Gruenes Gewoelbe

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Gruenes Gewoelbe
Gruenes Gewoelbe

[ source: Wikipedia]

Dresden's Gruenes Gewoelbe is considered the largest collection of treasures in Europe. The name comes from the fact that in the original rooms in the Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide) Castle the column bases and capitals were painted malachite green. The Gruenes Gewoelbe was constructed in the 1720s, but its roots go back two centuries further. In 1547, Elector Moritz of Saxony had the so-called "Secret Repository" built into the castle. In this secret treasure chamber were stored valuable documents and jewels. The rooms were protected from theft and fire by thick walls and iron shutters and doors.

In the 1720s, August the Strong decided that he wished to transform the Secret Repository into a series of chambers that would display his vast treasures. He commissioned Matthaeus Daniel Poeppelmann, the architect of the Zwinger, to redesign the rooms such that they could be opened to a select public. Thus, August created one of Europe's oldest museums. When finished, Poeppelmann had created eight magnificent chambers that were to awe anyone who entered them. He achieved August's goal of building chambers that were as stunning as the treasures themselves.

As one of the most valuable treasure chambers in Europe, the Gruenes Gewoelbe continues to fascinate visitors today. Since the opening of the New Gruenes Gewoelbe in 2004 and the Historical Gruenes Gewoelbe in 2006 in the restored Dresden Castle, over 3 million visitors have viewed the collection. (The original Gruenes Gewoelbe was mainly destroyed in the bombing attack on Dresden in 1945, although the treasures themselves were spared.) The Historical Gruenes Gewoelbe is the reconstructed Baroque treasure chamber of August the Strong. About 3,000 artifacts are displayed here on gilt consoles in front of mirrored walls. The rooms in this part of the museum include the Amber Cabinet, the Ivory Room, the White Silver Room, the Silver Gilt Room, the Hall of Precious Objects, the Corner Cabinet, the Heraldry Room, the Jewel Room, the Bronze Room, and the Room of the Renaissance Bronzes. The artworks in the Gruenes Gewoelbe are made of a vast array of precious and exotic materials, including ivory, gold, silver, mother-of-pearl, enamel, gems, ostrich eggs, and coconuts.

The New Gruenes Gewoelbe displays about 1,000 items in showcases made of antiglare glass, lit by state-0f-the-art lighting. In this part of the collection, the visitor will see two of the most famous works in the museum: the Golden Coffee Service and the amazing Royal Household of the Grand Mogul. The Grand Mogul scene contains 4,909 diamonds, 160 rubies, 164 emeralds, 16 pearls, 1 sapphire, and 2 cameos. This work delighted August the Strong, and it will amaze you when you see it.

Make sure that you make room in your schedule for the Gruenes Gewoelbe when you are in Dresden. Memories of this unique museum will stay with you long after you have returned home.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location: Dresden, Germany

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