The Baroque garden
The Gottorf castle island was surrounded by splendid gardens in the 17th century. The West Garden and Old Garden were already developed south of the island during the late 16th century and as of 1637 - so as to speak during the Thirty Years’ War - Duke Friedrich III had his court gardener Johannes Clodius (1584-1660) establish a further, very special garden, the so-called New Work, some 500 metres to the north of the castle island. Initially, the garden only consisted of the Herkules pond, a ground level ground floor with an octagonal pavilion in the centre and a higher placed garden terrace. This was the predecessor of today’s Baroque garden.
Friedrich III, under whose sovereignty Gottorf not only rose to become one of the most significant royal courts in North Europe, but also became a cultural and scientific centre, had this small garden established in order to be able to show several plant species still viewed as exotic there during the 17th century. How exceptional the plant diversity in this garden was is shown in a historic plant atlas, the so-called Gottorf Codex, ordered from the Hamburg flower painter Hans Simon Holtzbecker (died 1671) by Friedrich III.
From a magnificent Baroque garden to riding grounds
At around 1650, a magnificent Lusthaus was built on the peak of the semi-circular retaining wall in late renaissance style, where the Gottorf Globe is placed in 1654 after reconstruction.
The garden is subject to far-reaching changes under Friedrich’s son, Duke Christian Albrecht, as of 1660: it is expanded with four terraces to the north, the neighbouring forest areas to the east and west are terraced and integrated into the garden concept.
The terraces obtain a hierarchical path system with magnificent flights of steps, cascades and fountains as well as a complex inner structure with box trees in the side ground floors.
Michael Tatter, Christian Albrecht’s gardener designs the garden fully within the sense of absolutistic though, thus following the Versailles role model. Christian Albrecht finally had a further Lusthaus, the Amalienburg, erected on the highest terrace in order to round-off the garden optically.
To the east of the Herkules pond, a grotto is constructed in the late 17th century and reconstructed as a small temple during the 18th century. With this, the garden has reached its greatest display of splendour.
With the removal of the globe and the related destruction of the Globe house in 1713, the garden’s destiny appears to be sealed. Under the regency of the Danish governor, the garden was simplified, however it was basically kept as it was.
The Baroque garden was only subjected to far-reaching changes when Gottorf became a Prussian barracks after the German-Danish war in 1864. Thus, the terraces were in-part filled up with earth: the area server the Prussian garrison as riding grounds.