castle of Steinhöfel / former garden
The castle of Steinhöfel was built in 1796 by the famous architects David and Friedrich Gilly. It is surrounded by a park, which was formed by the architects and the owner of the castle, Valentin von Massow. The park is one of the oldest 'Landschaftsparks' in former Eastern Germany. It was created in the English style, allowing open views to the surrounding landscapes. It has been famous since its creation and an example for other parks in the surroundings of Berlin. Close to the castle, the Gilly's built a library, shaped as temple. The library contained a rich collection of European literature (politics, arts, botanicals, gardening, architecture, 3800 books). Part of the library was destroyed at the end of world war II. About 700 books were saved and remain stored in the nearby town of Fürstenwalde. Castle, library and park are surrounded by the village of Steinhöfel (500 inhabitants). The aristocratic family of von Massow left Steinhöfel in the 1930s. After the war the village was exposed to the typical socialistic changes. The park was abandoned, the castle and the library served for several purposes like housing for refugees, kindergarten, sports facilities, school etc. it is now owned by a local gardener, who has been taking care of the neglected garden for the last 20 years.