Friday, November 28, 2008

Gavnø Slot, South Zealand

Gavnø Slot on South Zealand is built upon the foundations of a Dominican convent which queen Margrethe I established in 1402, Sct. Agnes convent , a four winged cloisterdesign from which few rests remain in the south wing of the present main building with the chapel.

The three winged main building from 1755 appears as a perfect Rococco mansion with the yellow chalked walls under a black glazed tiled roof. The interior is magnificent. The church with its Gothic vaults origins undoubtedly from the earliest days of the convent in the beginning of the 1400s.

In the reformation year 1536 the convent was abolished like all other Danish cloisters and taken over by the Crown, but in 1584 king Frederick II exchanged the property to his vasal Hans J. Lindenow. After the Swedish wars Gavnø was sold to admiral Niels Trolle and the Trolle-family later exchanged the estate with the powerful Scanian Thott-family who are still the owners of Gavnø now 300 years later.

The interior is marked with the unique painting collections of Baron Otto Reedtz-Thott, one of Denmarks biggest private collections. Furthermore he left a large book collection of 140.000 volumes, now at the Royal Library.

The church is one of Gavnø's attractions. It was a part of the Dominican cloister, but some of the inventory is Baroque with a magnificent altar piece and pulpit from 1670. A headless troll -which is a figure from the family Trolle's coat of arms - supports the pulpit. A fine Late Gothic crucifix and a bride's stool from the 1500s are interesting parts of the inventory.

Gavnø is placed upon an island by the entering of the town Næstved. The original drawbridge was succeeded by a pile bridge in 1766, but in the storm 1872 the pile bridge was destroyed and succeeded by the present solid stone bridge. The landscape garden from the 1850s is inspired by English garden design and has rests of the Baroque garden from the beginning of the 1700s. The lime tree avenue and the big trees in the garden are from Otto Reedtz-Thott's time in the beginning of the 1800s.

From 1960 Gavnø has been a n independent institution and the park and parts of the main building are open to the public. The famous tulipe park opened in 1967 with thousands of tulips and other bulb plants. Furthermore there are roses and herbaceous perennials and a sommerfugleland (butterfly-country) , which is open to the public during the summer season.

photo 2007: grethe bachmann