Groß Schönebeck hunting lodge

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Hunting lodge

The listed hunting lodge Groß Schönebeck is located in the Groß Schönebeck district of the Brandenburg municipality of Schorfheide in the Barnim district .


The construction of the hunting lodge built in early Baroque style, originally surrounded by a moat, was at the instigation of the Great Elector from 1660 instead of a ruined castle started and not under King Frederick William I finished.

Located on the edge of the Schorfheide hunting ground, which was already valued by the sovereigns at that time , the castle was used for the residence of the royal lords and their hunting guests. A valuable stucco ceiling in the hall on the upper floor dates from this period .

At the beginning of the 19th century the castle was renewed in a Gothic style. It later served various forest management facilities. The former hunting lodge has housed the Schorfheide Museum since 1991.

History of the castle and chateau

In the period in which Schönebeck Castle was built cannot be found in any of the documents known at the time. It is also unknown whether there was a previous building from the Slavic period at this point.

It is believed that a line of castles from the Havel to the Oder was built under the Ascanians in the 13th century . These included the fortresses in Liebenwalde, Groß Schönebeck , Werbellin at the southwestern end of the Werbellinsee and Grimnitz .

According to the maps available, the Schönebeck castle was built in a valley as a water castle and in a square shape. Foundations from this time can still be found in the ground. It can be assumed that today's castle stands on the walls of the old castle, the remains of the foundation wall mentioned could have belonged to an enclosing wall. A comprehensive archaeological excavation can probably only bring a final clarification.

We learn in writing from the succession register of the Liebenwalde office from 1589. It can be read that two “hunting houses” belong to the Liebenwalde office. This means the castles Grimnitz and Schönebeck. At that time they were no longer used for defense purposes, but only for civilian purposes. It says about Groß Schönebeck Castle:

"... the same is, after all, built on to princely and other apartments, kitchens, cellars ... and other buildings."

In a document from 1550, also listed in the register of inheritance, the elector grants the brothers “Jacob and Adam Grape” exemption for the “Haus zu Schönebeck”, which in turn means the castle. At the same time he grants the former Heidereiter Michel Koch a desolate job “ in the village of Schönebeck, near our silver collection. “The castle complex was obviously still intact and inhabited at that time.

In the course of the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648 the castle was destroyed and in 1663, we learn, the clerk Vogelsang received permission to remove building materials from the complex. The moat surrounding the castle was preserved and was used as a trough for the community's livestock.

It is unclear what use the aforementioned Vogelsang had for the building materials obtained, because he intended to sell his properties in the village. Elector Friedrich Wilhelm , also known as the "Great Elector" (* 1620, reigned 1640-1688) found out about this and ordered the property to be examined.

In a letter dated December 29, 1662, he stated that he intended to build a hunting lodge there and that he wanted to buy the four farms belonging to Vogelsang and a deserted farm.

Under Elector Friedrich Wilhelm, the castle ruins seem to have been torn down and a simple hunting lodge was built that came close to the layout of today's castle.

In the meantime, the well-known soldier king Friedrich Wilhelm I (* 1688, reigned 1713-1740) had the hunting lodge completely renovated and used it for his hunting trips in the “Great Heath”. What is certain is that the king used the hunting lodge several times and not only for hunting. In December 1721 he wrote his basic ideas about the general directorates here. He later fundamentally reformed the Prussian administration at the time.

In today's castle park there was a half-timbered building about 29 meters long and 13 meters wide. This was the old forest ranger's office with living and working rooms. Behind it was the courtyard and some stables, all of which no longer exist today.

Two wooden bridges led across the moat, each about 11.40 meters and 17.20 meters long. 30 years later, it was proposed to fill in parts of the trench, as, among other things, the infestation of water rats on the foundation of the horse stable across the castle would be so great that it threatened to collapse. At that time, the trench was 6–16 meters wide.

A bridge led to what is now known as the Jägerhaus. There was the castle kitchen with oven and laundry room. In the second half of the 19th century, forest trainees were quartered here. One of the most famous was Ferdinand v. Raesfeld (* 1855 - +1929).

It was not until 1825 that a more detailed description of all the existing buildings was obtained. After that, the castle already had today's hipped roof , but without the small corner towers.

When in 1833 King Friedrich-Wilhelm III. von Prussia (* 1770, reign 1797-1840) visited Groß Schönebeck, he took a liking to the old castle of his ancestors and ordered its preservation. When it was discovered at the same time that the old forest ranger's office was infected by dry rot, the royal government decided to expand the old, uninhabited castle and tear down the 100-year-old half-timbered building.

Construction began in 1834 and was not finished until 1836. Large parts of the castle moat from the founding time were filled in.

The head forester moved to the ground floor of the castle, while the upper floor was reserved for "high and highest".

During this time the castle got its current appearance. In 1844 and 1845 the king lived here during a hunting stay, later also hunting guests of the king and Crown Prince Wilhelm, later Kaiser Wilhelm II (* 1859, reigned 1888-1918, +1941).

After the fall of the Wall, in the early 1990s, the Association of Nature and Home Friends eV had the castle completely renovated with its own funds and funds from the Upswing East Fund . Thereby u. a. the interiors were restored to their previous size and the building has been used as the Schorfheide Museum ever since. In September 2006, on behalf of the community of Schorfheide, extensive maintenance work began on the half-timbered barn so that it could be used for exhibition purposes. Pencil drawings etc. were found on several wooden structures. a. The forest apprentice Wendeborn was immortalized here, who died on September 14, 1891 while straightening the roof structure.

Todays use

Today the hunting lodge houses a special exhibition on the hunter and boxer Max Schmeling , as well as exhibits from his history, as well as the Schorfheide tourist information center and the permanent exhibition “Hunting and Power” in the outbuilding.


  • Georg Dehio et al .: Handbook of German Art Monuments. The districts of Cottbus and Frankfurt / Oder. Berlin, Akademie-Verlag 1987, ISBN 3-05-000363-4 , p. 157.
  • Georg Piltz ; Peter Garbe: Palaces and gardens in the Mark Brandenburg. Seemann, Leipzig 1987, ISBN 3-363-00063-4 , pp. 90, 197.
  • Archives of the hunting lodge Groß Schönebeck and the Museumsverein eV
  • Suter, Helmut: Hunting and Power: The History of the Schorfheide Hunting Area , Berlin 2011, ISBN 3898090906 .

Web links

Coordinates: 52 ° 54 ′ 18.1 ″  N , 13 ° 31 ′ 53.5 ″  E