Some of the most famous gardens in the world are located in major European cities. Here I’ll take a look at three of the most impressive gardens:-
The Palace of Versailles needs little introduction to most people. Located on the outskirts of Paris, the garden of Versailles has been described as “the most famous garden in the world”. Designed by André Le Nôtre and laid out between 1664 and 1700 for King Louis XIV, the scale of the garden is monumental. It is the prime example of French Baroque style with immaculate parterres, great basins, an orangery, a vast collection of outdoor sculpture and some of the grandest fountains which have ever been made. Since 1992, the gardens have been gradually replanted, and restored to their original appearance.
Salzburg’s famous Mirabell Gardens date back to the early 17th Century. They were built outside the medieval walls of Salzburg following Italian and French models. The gardens were remodelled over the years and the palace received its current name from the Italian: mirabile, bella, “amazing”, “wonderful”. The current Neoclasical appearance dates from about 1818, when the palace was restored after a fire. The gardens were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854. The Pegasus Fountain, a work by Kaspar Gras from Innsbruck, was installed in 1913. In its geometrically arranged gardens are mythology themed statues dating from 1730 and four groups of sculpture by the Italian sculptor Ottavio Mosto. Several scenes from the film The Sound of Music were recorded here, making the gardens a “must see” for many visitors to the city.
Moving on to Spain and Granada’s famous Alhambra. The Alhambra and the Generalife are testimony to the Muslim Spain of the 16th century. The Generalife was the sultans’ summer retreat and is composed of a series of large gardens. Highlights include the cypresses carved into shadowy walls and archways, the incredible water gardens with reflecting pools and perfectly mastered jets of water. The Generalife Gardens were designed for peace and tranquility, with everywhere the trickle of running water cooling the senses and the scent of flowers and flowering trees calming the mind and body.
A trio of wonderful gardens – all quite different but each one glorious in its own way. In another blog I’ll take a look at some wonderful city parks which grace many of our favourite European cities.