There are quite a few bridges in the park and not all of them are over waters - some go over paths and ravines. They blend well with the greenery around and add much variety to the park.
I was impressed with the Viaduct, which is the only construction in the park not planned by Puckler (built after he had sold Muskau). It is really huge and I couldn't help walking over it despite a warning about possible danger.
Another picturesque bridge is the Fuchsia bridge which is called so because of pots with fuchsias placed along it. Much smaller in size it catches your eye with vivid colours.
On a hill in the central part of the park we can see Puckler's stone. It was placed here about 1900 by the Arnims family to comemmorate the founder of the park. It seems as if still today Hermann von Puckler watched his beloved park from the height of the hill. And the view from here is really spectacular: the Neisse and the Double Bridge, the buildings of the New and Old Castle and beautiful landscape.
While admiring the view let's think for a while about the man whose life-ambition was to create the best park ever. If he lived today, perhaps he would join VT, because travelling was his second passion. It turns out that he brought from his journeys not only vast knowledge of parks and gardens. From one of his trips he brought a girl that he had bought on a slave-market in Sudan. He decided to teach her Italian and for some time she was his travel-companion in a boy's disguise. In the end, Machbuba died of tuberculosis in Muskau when Puckler was away. After returning home full of sorrow he called one of the paths in the park Cara's Path, because he used to write letters to the girl which started: " Cara mia Machbuba".
Although the difference between the German side and the Polish one is visible, it results from the original guidelines: the further from the residential zone (which is situated on the German side) the wilder the park should be. But also here the man's care can be noticed: well-kept paths, stone benches in places offering the best views, old branches removed. It's true that there are no marked trails, but equipped with a map received in the information point at the entrance you can find your way quite easily. By the way, there is no entrance fee to the park. You can enter it from both sides: German and Polish and cross the border within the park's premises, on the Double Bridge (Doppelbrucke).
The orangery was one of the last constructions built by Puckler in the park. It comes from 1844 and a year later, due to financial problems, Puckler had to sell Muskau.
After WWII the orangery was converted to a youth club and hostel and now it houses the foundation "Furst Puckler Park Stiftung". So we had to make do with a stroll among flowerbeds and pot-plants by the orangery.
Not far from it there is a small restaurant (I think the only in the park) with simple dishes, cakes and drinks.
Beyond the residential zone of the park there was so called pleasureground. It is a big area with an artificially formed river, called Hermann's Neisse, and an artificial lake. They were designed to give more variety to the landscape.
I loved a little lake called the Lake of Oaksbecause it is surrounded by old oak-trees. It looks very picturesque and romantic.
The Old Castle used to be a part of a castle complex where judiciary tasks were performed and taxes collected.
Today it houses a museum of Bad Muskau history and tourist information office. The staff are helpful and you can get here some information brochures and buy postcards, maps and souvenirs.
Over the entrance we can see an interesting stone coat of arms of two noble families: the Dohny and Callenberg.
The main principle in designing landscape parks is an introduction of zones. The first zone consists of residential buildings surrounded by gardens which are meant to be the extension of the interiors.
The New Castle modelled on a fortress was built in 1647. Hermann von Puckler decided to introduce significant changes to make it a compositional centre of a landscape park. Fortifications and a moat were removed and replaced by the lake of Lucie (the name of Puckler's wife).
In the 20th century, a new owner of the park, Adolf von Arnim-Muskau extended the building by adding a dancing room. Count von Arnim was dispossessed of his castle in result of the WWII. Abandoned and ravaged for years after the war, since 1990's the castle has been reconstructed. One part of it is taken by the Muskauer School attended by future landscape designers. The other part, when completed, is meant to house a museum devoted to the life of Count Hermann von Puckler.
The inspiration for the Muskauer Park were the landscape parks and gardens that Count von Puckler saw during his journeys, especially the ones in England. They stood in stark contrast to French-style parks with trimmed hedges and a laid-out grid of paths. The English invention was also carefully designed and maintained, but it was intended to look natural and 'undisturbed'. Seemingly random groups of trees, romantic glades, secret caverns or wild streams were to resemble landscape painting. Count Puckler von Muskau decided to create a park like a picture gallery - a real masterpiece.
Did he manage to achieve his goal? Visit the park and decide by yourself.