~ Augustusburg & Falkenlust, 26.08.2023 ~

The palace Augustusburg and the nearby hunting lodge Falkenlust in the city of Brühl were built by the Wittelsbach Archbishop of Cologne Clemens August I.

It was built on the site of a former water castle; construction started in 1725, and it would become one of Germany's finest rococo monuments – albeit Clemens August I didn't live to see the building's completion.

The preserved & maintained 18th century garden was as popular with geese as with human visitors. The herd of white stags that used to roam the forest-like park is gone, however.

Augustusburg's southern façade faces the parterre, and a long axis/line of sight runs far into the distance, between flower beds, box hedges, over shallow pools of water and out through the forested park.

The court d'honneur around the corner now looks towards a rail station, built by the Hohenzollerns during the 19th century for a visit of Queen Victoria.

A guided tour leads visitors through the interior of the palace, beginning in a winter apartment. Back when the palace was in use, guests' carriages would have been drawn into the vestibule, from which they would have ascended the dazzling staircase.

At the top of the staircase awaits a procession of representative halls, tall and excessively decorated – first a guard room, then one with a balcony that could be used for musical performances.

A spacious antechamber follows, with a small chapel off to the right.

To the left is an enfilade of elaborate chambers, their panelled and decorated walls often hung with tapestries.
My photos generally don't do them justice, but it was difficult to get broad shots with the crowd of visitos around.

The enfilade terminates in a private chamber, next door to which is a smaller, but very ornate room with Clemens August's private ollection of porcelain figures and seashells. The guided tour then reveals a hidden door for servants, which leads through a few unornamented rooms to a smaller, more practical staircase. Downstairs is a summer dining room, and another entire apartment.

Save for the tiled chamber at the end, the combination of colours and materials in this apartment wasn't very good-looking. However, it was nice to see the paintung used as the Wikipedia picture of Clemens August I. in real life.

Thus concluded the tour of Augutusburg Palace.

I took a brief detour through the city to find a place where to eat lunch, as it was well past noon by this time. I didn't explore it properly, but my impression of Brühl was of a city badly damaged by the war, with a few nice corners left standing.

Some 2.5 km or half an hour out from Augustusburg Palace is Falkenlust Palace, a hunting lodge/pleasure palace built also by prince-elector Clemens August I.

Taking a left turn from the main axis of the main palace, the path leads out through the grand forest-avenue. The path is cut in half by railroads and a road nowadays, circumvented by an underpass. At the end of the tree- and flower-lined avenue stands Falkenlust.

The building truly displays its lords' affinities and identity. Right after the vestibule is an octagonal hall covered in blue-white tiles with the Wittelsbach coat of arms, nowadays known for being Bavaria's, and between paintings of Clemens August I with his falcons. An adjacent chamber has more of these.

Another, smaller chamber is decorated with lacquered panels. The staircase that leads up to the first floor is once again very expressive: tiled from top to bottom with the Wittelsbacher coat of arms and various pictures of falcons and falconers.

The first floor's layout is largely the same as the bottom floor's: a smaller but richly decorated antechamber connecting to a spacious octogonal room, a large chamber, and a smaller corner salon.

This mirror cabinet, further decorated with pieces of porcelain, is a little too cramped and awkwardly cut to develop and effect other than confusion, but it's a very unique and impressive kind of confusion, at least.

It bears repeating that falconry imagery is all over the little palace. From percing above windows and cartouches outside, over little stucco ornaments on the ceiling and countless tiles on the staircase, to portaits of Clemens August I's falcons, and of himself with them. It's very endearing.

I didn't walk around to see the other side, alas.

A little off stands a small chapel, whose ornament is largely composed of seashells (the prince-elector liked collecting them), while countless contrastingly-coloured pebbles create their background and fill panelled spaces. The interior uses darker colours to evoke a grotto, and mother-of-pearl creates shining highlights.