Erxleben Castle is an originally mediaeval mooted castle that was built by the Alvensleben family which lived there till 1945. Afterwards it was used as a technical school, and since 1990 it had been out of use.
Relevant parts of the castle – also called “Joachimsbau” (Joachim’s building) – are dating back to Late Gothic., Renaissance and Baroque periods. A “donjon” from the 14th century is still preserved as well as a big Renaissance hall. The building contents medieval fire places, spiral staircases and sandstone door frames from the Late Gothic period, roof constructions from Renaissance time, a Renaissance kitchen with huge fireplaces and chimneys, Baroque stucco ceilings, a library in a neo-Romanic style, ornamental paintings from the early 20th century – all showing the high historic and architectural quality of the castle which belongs to the most important heritage sites of the region.
Due to lack of maintenance the castle was highly endangered – roofs and ceilings were damaged, walls in decay. Beside the imminent loss of an important heritage site, the dramatic situation of the castle had negative influence on the image of the community and lead to a decreasing identification of the inhabitants with their village. The community, consisting of seven villages with all together less than 3, 000 inhabitants, could not effort the needed preservation of the castle on its own.
Thus in 2015, Deutsches Fachwerkzentrum Quedlinburg (German Half-Timber Centre Quedlinburg) started with interventions and achieved while repairing the ceilings, the roof construction and the roof as a first step the constructive stabilization of the building and it s protection against climatic influences. Currently, the step-by-step preservation of the interior of the building is going on.
For more than fifteen years Deutsches Fachwerkzentrum Quedlinburg, a non-profit association, has been working on the preservation and restoration of historic buildings as an authentic living testimony of architectural heritage. Practical work and seminars take place at cultural heritage sites of national significance in Saxony-Anhalt. While doing so, Deutsches Fachwerkzentrum’s approach is characterized by the use of sustainable and resource conserving technologies for the preservation of historic buildings.
In addition, Deutsches Fachwerkzentrum aims not only to protect and sensitively to restore heritage sites, to convey their value and significance and to teach traditional crafts, but to involve in the process people of different origin and different cultural backgrounds as for instance when involving refugees in the preservation of monuments.
The project that will consist of two parallel “Training Courses” will focus on the restoration of a Renaissance hall which had been used during the second half of the 20th century as class room. In result of a careful restoration the room shall be transformed into a Renaissance hall again.
During the Training Course “Traditional Wood Techniques” the participants will gain practical skills in restoration of historic windows. They will learn methods as boat-shaped insetting, the use of fish and bone glue in the restoration of historical wooden elements and others. The works will focus on windows from the Baroque time as well as from 18th and 19th centuries. Depending on the progress of the work the restoration of doors might be included in the programme, too.
In addition, the restoration of historical half-timbered structures from the 18th century will be taught. The participants will gain theoretical knowledge about traditional timber joints such as mortise and tenon joints and gain practical skills in their restoration.
During the Training Course “Historic plasters and surfaces” the participants will learn to restore the original plaster, to produce lime plaster in accordance to the traditional technology and to plaster the walls while using traditional multi-layered techniques. They will learn to restore the original plaster, to produce lime plaster in accordance to the traditional technology and to plaster the walls while using traditional multi-layered techniques.
In addition, they will in a kitchen from the 16th century discover the historical plaster and remove younger layers with thermal treatment, will close the damaged parts with new plaster and paint, and restore the decor painting from the early 20th century. Finally, the participants will learn how to manufacture colour of curd or beer and how to create and to work with pigments.
The Training Courses will be lead by conservatoirs and masters of handicraft.
Within the framework of the educational programme, excursions to heritage sites restored by Deutsches Fachwerkzentrum will be organised.
The project will consist of two Training Courses – in “Traditional wood techniques” and in “Historic plasters and surfaces” – which will in parallel take place from August, 4th, to August 17th, 2019 and is organized by European Heritage Volunteers, in cooperation with Deutsches Fachwerkzentrum Quedlinburg (German Half-Timber Centre) Quedlinburg.