Mainau Island, known to every German resident as the "island of flowers", is located in southern Germany, in the north of Lake Constance, which is shared by Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Mainau Island is connected to the shore of the southernmost dam lake in Germany, located on the side of the city of Konstanz, and is considered part of its territory. The city can be reached by bicycle or by bus number 4. On the opposite side of the lake at Mainau is the city of Meersburg, from where the ferry goes to the island. Only 15 minutes, and you are in a completely different world. You can also get to this floral paradise by boat from any lake pier. Indeed, in the northern part of Mainau there is a pier.
The island of Mainau was known three millennia ago. At that time, the ancient Celts lived on it. And more than two millennia ago, it was conquered by the Romans, who founded the port city here. Then, being the property of the Frankish kings, the island was presented as a gift to the Abbey of Reichenau, who founded a monastery on it.
After that, the Teutonic Order dominated the island for more than five centuries. More than two hundred years ago, already on the territory of the Duchy of Baden, Mainau changed its aristocratic owners several times.
In 1827, it was bought by the Hungarian prince Esterhazy, who was subdued by its fertile climate, and laid the landscape park here. And from the second half of the 19th century, the island is already known as a summer vacation destination for the family of Duke Frederick I. Since that time, Mainau has become a realm of flowers and exotic plants that are allowed to be seen by the public.
The last owner of the island - the youngest offspring of the Swedish royal family, Count Lennart Bernadotte - received it as a gift from his father over 80 years ago. Interestingly, his mother was Princess Maria Pavlovna, a close relative of Nicholas II. She is buried on the island.
Count Bernadotte - the great-grandson of Frederick I - continued his undertakings by constructing the hothouses and greenhouses that have survived to this day. Thanks to his ideas, the Rose Gardens, Palm Park, numerous, diverse flower alleys and gardens with exotic trees were created. His most original creation can be considered the largest butterfly garden in the country.
Mainau, now also known as the Garden for All, has been open to visitors since 1989. Although its territory is small (0.45 sq. Km), but there is something to see. A brief listing of island wonders is outlined below.
- Magnificent two-story Bernadotte family castle built in the mid 18th century. Often called Knightly. It has the shape of a horseshoe with its base facing the lake. The palace is decorated with embossed old coats of arms sparkling with gold. His pride is the White Hall, which hosts concerts and official events, dazzles with whiteness and grandeur.
- Snow white St. Mary's Church - the same age as the castle. Every spring, exhibitions of florists are held in it. Then this small room is decorated with exquisite floral arrangements, which are in harmony with frescoes, paintings and elegant snow-white sculptures that reign in this sanctuary. The church also holds weddings and concerts.
- Three medieval towers of Mainau - a tribute to centuries of history: Sadovnichya - the remnant of an ancient fortress, Swedish - has been on the guard of the island since the times of Swedish rule, Komturei - a coastal tower, in the basement of which is an old wine warehouse.
Flower Gardens of the Island
- The rose garden, numbering 500 species of roses, is adjacent to fountains, arbors and sculptural images.
- Flower sculptures, many times greater than human growth. This is an Easter bunny, and a huge gnome, lying on the ground, and a peacock, proudly sitting on its lush tail-flower bed, and colorful ducks.
- Spring flowers are especially admired by guests of the island. These are fragrant glades of colorful tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses, primroses and others.
- Dahlias of unusual colors and combinations reign in the fall, when there is a traditional holiday in their honor.
- The richest collection of orchids, reminiscent of graceful moths, just sat down to rest for a moment.
Butterflies flutter among unique vegetation
- Butterfly Garden numbering more than 80 species of insects that live in the South American tropics. The pavilion, built in the form of a giant butterfly, created the usual natural conditions for its inhabitants - high humidity and air temperature. There is also a stream, a pond and even a mini-waterfall. Seated among exotic plants and flowers of winged beauties, at times, it is difficult to distinguish from flowers. The variety of shapes of the wings of fancy colors is amazing. Little birds fly here, there is also a huge moth. In this unique garden you can even watch the caterpillar turn into a butterfly, take a photo with a butterfly sitting quietly on its shoulder.
- Unique plantscollected from all over the earth on a small island with a mild climate can not be counted. Some of them grow in a palm greenhouse, others in the garden of medicinal plants and in the old arboretum, preserved from the time of Frederick I. Among its 250 inhabitants, nearly two hundred-year-old American sequoias, magnificent Siberian cedars, mysterious mammoth trees and shady beech trees are especially attractive.
- On Mainau you can also admire the stylized italian staircase with magnificent flower steps, changing colors depending on the season of the year. Water cascades, majestically descending from the hill, living columns of thuja, cypress and other coniferous trees and bushes - all this picturesquely complements the overall picture.
You may also be interested in an article in which we talk about a unique sculpture garden in Minneapolis.
Playgrounds and contact zoo
There are two playgrounds for the little travelers on the flower island, one for the little ones and the other for the older kids. Mainau's minors have a mini pond where they can feel like brave sailors while riding miniature rafts.
Not far from the pond there are several pet houses - a small farm. Here in vivo you can meet chickens, rabbits, goats. And you can also ride Scottish ponies and donkeys. Babies are also allowed to feed and pet a goat and a calf who walks with their mother.
Mainau: island of flowers
You can tell a lot more about the beauties of the fabulous Mainau island: about rare species of fish in ponds, about flower watches, about tropical waterfalls and much more. But it’s better to see these wonders with your own eyes.