A grotto (Italian Grotta, Cave ', later, vault ') is a cavity with artificial rock walls, sometimes an originally natural lumen of small size, which was heavily revised by humans. Grottos are design elements of garden design.

Cavities in rocks and soil

  • A natural cavity is a cavity.
  • A building that simulates a rock cave is a cave.
  • A horizontal or (walk ) in naturally inclined upcoming material artificially dug by humans cavity is a stud. Also, most tunnels are tunnels.
  • A vertical cavity is a bay, both in course material as well as pending in a building. A ( caves ) pit is a natural origin.

Conceptual history

Until about the mid-20th century, the term cave was used almost interchangeably with the term cave. Both were both natural and artificial cavities. Get yourself has the use of cave for natural cavities in the zoological species names in proteus and names of several well-known caves as Postojna Cave. Some from the Mediterranean accessible caves to cliffs still bear the unquestioned popular name Blue Grotto.

In the reversal of artificial cavities were often referred to as caves, for example, in the term cave dwelling and names like Homburg Castle mountain caves or fairy tales and sandstone cave ( in Walldorf on the Werra ).

The exact distinction of terms completed over decades and even today geological, speleological and Germanistic work. Overall, however, to observe that " cave " more on individual usually small rooms with very rich content (drip stones, shells, fossils, ...) involved, while " cave " most halls and corridors of greater extent indicated. Cave was often used for natural caves in the majority, with a single cave called a hall, several of which were connected by corridors.

Already Kyrle in 1923 another definition, which was picked up by Hubert Trimmel in his book caving (1965). He defined the terms for the German -speaking world: a cave is a contiguous natural cavity, a grotto, an artificial cavity. For both terms also, the singular is used. This use has largely prevailed in the past 50 years, such that the term cave includes all natural cavities, whereas cave referred to certain artificial cavities. As a result, today mines, cave dwellings and many others are not as caves, on the other hand is called in Switzerland cave castles today like to as castles cave.

Many derivative terms come from the far past time before the strict separation of the concepts of cave and grotto. Thus, the term " natural cave " used to highlight the natural origin, the term " stalactite cave " as an increase of " cave ", both are as defined above tautologies. Particularly absurd the phrase still liked to use " caves " when they referred only natural cavities. " Natural cave ", however, is an oxymoron.

Cultural history of the cave

Natural caves and rock sources were in ancient times as an abode of nymphs and other chthonic beings. In Hellenistic and Roman times such sanctuaries were passed in the form of architectural nymphaeums, equipped with niches and sculptures. Already in late antiquity but also plants have been created, such mythological traditions only " quoted" and had predominantly secular character of art.

During the Renaissance and the garden design elements of antiquity were taken up with the world of the gods. Even Leon Battista Alberti ( 1452 ) recommended, cool in gardens to create moist caves and lined in lining walls, fountains and with unhewn stone (eg tuff ) and mussels in the 16th to 17th centuries were niches architectures for fixed program of larger gardens.

In France, the Italian models were soon imitated and developed ( Palace of Fontainebleau, the Palace of Versailles ). In the north were the caves soon the repertoire of the castle garden ( Hortus palatine, Munich Residenz, Hellbrunn near Salzburg).

Always the idea of the cave with the water element is connected; this reference to nature can be enhanced by romantic - religious connotations, create magical unreal ideas by mirrors ( Giardino Giusti, Verona ) and mysterious twilight, be designed to mineralogical rarities cabinets or through treacherous water jokes (example: Hellbrunn ) are used for plates amusement of the court. Just as rich as the type variety is the placement of the caves. As a wild, rugged nature imitation they can put in the garden border, reconciled to the grown landscape, on the other hand grotto elements like integrated into the basements of palace buildings themselves and determine the character of the garden rooms ( examples: Pommersfelden, Wilhelmsthal Palace, New Palace in Potsdam). Thus, a grotto is either a built underground or at least appearing underground building, or even a suitably embellished Pavilion as part of the garden architecture. While the garden theorists lost in the early years of the 18th century, interest in the grotto architecture, found in the garden practice the specialty craftsmen known as Grottierer until the end of the Rococo period. For their acceptance is significant that since 1730 the Rocaille, the asymmetrical, shell -like ornament of the rococo period developed from the cave motifs and spread to all decorating applications.

Another important group of caves are the caves Marie. They usually go to the Grotto of Lourdes back, originally a natural cavern of small extent, little more than an overhanging rock. The Grotto of Lourdes Marie caves were due to the popularity of artificially created world.

Neptune's Grotto in the Park of Sanssouci

Grotto in the landscape park Bärwalde, after 1875

Grotto in the forest Assen. It was modeled on the famous Grotto of Lourdes.

Miniature grotto with representation of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Upper Palatinate Stiftland.