Welcome Ivenack My Journeys Photo Album About Me --> german

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

Route: 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 one of the oldest oak trees 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:

" Friday, [August] 22d. [1828] We all mounted our horses as  soon as breakfast was over, and proceeded to Avenack, the magnificent seat of count Plessen, distant from Basedow about eighteen English miles. Of this family I have already spoken, the late Count having died about six weeks previous to my  arrival in Germany, and which circumstance was a great drawback from the sport at Dobberan, his sons having eight horses in training, which of course did not start. The third and youngest son also is one of the best gentleman jockeys in Germany; and, by all that I could learn, I should have found him a formidable opponent in the race for the Silver Cup.
Of the late Count I must say a word, although I had not the pleasure to of seeing him previously to his beeing called to his last home. From all I heard from him, he was one of the liberal, open-hearted, old-fashioned sort of country gentlemen, of which all Europe was once proud, but whom the over-refinement and hypocritical canting of the present day have endeavored to supplant by a cantious, stiff-necked, cold-blooded, game-preserving exquisite, whose appearance is all but suspicious, and who thinks of little else but himself. This much respected Nobleman lived on an advanced age, having kept a pack of fox-hounds for upwards of fifty years, and - as I shall shew - was one of the most extensive breeders of horses in Germany.
The name of this Noble family is Maltzahn of whom there are;three brothers. The elder, the present Count, was not at home; but the two Barons Maltzahn received us with the greatest kindness, and evinced much pleasure in shewing us all the stud. The youngest of the brothers was for some years the Minister of the Court of Prussia in England, which situation he relinquished only a few years since. It is unnecessary then to add that he was able to converse to us in English.
We where 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. Whether it be that we are accustomed to it in England, but the seat of a Nobleman appears to want this noble appendage; and when we reflect on the name bestowed upon it by antiquity, it can scarcely be purchased at too high a price. The timber in this park is particularly fine; there is a piece of water, four miles round; and - as far I could judge by merely driving though 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 travellers licence, when I state, that 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 was dispersed in other stables.
The breeding stud, at the Counts 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. The present Count has selected for himself seven stallions, fifty-four brood mares with some colts, and all the foals of this year, making a total of two hundred and fifty; and the two younger brothers, the Barons Maltzahn possess the rest.
I think I have stated before, that, in a oration spoken in a Court of Justice by the renowned Isocrates, he contented himself with the proof of the nobility of his client, by tracing his pedigree to the first of his countrymen who had won a prize in the chariot-race at the Olympic Games. Horses then were the possessions only of the rich and great, as indeed they in a great measure are at present. The wealth of the principle characters in the Bible also is generally estimated by the amount of their cattle, and some of them were truly rich in this description of property.
If Tacitus is to be credited, the Germans have ever been famous for immense herds of cattle; but I little imagined that in any one mans possession I should find the stock as is kept at Avenack. I have already enumerated the stud of horses, therefore I need not recur to that; but curiosity led me to ascertain the number of sheep on the farms occupied by the Count, when I found it amounted to fifteen thousand! And pray, said I, to Baron Maltzahn, how many cows do you keep here? Why, replied he, in consequence of the great number of horses and our large flock of sheep, we only have thirteen hundred cows!! "

by Charles James Apperley, better known under his pseudonym "Nimrod".