is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....
. For almost 400 years, it has been the residence of the electors (1547–1806) and kings (1806–1918) of Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....
. It is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...
Renaissance Revival is an all-encompassing designation that covers many 19th century architectural revival styles which were neither Grecian nor Gothic but which instead drew inspiration from a wide range of classicizing Italian modes...
Today, the residential castle is a museum complex that contains the Historic and New Green Vault, the Coin Cabinet, the Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and the Turkish Chamber. It also houses an art library and the management of the Dresden State Art Collections.
The original castle was a Romanesque keep
A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the...
, built around 1200. The Hausmannsturm
was built at the beginning of the 15th century. From 1468 until 1480, the keep was extended by the master builder, Arnold von Westfalen, becoming an enclosed four-wing construction. In the middle of the 16th century, an addition was added in the Renaissance style.
After a major fire in 1701, Augustus II the Strong
Frederick Augustus I or Augustus II the Strong was Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania ....
rebuilt much of the castle in the Baroque style. The collection rooms were created at this time in the western wing. The Silver Room, Heraldic Room and the Pretiosensaal
were built from 1723–1726 and the Kaminzimmer
(Jewel Room), Ivory Room and Bronze Room were built from 1727–1729.
The 800th anniversary of the House of Wettin resulted in more rebuilding between 1889 and 1901.
A Neo-renaissance renovation was undertaken, followed by various modernizations, such as in-floor heating and electric lights in 1914.
Most of the castle was reduced to a roofless shell during the February 13, 1945 bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...
. The Heraldic, Jewel, Silver and Bronze Rooms were all destroyed. However, the collections survived, having been moved to safety at Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress , the "Saxon Bastille", is a hilltop fortress near Dresden, in Saxon Switzerland, Germany, above the town of Königstein on the left bank of the River Elbe...
in the early years of the war.
For the first 15 years after the end of the Second World War, no attempt was made to rebuild the castle, except to install a temporary roof in 1946. Restoration began in the 1960s with the installation of new windows and has occurred rapidly since then. The castle's restoration is due to be completed in 2013.
Dresden castle houses five museums, the Historic Green Vault and the New Green Vault, the Coin Cabinet, the Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and the Turkish Chamber.
Also accessible is an art library (Kunstbibliothek
) with approximately 260,000 volumes of special literature on art history. The character of the holdings is closely related to the collecting focal points of the museums.
The Gallery of the Electors and the Hausmannsturm
, once Dresden's largest tower, can be visited as well.
Historic and New Green Vault
The Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe
) is a museum that contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe. Founded by Augustus II the Strong in 1723, it features a unique and rich variety of exhibits from the period of baroque to classicism. The museum consists of the Historic Green Vault (Historisches Grünes Gewölbe
) and the New Green Vault (Neues Grünes Gewölbe
The Historic Green Vault is known for its treasure chambers, and is itself a baroque work of art. The New Green Vault is more modern. The Historic Green Vault is located on the ground floor of the Dresden Castle and visits require an advance booking; admittance to the New Green Vault, which is on the second floor, is not limited.
The Coin Cabinet (Münzkabinett
), with its nearly 300,000 pieces, is one of Dresden’s oldest museums, going back to the early 16th century. It contains one of the largest universal collections in Europe. Its broad spectrum ranges from classical antiquity to present-day coins. Some 30,000 Saxon coins and medals represent different periods in Saxony's history. The collection also includes orders and insignia, bank notes and historic bonds, models, seals, minting dies for coins and medals, as well as minting machines and equipment.
The Coin Cabinet is a center of scholarly research and has a library, open to the public, containing approximately 30,000 volumes.
Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs
The Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs (Kupferstich-Kabinett
) shows work by renowned artists from numerous countries. There are approximately 515,000 objects by more than 20,000 artists across eight centuries. It holds drawings and prints by old masters such as Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...
and Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning...
, as well as later artists, like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an œuvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern...
and Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...
. Engravings by Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer was a German engraver and painter. He was the most important German printmaker before Albrecht Dürer....
and woodcuts by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...
are shown along with photographic works.
There is also a collection of drawings and graphic art by Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kollwitz was a German painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose work offered an eloquent and often searing account of the human condition in the first half of the 20th century...
The Turkish Chamber (Türckische Cammer
), opened in 2010, displays more than 600 objects of art from the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...
, making it one of the oldest and most significant collections outside Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...
. Between the 16th and the 19th centuries, the electors of Saxony, motivated by their passion for collecting and their desire for princely prestige, amassed a wealth of "turquerie
Turquerie was the Orientalist fashion in Western Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries for imitating aspects of Turkish art and culture. Many different Western European countries were fascinated by the exotic and relatively unknown culture of Turkey, which was the center of the Ottoman Empire,...
The largest object in the Turkish Chamber is a three-mast tent, 20 m (65.6 ft) long, 8 m (26.2 ft) wide and 6 m (19.7 ft) high, made of gold and silk. In addition, there are eight life-sized, carved wooden horses and a group of reflex bows with original strings, the oldest of which dates from 1586.
Also shown are weapons, suits of chain mail
Mail is a type of armour consisting of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh.-History:Mail was a highly successful type of armour and was used by nearly every metalworking culture....
, helmets, flags and costumes.
- Pillnitz Castle
Pillnitz Castle is a restored Baroque castle at the eastern end of the city of Dresden in the German state of Saxony. It is located on the bank of the River Elbe in the former village of Pillnitz...
– Summer residence of the electors and kings of Saxony
- Moritzburg Castle
Schloss Moritzburg is a Baroque castle in Moritzburg, in the German state of Saxony, about northwest of the Saxon capital, Dresden. The castle has four round towers and lies on a symmetrical artificial island. It is named after Duke Moritz of Saxony, who had a hunting lodge built there between...
– Hunting lodge of the electors and kings of Saxony
- List of castles in Saxony