Dovecote?

Photo taken in December 2012

The Answer to the Flensburg Files’ Frage for the Forum:

To wrap up the 2012 Tour of the Christmas Markets in Germany, and in particular Saxony-Anhalt, let’s go back to the question I had left for the people to consider while touring the Adventsmarkt in Quedlinburg, located in the western part of the state.  Take a look at this picture again, and at the tower. Do you have an idea what that is and what it was used for?

Before going to the answer, some information on its location. As mentioned in the article, the courtyard (hof) at the entrance to Word Garden, where the largest of the 24 market booths were located has a unique history in itself. The Adelshof at Wordgasse 4 features four wings with the entrance at Wordgasse, which connects the northwestern edge of the historic city center and the entrance to Word Garden (after crossing the creek). The south wing is at the old wall surrounding the city center and features a tower. On the west wing is the main residential building, where most of the inhabitants used to live. The barn is located in the north wing and the Word creek passes the East wing. Inside the courtyard one will find this particular piece of artwork, which we’ll get to in a tiny bit. The whole complex is surrounded by a wall, one side of which is part of the main wall that surrounds the city center (or old town), with Fachwerk houses sticking out on the south and east side, ensuring that the tourists will not miss this place.

Adelshof was first mentioned in 1224, as it was the built at that time. It used to be occupied by the Lords of Regenstein in the late 1200s; at that time, it was expanded to include two more building complexes. Yet three different families with royal blood occupied the complex over the next three centuries, beginning with the family of Hans von Wulffen in 1566. Hans received the property as a gift for his victory over the enemies at Sievershausen in 1553. He married Magdalena Pllotho and moved into the complex, where he rebuilt the main residence and constructed the South Wing. Upon his death in 1585, Magdalena took over the property and eventually passed it down to her daughter Elisabeth von Wulffen. During that time, the West Wing was constructed. When the von Hoym family took over in 1620, the East Wing was built. The family occupied the complex for 55 years. After many changes in ownership over the next century, the Koch family took over beginning with Jeremias Timotheus (1760-1815), Johann Andreas (1815-1820) and H. Andreas (1820-1852); during that time, the complex became part of the church.  The complex was taken over after being left idle for 20 years in 2008 and the restoration of the complex started right away. Apart from hosting many public events in the courtyard, a museum, restaurant and Medieval gardens are in the planning in addition to reconstructing many parts of the building. Already the Adelshof has been hosting the Adventsmarkt in December for a few years as one of the 24 booths that should be visited while in Quedlinburg.

And as for the tower in the center of the courtyard (as seen in the photo)? Interestingly enough, that is a dovecote. A dovecote is French for birdhouse, only it houses doves and pigeons. This dovecote was constructed in the 1800s featuring a hexagonal-sided birdhouse made of timber, a Victorian-shaped finial on top, and supported by a column-shaped pedastel made of sandstone. This dovecote was one of the first relicts to have been restored to its original form, in addition to the south and east wings upon visiting the Adelshof this past holiday season, and is one of the main features for this courtyard, in addition to the rest of the complex, parts of which are either being restored even as this article is posted or will be on the list of things to restore in the future.

As mentioned in the article, Quedlinburg is a town full of surprises that will satisfy anyone passing through. Its Christmas market is one of the most local and well-known in Germany. Its Medieval architecture, mostly in tact thanks to the town being spared the bombing in World War II, is one of the oldest in Europe and one that should not be forgotten. And despite the decline in population due to demographic changes and lack of economic opportunity, Quedlinburg, like Halle, Magdeburg and other smaller cities, is one of many reasons why Saxony-Anhalt survives in its original form today and is a magnet for tourism, commerce and business alike. If one visits Saxony-Anhalt sometime, please consider this town as a place to visit, even if it is for a day.

The owners of the Adelshof complex need your help so that the restoration of this Medieval complex is completed and open to the public year round. To find out more about how you can donate money and time to realizing the project, click onto this link. The contact details can be found here.

More about Quedlinburg’s Adventsmarkt can be found here.

 

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