany. It has all of the typical features that one would expect of a castle such as the turrets and fortress walls. In order to reach the castle, you have to walk through a relatively dense forest, which certainly fosters the images of the stories of the Brother’s Grimm who came from the area and whose museum can also be found in Kassel. Walking the grounds of the castle certainly provided all of the images that we had imagined when we envisioned ourselves travelling to Germany.
Hercules Statue is certainly a site that cannot be missed. Mostly due to it’s prominent location at the top of the hill and presiding above the cascading fountain, it can be seen from throughout the park. To reach the statue itself, you must scale a long series of stairs the climb steeply up the hill. We chose not to go all of the way to the top, mostly due to the fact that we had a single day in Kassel and we were quite exhausted at this point with all of the walking that we had done through the park. It was certainly an impressive sight to see.
Unfortunately for us, the cascading fountain was not running at the time that we visited, but it was still wonderful to see and we could imagine how impressive it must be when it is running. The thought that the statue and the cascading fountain were created in the early 1700’s is something truly hard to imagine. We can only imagine what it must have been like for the elite of Germany society to visit to walk along the grounds and see such an amazing sight.
Kassel was definitely a worthwhile location for our first exploration of Germany outside of Frankfurt. Specifically Bergpark Wilhemshöhe was truly incredible to see with everything that is located inside of this incredible UNESCO Heritage site.