May 2002 Slide Show...
June 2007 Slide Show...

The King of of German Oak Trees

fallow deer at feeding ground

View of the Castle across the sea in 1904

The Castle in 1910

The "Schloßcafe" nearby the Castle serves light refreshments, a booklet with a map of walks and picture postcards

two or three hours by car from Berlin

"I want to get as old as this tree ", that's what I thought when I saw that oak tree the first time. Sadly, this is not going be to happen as it is appr. 1200 years old ... Thus, it is the oldest oak tree in Germany!! Alongside other very old oak trees (at least 800 years old) it is located near Ivenack, a little village next to Stavenhagen in Mecklenburg(West Pomerenia). "Stavenhagen" - a town that's known at least to all old northern Germans as the famous local writer Fritz Reuter was born here. He knew the old oak trees and immortilized his impressions in a poem, written in low-german:

"Ick weit einen Eikbom, de steiht an de See,
De Nurdstorm, de brus't in sin Knäst,
Stolz reckt hei de mächtige Kron in de Höh;
So is dat all dusend Johr west."

However, not just this giant oak tree with a trunk girth of 11 meters, a height of 35.5 meters and 180 solid cube meter of timber is always worth visiting.
The "Eichenallee" - an oak tree avenue of a special kind is surrounded by a large deer enclosure and therefore a unique deer park worldwide. The keeping of deer under trees reflect the conditions under wich the oak trees could grow to their present height. The former slavic villagers used the forest as "Hudewald"; the acorns were good fodder for the pigs. The place name verifies the slavic usage as "Iva" means "pasture".

If the reader after this reading decides to travel to Ivenack or to make a little detour to Ivanack on his way to the baltic sea coast I would like to give some useful advice.
He should park his car on the outskirts of the village. Only by strolling he will discover the beautiful timber-framed houses, the orangery, the church and the castle. It was built on the foundation walls of a Cistercian monastery founded here in 1252.

The way to the deer enclosure leads past the impressive stables of the stud farm founded in 1790. The famous white horse stallion Herodot lived here. It was abducted in 1806 and brought back by general field marshal Blücher after the "Paris Peace" in 1814. An old chronicler stated that Napoleon rode that stallion on all his victorious military expeditions. The then count Albrecht Joachim of Plessen and his sons played a decisive role in founding the first German racecourse in (Bad) Doberan. Shortly after his death a world famous English horseman visited the stud farm on his trip through Germany. In the "Sporting Magazine" of 1829 he reported amongst other things:

"We were very much pleased with the approach to this grand seat, which was through a noble avenue of oaks; and - the first I had seen in Germany - a deer park adorned the domain... ; The timber in this park is particularly tine; there is a piece of water, four miles round; and - as far as I could judge by merely driving through it - a good herd of party-coloured fallow deer. To us the grand sight was now to come - of course I mean the stud. Reader, do not stare; neither imagine I am writing with a traveller's licence, when I statethat in the two first stables we entered we saw one hundred horses in condition - that is to say, with sleek coats and in body clothes! These were exclusive of race-horses, hacks, &c. which were dispersed in other stables. The breeding stud, at the Count's death, consisted of about twenty stallions and one hundred and thirty brood mares, which, with colts of various ages and foals, made the sum total  rather more than five hundred..." by Charles James Apperley, better known under his pseudonym "Nimrod".
-> more about the stud - the full text