'Dornröschenschlaf beendet,' Sleeping Beauty's sleep has ended, announced a local newspaper in 2014. The beauty in question, Schloss Schönow, had been asleep for over twenty years.
This neogothic castle, in the district of Schönow in Uckermark, Brandenburg, had fallen into a deep slumber just over a hundred kilometres from Berlin. In the two hundred years since its completion, it experienced an array of uses — a witness to German history. From a historical landmark to events venue, Sleeping Beauty has now awoken and is ready to celebrate.
In 2014, Brendan Flynt, a cinematographer and cameraman, found Schloss Schönow for sale online. Although it was a ruin, devastated by fire in 1991, Brendan could see its potential. Initially he intended to use it as a film location, but it also became an event space where people gather to commemorate special occasions. He and his partner, Milena, handle the castle’s artistic direction and oversee the seemingly endless renovations.
Originally built in 1846, the Schönow estate dates back to the thirteenth century. After changing hands several times, it was expropriated in 1945 during the land reform after World War II.
For a while, the castle stood empty. However, according to Brendan, the building became a supermarket and apartments when the area was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Following the 1991 fire, it was once again empty. The couple have found many examples of the rooms’ former wallpaper, whose patterns they share online.
These details make Schloss Schönow more than just a place for celebrations. The interior is a joyous combination of old and new, which gives it an undeniable charm. Many remnants of the original building are still visible, such as the tiled floors, paneled doors and decorative window frames.
Schloss Schönow is a place where multiple families and friends get together, often for weddings and birthday parties. And it’s still used for its original purpose: film and photoshoots.
Brendan and Milena still find ways to honor the castle's former glory while maintaining its rugged appeal. Despite the challenges of time constraints and whether, the pair keep going, improving where they can and discovering new features.
Words by Sarah Fairman
Video Milena Villalon
Read the full article about Schloss Schönow and more in our last issue: 10 FESTIVITY.
Also available in its digital version.