Borbeck Castle is a baroque water castle in the Borbeck district of Essen. Since the 14th century, it has been the preferred residence of the people of Essen and given its present outer form in the 18th century. Since the 1980s, it has been used as a venue for further education and cultural events.
Essen (German pronunciation: [ˈɛsn̩] (listen); Latin: Assindia) is the central and second largest city of the Ruhr, the largest urban area in Germany. Its population of 583,393 makes it the ninth largest city of Germany, as well as the fourth largest city of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The castle complex in Borbeck consists of a main house and an elongated farm building, which is located to the northeast of the main building. The two castle buildings are surrounded by a 42-Hektar castle park in English landscape style.
The three-storey main building is surrounded by a six to nine meter wide moat, which runs out north into a castle pond. It owes its current, sober appearance to renovation and expansion work in the first half of the 18th century. The northern part of the brightly plastered rectangular structure, with its two square corner towers and curly pediment from renaissance times, was later altered in baroque forms. The fragment masonry of its core building rises on a 16 × 18 meter measuring floor plan and was built in the middle of the 17th century. It is joined south by a five-axis extension, the construction of which was probably begun in 1744. The saddle roof of the building has a row of Gauben on both sloping roofs. At the southern end of his first is a roofer with a small bell. At both corners of the north facade, four-storey corner towers rise, completed by a curly hood with octagonal lantern. Both the towers and the building are emphasized by corner quays, which are now hidden under the plaster. A 13 meter stone bridge leads to the main portal. Dating back to the 19th century, it replaced a wooden bridge whose two-sided centre pillars of Haustein were reused. Above the castle entrance is the coat of arms of Franziska Christine von Palatin-Sulzbach, held by two lions, including the inscription:
„VON GOTTES GNADEN FRANZISCA CHRISTINA PFALTZ GRÄFIN BEŸ RHEIN VND D H R R FÜRSTIN VND ÄBTISSIN DER KAŸSERLICHEN FREŸ WELTLICHEN STIFTER ESSEN VND THORN IN BAŸERN ZV GVLICH CLEVE VND BERG HERZOGIN FÜRSTIN ZV MOERS GRÄFIN ZV VELDENZ SPONHEIM DER MARCK VND RAVENSBERG FRAV ZV RAVENSTEIN BREŸSIG RELLINGHAVSEN HVCKARDE ANNO 1744“
Northwest of the mansion stands a classicist cleaning building with a castle-like character. Built in 1842 on the site of an old stronghold, despite its stately appearance, it was always used for economic purposes. Its central building has three storeys, which are completed by a forest roof. The middle of its nine axes is particularly emphasized by a final triangular gable. This depicts renaissance stone heads from Horst Castle. Lower two-storey side wings are joined to the central building to the north and south.
The northwestern corner of the north wing is marked by a stone tower with a base of 5.90 × 5.90 meters. It is a relic of the former medieval suburb from the 14th/15th century and is one of the oldest buildings in Borbeck. It is to be assumed that in earlier times it had more than the three storeys preserved today. Originally, it probably had gun ranges on all four sides in the lower range. While its basement used to serve as a prison, there was a guard room with windows on the upper floor. One of them had a gothic pointed arch shape, which is now obscured by the attached wooden closure on the outside.
Borbeck’s palace park is considered one of the oldest parks in the Rheinlands, because the abbess Elisabeth von Manderscheid-Blankenheim had the beech forest, also called Fürstinnenbusch, which belongs to the castle, transformed into a forest park as early as the 16th century. Access to it is granted by a wrought iron lattice gate from the end of the 17th century, originally from Hugenpoet Castle. After standing at the main entrance of the castle complex from 1846, it was given its current location at the park entrance in the 1940s. In the upper part of the gate, the city coat of arms was taken over by Essen.
The palace park is designed as an English landscape garden and dates back to when Maria Kunigunde of Saxony the Essen pen presided over her abbess. In her time, she still owned water features, aviaries, a fake tomb, an artificial ruin as well as a small island in a swan pond. The source of the Borbecke, which feeds ditches and castle pond via a narrow stream, is still accessible today via winding paths. In the eastern area of the free park is the former box-sports resort Dubois-Arena, an open-air arena in the style of an amphitheatre, which is now used for events.
The gymnastics community of Borbeck first organized the Schlossparklauf in 1954, a sporting event for a park running of all ages. Since then, it has been held annually.
The city of Essen acquired the complex from the Fürstenbergs in 1941, to use it as the city administration’s offices after being rebuilt and restored in the 1950s and 1960s. With the exception of the vaulted cellar and some decorative interior elements that came from Horst Castle, the historical structure of the interior was lost in these construction works.
Since 1983, Borbeck Castle has served as a place of culture and encounter for the Essen citizenry. In addition to the Borbeck registry office, which maintains a dream room in the castle, and the Folkwang Music School, it also houses part of the municipal adult education center. The former farm building is regularly used for exhibitions and artisanal VHS courses. Concerts and lectures are also held in the castle.
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Other Castles in North Rhine-Westphalia
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