A tour of discovery rich in blood

The corona crisis has taught us – access to a garden or public green space makes life easier and brings color and healthy fresh air into our daily lives. This is hardly different today, in the sign of the crisis, than it was over 300 years ago, when prince bishop lothar franz von schonborn (reg. 1693-1729) had planned the extension of the new residence on bamberger domberg. Naturally, a courtyard garden was not to be missed here.

The history of what is now known as the rose garden goes back even further. It begins already in the 16. Century. Today’s rosengarten goes back to the garden of the mengersdorfhof, a domherrenhof, which under bishop johann philipp von gebsattel (reg. 1599-1609) at the beginning of the 17. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the garden became the nucleus for the construction of the new courtyard on the cathedral hill. That garden was kept in the classical forms of the renaissance: small paths divided the flat area into rectangles with individual trees.

Under prince-bishop friedrich karl von schonborn (reg. 1729-1746), the garden was transformed in 1733 according to the plans of balthasar neumann into a garden in the taste of the baroque period. On an elevated terrace, which reached as far as the old renaissance building, there was now a bosquet, i.E. A small "pleasure forest", with a fountain. The lower part of the garden consisted of geometric lawns and another fountain.

Subsequently, the ground level of the two gardens was levelled under the bamberg prince bishops, a uniform system of paths was laid out and the fountain was moved to the middle of the garden. The rose garden still has this structure today. From 1756, the court architect johann jakob michael kuchel erected a rococo garden pavilion, which has since closed off the grounds. The concentration on a planting with different types of roses took place only in the 19th century. Century under the wittelsbachs. Today there are 4500 roses of 50 different varieties in the courtyard garden of the residence.

For a short time, however, parts of the planting had to give way to sporting activities: tennis was one of the most popular leisure activities around 1900. For the upliftment of the bamberger population prince rupprecht liked to clear a part of the rose garden, in order to be able to devote himself to the noble sport at home in bamberg as well. Today, however, the rose garden can be visited again, thankfully, without an integrated sports field.

Rococo digs

Instead of the ball boys, visitors today – as in the late 18th century – bury the ball boys. Century – numerous figures by the important rococo sculptor ferdinand tietz, which make the rose garden a small panopticon of the greek-romanesque gothic world. The figures were commissioned by prince-bishop adam friedrich von seinsheim 1760/61. From an originally somewhat cruder program, eight goddess figures, three putti and a vase are still preserved today.

For conservation reasons, copies of these figures can be seen in the rose garden today. The originals have been buried by visitors since the reopening of the residence after the lockdown in a redesigned ferdinand-tietz-figure corridor. In the museum – so completely without the splashing of the fountain water and the scent of the roses – it is certainly not possible to trace the rococo work of art of the garden design with all senses as well as in the garden itself, but the museum presentation allows, so to speak, the encounter with the garden deities at eye level and without further distraction.

Also only possible in the museum is the charming contrast between the rococo sculptor tietz and the neighboring paintings of the baroque gallery and the works of his successor and probably also pupil michael trautmann. The sculptor was – almost unrecognizable – inspired by tietzen’s work, but after his return to bamberg in 1778, seems to have pursued a more strongly classicist conception of the figure.

As you can see, it is now even more worthwhile to combine a visit to the rosengarten with a flying visit to the new residence and to face the fantastic figures of ferdinand tietz eye to eye. If you want to continue your tour of ferdinand tietz, you should definitely pay a visit to the former prince-bishop’s hunting lodge and pleasure palace, seehof, at the gates of the city. In the spacious park and in the tietz museum in the orangery there are many other works of the sculptor


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