View to the Temple of Flora.
The vast garden landscapes of Schloss Wörlitz (today Wörlitzer Park) were laid out between 1769 and 1773 to an extent of 277 acres (112 ha), making it not only one the largest but also one of the earliest and most distinguished landscape parks of Continental Europe. Most buildings were designed by Erdmannsdorff, while the gardens were laid out by Johann Friedrich Eyserbeck (1734-1818), with countless references to Claremont, Stourhead and Stowe Landscape Garden. Large parts of the gardens were open to the public from the beginning, as Duke Leopold III intended them to be an educational institution in architecture, gardening and agriculture.
Wörlitz offers a seemingly never-ending succession of changing garden scenes, with precise and surprising sightlines making the most of the 30-40 different features and follies dispersed in the landscape. Many of these were pioneering new building styles: The "Gothic House", started by Erdmannsdorff in 1774, modelled on the villa of Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, was one of the first Neo Gothic structures on the continent. The park also features replicas of Roman temples, including the Pantheon built in 1795. The Wörlitz Lake features an island atop which is a model of Mount Vesuvius (lit by fireworks to illude the erupting volcano). At the foot of the mountain on the island is a building intended to suggest William Hamilton's home at Pompeii, where he did his famous archaeological work. It seems only natural that the park also features a replica of Rousseau’s Island at Ermenonville Park, where the philosopher was buried.
Wörlitz forms the centerpiece of the unique Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, and can be seen as the main example and motivation for the later masters of German landscape gardening like Skell, Lenné, and Pückler.