Schlosspark Maschinenteich

Palace Park

Palace Park – Machinery Pond

Engine Pond, Engine House and Surroundings

The obviously prosaic name of this beautiful building and pond announce their original purpose: the engine house used to contain the first Watt steam engine of the entire Habsburg Empire.

This fact impressed people at the time immensely.

The pond is the only water body in the park that is fed by natural sources and has already existed before the creation of the park.

Already in the time of the rococo gardens (around 1750) the pond was there, and water was being moved by means of a so-called "water machine".

Draught animals powered the engine that pumped water to the upper regions of the park where it was used to water the plants.

The transformation of the rococo garden into a landscape garden entailed problems with the existing water machine, so in 1803 Prince Nikolaus II. bought the steam engine in London.

It was built according to the patent of Watt by a certain David Matson.

The Steam Engine

The steam engine was set up in 1804 inside the engine house, which Charles de Moreau erected on a floor plan patterned after a Greek cross.

The memory of the picturesque scenery is kept alive by the painting of Jean Baptist "Views of the Engine Pond".

It portrays the picture of a tree-lined lake with swans and a chapel.

The rapt ambience is furthermore underlined by "heroically festive" poplars and "melancholic" willows.

Behind the little tower in the centre of the building hides the smokestack of the steam engine. The latest technology "hides" in the cloak of the chapel, which gave it a "sacred" cover.

This was where the engine that pointed the way into the future was housed, the engine that kept up the life-giving flow of water to other locations in the park.

The engine was more than a luxury article - it showed that the garden was also an experimental area for new technologies.

Effects, functionality and efficacy of the machine could be tested without any economic implications. The engine symbolises thus the advent of the industrial age, an age that may have seemed utopian at the time.

Reports mention the admiration contemporaries had for both the engine house and the Orangery and its collection of plants.

The Chestnut Avenue

Via the stairs of the terraces, the walls of which were used for fruit trellises (grapes, figs), you arrive at Chestnut Avenue.

Its formal and geometric appearance forms a nice contrast to the landscape of the park. According to Harich, these are the last remains of the former rococo gardens and go back to the second half of the 18th century.

Designed as "allée couvert", a covered, tree-lined walk way, they invite to take a stroll at any time of the year, be it in summer, where the leaves offer the much needed shade, or be it in winter, when bizarre twig formations impress. The southern half of the walk way was completely renewed in 1990-91 and used to feature benches one could rest on.