Had seen Schleswig from the other side of the forde, and it was so pretty from a distance. It just beckoned to me, and I was determined to see it up close next time I was in the area. A friend suggested we visit the Schloss Gottorf, and I was pleased to discover it was in Schleswig.
Allow yourself a whole day, and arrive at opening time. There is a lot to see. This was one of the most historically important of all the schloss, and the exhibits are first rate. The first gallery we visited was a whitewashed gothic arcade, which was just splendid for displaying the ancient carved wooden altarpieces and church statuary.
There is just so much to see here- paintings, portraits, carvings, a massive collection of faience ware organized by city of production, furniture, tapestries, weaponry and more.I was especially interested in the original charter document and casket for the rulers, and also a small but choice collection of ancient fabrics and embroideries. It was amazing to think that those fabrics were still in one piece after 700 years, and were still beautiful. One of the tower galleries has a fascinating echo, and I admit that my friend and I- neither of us children- took advantage of finding ourselves alone and had a ball testing it.
But the highlight of the Schloss is the stunning medieval chapel. It has been little altered since it was installed, and gives you a taste of the color and rich decorative technique of the middle ages. It was just spectacular. Apparently it's even available to rent for weddings. The "room" (room seems so....inadequate) after the chapel had a drop-dead gorgeous, intricate black and white ceiling, with carved 3d deer and stag around the walls.
There is a large archaeological museum in one wing, but we did not go to that. We chose to go to the art deco area, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Even the carpet was an original pattern, and there was furniture, decorative objects, and lots of lovely paintings from the era.
After a simple, but delicious, lunch in the cellar restaurant (good prices, btw), we walked out to the knot gardens, which were just coming into bloom. Unfortunately, the gardens are marred by an ultramodern concrete building which houses a giant globe, which is one of the treasures of the Schloss. I honestly thought it was a press box from a high school football stadium, and couldn't figure out for the life of me what it was doing transplanted in the middle of a terraced medieval knot garden in rural Germany. Entrance to view the globe is not included in the Schloss ticket, and was expensive, so we took a pass on that.
We also did not visit the atelier of the resident sculptor because, honestly, we couldn't figure out if it was open, and didn't want to intrude if it wasn't.
The old stable blocks now house a large collection of art, prints, and sculpture. We especially liked the beautiful Emile Nolde paintings, and a collection of powerful prints by Katte Kollwitz (sp?)
Our visit took five hours, and that was even skipping the archaeological part. We may have missed another building of art, too. The landscaping is pleasant, gardens are nice, there are several pretty lakes and a sort of moat surrounding the castle.
Adjacent to the castle is the small Nydam Boot museum, included in the ticket, which houses a small Viking Museum. Check at the ticket counter to be sure it is open. it contains a reconstruction of a Viking ship, but it is exhibited in another town on a rotating basis, and when it is, the museum is closed. I regretted that the Nydam Boot did not have any English material, because I was very interested, but couldn't make head nor tail of what I was looking at in the exhibits.
Schleswig town itself is fairly small, but has a beautiful Old Town, which is worth parking and strolling through, if nothing else. The view from the promenade along the water is also really pretty and scenic.
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