A destination for „little escapes“ in east german Saxony is the moated manor house Podelwitz, which is located south of Leipzig at the river Mulde approximately between Grimma, Leisnig and Colditz. The village of Podelwitz belongs to the town of Colditz. The „moated manor house“ itself stands on a castle plot in a park area directly on the Mulde River. A pigeon tower on the square in front of the castle is also striking and can be seen on many pictures of Podelwitz as a landmark with recognition effect.
From the moated manor house to the devil’s rock „Giksmutter“
Renaissance – Podelwitz Manor House on the Freiberg Mulde River
Turbulent times – from construction to reconstruction
The moated manor house Podelwitz was built in 1570 in Renaissance style by Hans Rudolph von Schellenberg. There were certainly a number of predecessor buildings, because already in 1487 a castle or manor in the possession of the Schellenbergs was documented in connection with a money loan in Colditz.
The owners changed more frequently since the 16th century. Worth mentioning is a reconstruction in 1691 by Ulrich Maximilian von Rechenberg, who had the portal moved from the west to the east side and added various stucco works to the ceilings inside. However, these are no longer present today. The owner of Rechenberg had overstretched himself financially with his alterations and sold Podelwitz Chateau only 2 years later.
Mulde manor house, MTS and Mulde floods
In 1867, the owner of the castle, Auguste Freiin von Reiswitz, built the small Mulde manor next to the castle directly on the water.
In the course of the land reform in East Germany’s Soviet occupation zone, the moated manor house Podelwitz was expropriated in 1945. A machine – tractor – station (MTS) moved into the outbuildings and apartments were built in the manor. Later, a kindergarten for Podelwitz was established on the ground floor.
Since 1991 the reconstruction and renovation works have been in progress. The moated manor house Podelwitz was affected by the Mulde floods in 2002 and 2013, which flooded the ground floor and badly affected. During the „flood of the century“ at Mulde and Elbe river in 2002, the north gable of a farm building collapsed due to undercutting. The restoration of the castle and the grounds again took several years.
What to see at the moated manor house Podelwitz?
The manor building
The multi-floor palace building itself is of course worth seeing. This Renaissance building with its central ridge turret blends harmoniously into the landscape of the Mulde Valley. You can walk around the castle on small paths in park-like grounds. The local family runs a small local history museum in the moated manor house Podelwitz, which displays a collection of household objects, economic goods and postcards. Regularly this exhibition in the castle is open only on Sundays from 1 to 3(?) pm. It is possible to contact the Knochenmuß family and arrange an individual visit at other times. It is even possible to get married in the moated manor house Podelwitz: the registry office Colditz maintains a wedding hall in the building.
Podelwitz Castle Park
In front of the manor, i.e. on the eastern side, there is a courtyard shaded by tall trees. If you walk between Mulde river and the castle on the Mulde Alley, you will find a stone bridge opposite the „Muldenschlößchen“. This is the way to a small rose garden behind the building. The central element is a rose fountain set in stone, which appeared somewhat overgrown during my visit. No criticism – it seemed rather mystical – romantic! On a second stone arch – bridge you can leave the castle garden again. Over a path and a wall passage you reach the forecourt with the big pigeon tower.
Why moated manor house?
Whoever arrives at Podelwitz Manor will probably be surprised at first – because the moated manor house is not really ‚on an island in the water‚. That’s how I usually imagine a moated manor house. But in Podelwitz Manor the castle simply stands next to the Freiberger Mulde flowing by. Enough water to justify the nickname? On the other (street) side, i.e. south of the castle, there is a small pond. If you are not afraid to walk along the overgrown path to the southern shore, you will get a view of the manor reflected in the water, especially in autumn and until spring, as long as the foliage of the trees does not cover it.
It is to be assumed that also directly at the castle in former times at least on the west side still a flat pond surrounded the area. Because there two bridges lead to the „castle garden“, today over a grassy dry ditch. However, the water level can never have been high, because otherwise the cellar of the moated manor house would probably be flooded through the low-lying windows.
Restaurant Schloßgewölbe in the farm buildings
According to my impression, most visitors are attracted to Podelwitz by the restaurant Schloßgewölbe (palace vault), which resides in the economic buildings opposite the castle. In any case, despite sunshine and blue skies, I saw only a few walkers around the castle, but all the more guests heading for the restaurant Schloßgewölbe.
With its vaulted dining rooms, the restaurant really does have a pleasant atmosphere in the historical style that makes a visit appealing. In other respects, too, an effort has been made in decorating and furnishing the rooms to reflect the ambience of old taprooms to some extent. The photos on the wall (like those on the menu) are recent, but because of the sepia-toned black-and-white image and style, at a quick glance they could well be shots from 100 years ago.
The menu of the Schloßgewölbe restaurant includes a good range of largely german standard dishes such as Wiener Schnitzel, Sauerbraten or Rump steak. More interesting for meat eaters, however, is the section with roast game from the nearby Colditz Forest, such as wild boar roast, „Schloßroulade“ or „Wild Boar – Love Egg for Two“. Since I was without exception with vegetarians on the road, it is pleasing that at least four dishes were explicitly offered as vegetarian or even vegan. (Menu restaurant Schloßgewölbe in german here as .pdf for download)
Also on offer are fish dishes. Here the pretext refers to the partnership with the local trout farm Töpeln, from which fish for the dishes of the restaurant Schloßgewölbe are supplied.
Small tasting in the Podelwitz restaurant Schloßgewölbe
In our purely private test, the „Podelwitzer Dorfkäs‘“ (village cheese) was the undisputed winner. And it’s actually only on the menu under „salads and appetizers„. According to the menu of the Schloßgewölbe, it is a ‚mountain cheese fried in hazelnut crust, served on colorful salads with Cesar dressing and fig mustard‘. The ‚Podelwitzer Dorfkäs“ is offered as an appetizer, but more expensive also as a main course (presumably then somewhat more extensive).
From the menu of vegetarian and vegan cuisine then followed in second place in our tasting the ‚Homemade Spinach – Cheese Dumplings‚, prepared with mountain cheese, Romadour and Parmesan. The taste highlight of this creation is the ‚herbed wild mushroom sauce‘.
The Vegan Herb Pancake was far behind in the test. I would have really expected more from it. The herb pancake is filled with colorful vegetables, and a carrot-humus dip is served in an extra bowl. Unfortunately, this meal seemed to be completely prefabricated and quickly warmed up – the „colorful vegetable filling“ consisted of rather bland tasting standard – frozen vegetables, which was just sufficiently heated and now really could not set any flavorful accents. Also the herb pancake was a briefly warmed up dough pancake without culinary attraction.
In general, I noticed that the delivery of the dishes followed the orders very quickly, so that I have to assume that the majority of the offer is already almost ready in the kitchen and is not freshly prepared. For a restaurant that is apparently already a bit squinting at higher end offerings, this is a bit disappointing. Personally, I prefer to wait a few minutes longer and to receive fresh and sufficiently fried food, which elicits a few aas and oohs from the palate …..
Worth seeing in the surroundings of Podelwitz Manor
View of the Mulde
Since there are wooded steep banks to the east of the castle property and built-up areas everywhere to the west, it is not at all easy to get to the Mulde river. But there is a stairway in the open area on the Mulde meadows (park bistro), where canoeists can dock for the visit to the castle. And a few meters further, a staircase leads up the embankment. There, hidden under old beech trees, is a lookout point, a kind of „Mulde balcony„, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view over the Freiberg Mulde. Especially towards the east, the view from the Mulde balcony opens up to the steep bank and the passing Mulde river with shallow water zones, where ducks, herons and other water birds have their quite undisturbed stay.
To the west of the castle the Mulde bridge stretches across the stream, over which cyclists from the Mulde cycle path can also reach the moated manor house in Podelwitz Manor.
A hike for digestion
The area around the moated manor house Podelwitz is not too extensive. Essentially, only paved roads lead into the place, unfortunately no hiking trails or the like. Therefore, there is not enough space for an extended hike. Those who want to move more (on foot), especially after a sumptuous meal in the restaurant Schloßgewölbe, can follow the Leisniger Landstraße eastward.
From the Zöllner Mühle (mill) there is a very nice path along the Schanzenbach (creek). After just a few minutes, you are off the road and reach a nature reserve at the Giksteich / Mühlteich (Gikspond/ Millpond). The trail runs on a dam through the valley, with the Giksteich on one side and the meandering Schanzenbach stream flowing even further down on the other. It is a small idyll, quiet and varied. Certainly the one who walks here with a lot of time and patience will discover a lot of birds and maybe other animals – depending on the season.
Behind the pond, the path follows the Schanzenbach stream, bending several times around steep slopes and even small rock faces. One of the rock formations is called „Giksmutter“ according to a legend. In the Middle Ages, a farmer’s wife is said to have been herding sheep here. Then the devil appeared to her and wanted to seize her soul. The farmer’s wife steadfastly refused. The devil then turned her into a rock.
We took the way back at the Giksmutter, because in November the sun sets early and we did not want to walk on the paths in the dark. However, it is possible to continue along the trail to Leithenmühle, to the small village of Brösen or even to Leisnig.
There is a small parking lot on the Leisniger Landstraße at the turnoff to Röda. There is also a cyclist and hiker information for the area, which lies directly on the district border to Central Saxony. To get to the hiking trail to the Giksmutter rock from the parking lot you have to cross the main road and then turn diagonally left into the path.
Stipvisite at the Mulde – Unification
If you want to walk less far, you can go from Podelwitz about 3km further west. There, near Sermuth, the Zwickauer Mulde joins the Freiberger Mulde. To get to the river triangle of the united Mulde river, you only need to walk about 400m along the Zwickauer Mulde. You can park in Sermuth.
Travel information for Podelwitz moated manor house
Accommodation at Podelwitz Manor
If you want to taste the beers and especially the higher-proof alcoholic beverages from the region in the restaurant Schloßgewölbe or Parkbistro, you will be glad to have a comfortable accommodation on site. Of course, also wedding guests, cyclists on the Mulderadweg or canoe – tourists….
Podelwitz Manor offers accommodation* in guest rooms for two or four guests or in family room up to 6 guests. In the neighboring Muldeschlößchen apartments with kitchen can be used. A breakfast buffet is offered for the guests. Packed lunches can be prepared upon request. Pets are allowed if necessary.
The moated manor house Podelwitz is situated on the river Mulde a few kilometers east of the Mulde unification near Sermuth. Arrival by car or rental car* is possible via the A14 (Leipzig – Dresden) exit Grimma, further south via the B 107, which follows the course of the Mulde. Still before Colditz (behind Leisenau) you turn eastward to Sermuth. From there it is another 3km to the moated manor house Podelwitz.
The journey is also possible via the A72 (Chemnitz – Leipzig).
Parking and camper – site
Parking is available in Podelwitz Manor directly at the castle in front of the farm buildings. For travelers with a motor home*, the restaurant Schloßgewölbe provides four free parking spaces at the castle. However, fees are due for water and electricity. Registration as a camper / caravan – traveler in the restaurant.
With the bicycle
With the bicycle you can go on the Mulde river cycle way to Podelwitz. The path runs along the arm of the river Mulde to the north, i.e. to get to Podelwitz you have to cross the bridge over the river Mulde.
By public transport from Colditz
From Colditz you can also take the public bus to Podelwitz on line 621 Colditz – Mutzschen – Nerchau. On weekends, there is now also a call bus line 624 in the region, which stops in Podelwitz if necessary. The local transport provider is Regionalbus Leipzig.
With canoe or rubber dinghy on the Freiberg Mulde River
Water sports on the way: Canoeists can also head for the moated manor house Podelwitz during their tour on the Freiberg Mulde. The Mulde stairs behind the park bistro are also the exit for water sports enthusiasts. If you don’t have your own boat, but would like to enjoy the quietly flowing Mulde on the water, you can rent an inflatable boat in Leisnig Fischendorf and travel the 6.5 km to the moated manor house Podelwitz in about 2 hours. From there, the organized return transport takes place.
More destinations in the region?
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Image source: Map Mulde river cycle path Leisnig – openstreetmap and contributors