(Residenzschloss)

Is without doubt one of the most impressive Renaissance buildings in all Germany. There are three main courtyards around which individual buildings of the Castle are grouped. The history of its construction spans from the 12th century to the late 19th century. The original medieval fortress was expanded and converted to a magnificent residential palace in the 15th and 16th centuries. Following a fire in 1701, August the Strong had the complex rebuilt with a new design, from 1717-1719. The 800th anniversary celebration of the house of Wettin were taken as an opportunity for another major renovation in the style of the Neo-Renaissance from 1889 – 1901.

The Castle was destroyed in 1945, and reconstruction work started in 1986. Large sections have already been completed, and the whole project is due to be finished in 2006 ( not ) in time for Dresden’s 800th anniversary celebrations. Among other things the renovated buildings will accommodate several of the museums of the State Art Collections (the Green Vault, the Armoury, the Copper Engraving Museum, the Crafts Museum and the Coins Collection). Among the parts already rebuilt (1964 – 1966) is the George Gate (Georgentor), also known as the George Building (Georgenbau), which connects the Castle and the Stable Courtyard.

The original structure was built in 1898 – 1901 by Gustav Dunger and Gustav Fröhlich. The equestrian statue of Duke Georg the Bearded and the decorative sculpture work are by Christian Behrens. The 101m high Hausmann Tower (Hausmannsturm) restored in 1991 was originally built in 1674 -1676 by Wolf Caspar von Klengel. The Long Colonnade (Langer Gang), probably built by Giovanni Maria Nosseni in 1586 -1588, originally housed an ancestral portrait gallery of the Wettins, later a weapons museum. Today it is the home of the Transport Museum. It connects the George Gate with the Johanneum, and the Procession of Dukes (Fürstenzug) was installed on its outside wall.

The Long Colonnade consists of open arcades decorated with coats of arms and hunting trophies. The arcades rest on Tuscan columns and the Colonnade borders on the Stable Courtyard (Stallhof). This courtyard was formerly used for staging jousting contests and tournaments. Several interesting artefacts survive from this period. Among them the bronze pillars with the rings that the knights would try to hit with their lances, the jousting course and the Schwemme (a bath and watering trough for the horses). It is the only surviving tournament ground of its kind in Europe.

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