"This image of King Johann of Bohemia was presented to Jean-François Boch by Friedrich Wilhelm, Crown Prince of Prussia." It was a gift from the Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, later King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, to Jean-François Boch, during a visit to the latter in 1833. The sculpture of the fountain, designed by the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841), depicts Friedrich Wilhelm's ancestor, Johann, King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg. It was during this visit to Mettlach that the Crown Prince discovered that Jean-François Boch had provided a temporary resting place in the Old Abbey for the remains of the King, who had fallen in battle in 1346, following the long period of confusion caused by wars and the French Revolution.
St. Joseph's Chapel in Mettlach.
Beside the Old Tower stands a display created by two great contemporary artists - the 14 metre high "Erdgeist" statue by André Heller and the largest ceramic jigsaw puzzle ever produced in the Villeroy & Boch mosaic workshop, the "Map of the living world" by Stefan Szczesny. Together, they form the "Living Planet Square", one of the highlights of Expo 2000 in Hanover. The "Living Planet Square" is the artistic expression of a project initiated by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature with the aim of protecting endangered eco-regions all over the world. Villeroy & Boch brought it to Mettlach. Another of the sights in our beautiful park is Homo Ceramicus Mettlachiensis by Joris van der Mijinsbrugge (1974).
The neo-Gothic St Joseph's chapel was built in 1864 in the "spirit of the 13th century" in Wallerfangen, inspired by Sainte Chapelle in Paris. It was constructed by the architect Franz Georg Himpler (1833-1916) on the orders of Barbara Céphalie Thierry. Following the marriage of Oktavie Villeroy, of Wallerfangen, to Eugen von Boch, of Mettlach, in 1842, the chapel was dismantled stone by stone in 1879 and transported from Wallerfangen to Mettlach by barges on the River Saar. The relocation of the hospital in Wallerfangen meant that the chapel could no longer be used there. It was rebuilt in Mettlach and decorated with precious mosaics, tiles and terracotta. Eugen von Boch ordered the construction of the family crypt below the chapel.
The "Erdgeist" statue and ceramic jigsaw puzzle
A stroll through the Old Abbey park will take you past some rare exotic trees to the oldest sacred building in the Saarland region, the octagonal Old Tower. It was constructed over 1,000 years ago as a burial chapel for St. Luitwinus and has undergone extensive restoration in recent years. Our work on the conservation of this emblematic structure represents an important contribution towards the protection of a historic monument that is integrally linked to the name of Villeroy & Boch.