»Wörlitz is neither a regional nor a German attraction; it is a European, a world issue...«
wrote the art historian Wilhelm van Kempen in 1925
With his reform programme Prince Franz intended to promote his land and educate the people.
The great Jewish son of the city of Dessau, Ludwig Philippson, wrote in his autobiography about the effect of the Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Kingdom on his educational background:
"All around the city splendid parks and gardens with castles holding collections of art treasures, all open to the public at any time without restrictions... As a matter of course all these well-kept arrangements had an early effect on the development of good taste, gave direction to the youthful mind, which it could follow later on, and imparted the people a certain decency, a certain dignity, which also left behind a moral effect... So the public education, science and art-as one could also find competent painters here-were highly taken care of."
Up to the present day the visitor to the Wörlitz Park can experience that buildings, visual connections between chosen sites, small temples, busts, allegorical figures, and designed nature can take an inspiring effect on everyone in his own way.
The Gothic House, as an example, was built directly affter the classical Castle had been inaugurated in 1773. It was created in order to place the Old German collections of the dynasty. The older part, the Canal front, depicts the reproduction of an impression of a journey; a reminiscence of one of the most beautiful Gothic churches of Northern Italy, Maria dell' Orto (Maria in the garden), in Venice. One should not miss one of the most important wide-ranging views that catch the eye right in front of the entrance door (above it used to be Franz's study). In 1785 the extension of the building to the South needed to take place in order to create the museum and place the collection of Late Gothic glass paintings. Due to this addition the whole structure got many angles, therefore appearing to be a real Gothic building. The architectural style predominantly used for the Gothic House is the Tudor Gothic (brick style). Thanks to this construction, Wörlitz also became the starting point for the Neo-Gothic style in Germany.
The Stair Bridge, or White Bridge, which was built following a bridge designed by Chambers in the Kew Gardens, is one of originally 16 different constructions spanning bodies of water throughout the Park. This educational programme displays the architectural development of the bridges: thereunder the earliest form of crossing a river-the ford-and a replication of the then most modern iron Coalbrookdale Bridge leading over the Severn (Western England). Among the designs and examples of replicas that can be found in Wörlitz, there also belongs a simple tree trunk bending over the water, a drawbridge (restored in October 2001) and a swing bridge (no longer existing), the house built on a bridge construction spanning water, the pontoon bridge, the Renaissance, Baroque, and the Classical bridge.
Yet, in 1797 the philologist and writer Karl August Böttiger characterised the Temple of Venus as the "most beautiful and measured structure of the whole Park". Its archetype, the Temple of the Sybil in Tivoli, has repeatedly been copied in different gardens in England and in 1774 a wooden replication was made in Wörlitz. Between 1794 and 1797 it was replaced by a Doric rotunda with 10 columns made of sandstone, making the temple an example of several temple constructions of that time. Inside the temple, which is open on all sides, one can find a plaster cast of the Venus de Medici (Goddess of Beauty and Love).
The predominant example of architecture of the Flora Garden is the Temple of Flora. It was designed following the Ruin Temple situated above the source of the Clitumno River in Umbria. In honour of the Goddess of Flowers this part of the Park is decorated with many pretty flower beds, which usually are rather rare in landscape parks.
These few examples already show, that the visitor to the Wörlitz Park can expext new artistical immpressions, stimuli, beautiful spots, and need-to-knows at every turn. Apart from that, in the permanent exhibitions in the museum inside the Wörlitz Castle, the Gothic House, and in the Gallery next to the Grey House (special exhibitions) one can view precious paintings, collections, and objects of art. A very special artistic pleasure are the concerts on the Wörlitz Lake. During the warm season the orchestra and the auditors go out on the lake in gondolas, where they can have the summer evening die away slowly with Classsical music in the middle of a truly romantic secenery.