Mortizburg Castle

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Schloss Moritzburg
Schloss Moritzburg

[ source: Wikipedia]

The details of Castle Moritzburg's past are intricately entwined with the glories of Baroque Saxony and the court of August the Strong. In all of its ochre and white splendor, Moritzburg (Moritzburg vacation rentals | Moritzburg travel guide) is located less than 10 miles north of Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide), an easy excursion for anyone staying in Saxony's capital city. The castle is distinctive for the four round towers located at the corners of the structure. Adding all the more to the castle's dramatic appearance, it is constructed on an artificial island, creating a marvelous aesthetic contrast of dark gold and crystal blue.

Moritzburg Castle was named for Duke Moritz of Saxony, of the Wettiner line of Saxon rulers, who built an earlier hunting lodge on this site in the 1540s. Between 1723 and 1733, August the Strong, Elector of Saxony, had the castle remodeled into a country seat by Matthaeus Daniel Poeppelman, who designed the Zwinger in Dresden, and Zacharias Longueline. A game preserve, a formal park, and several ponds were added to the island at this point. By this time, Moritzburg Castle had over 200 rooms, and the finest Saxon artisans were hired to handle the details of the castle.

Under Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, August the Strong's great-grandson, several additional elements were introduced to the site, including a miniature harbor with a lighthouse and a jetty. The harbor was used to stage mock maritime battles for the monarch's pleasure.

The last member of the House of Wettin lived here until 1945, when his property was seized by the Soviet occupation authorities. Numerous artworks from Moritzburg Castle were taken back to the USSR by Soviet troops after the war, never to be returned.

Today Moritzburg Castle retains many of the elegant details from the Baroque period under August the Strong. The collection of red deer antlers is one of the most important of its type, with most specimens being between 270 and 400 years of age. On view in one of the numerous bedrooms is a 4-poster bed acquired by August the Strong. It is unique for the approximately 1 million pheasant, duck, peacock, and guinea hen feathers woven into the canvas coverings. A changing variety of temporary exhibitions supplement the permanent installations. Visitors should also be sure to allow time to leisurely wander through the gardens around the castle. Notably, the Well of Venus is one of the largest Baroque fountains in Saxony.

Although tours are given in Germany (naturally), tours in English can be arranged upon request. For the impromptu trip to Moritzburg Castle, English audioguides are also available to enhance the viewing experience.

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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, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Schloßallee, 01468 Moritzburg, Germany

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