Chamber of wonders and landmark: The Residence Palace in Dresden

A tour from the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Copperplate Engraving Cabinet) to the Gewehrgalerie (Rifle Gallery)

Paradegemach im Residenzschloss Dresden
The Royal Parade Rooms of Augustus the Strong in the Dresden Residence Palace, a view of the Audience Chamber. Photo: Michael R. Hennig

The Residenzschloss (Residence Palace) in the heart of the Old Town is the place of origin and center of Dresden's art collections. It was opened to the public under Augustus the Strong. On the one hand, this was a boast, but on the other, it was a pioneering achievement for the museum system. However, during the bombing raids on Dresden in February 1945, the Residenzschloss was completely burned out. Only part of the Historic Green Vault and the Cellar Rooms remained intact. It was only a few years ago that it was rebuilt. And today it shines as magnificently as it once did.

Small and Large Palace Courtyard

Seen from a height, the Kleiner Schlosshof (Small Palace Courtyard) stands out by virtue of its plastic canopy designed by Peter Kulka. It is made from ETFE, an ultra-modern material that is more commonly used in the roofing of sports stadiums. Large parts of the Grosser Schlosshof (Large Palace Courtyard) have already been reconstructed: The entire colorful painting of the four-story loggia in front of the Hausmann Tower of the Residence Palace has been completed in December 2023. One can now admire the eleven-meter painting of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon in the royal palace in Jerusalem and, on the floor below, the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child in the stable of Bethlehem. The first floor displays the conversion of Paul from the New Testament. At the beginning of the 1550s, the artist brothers Benedikt and Gabriel Tola, who came from northern Italy, were commissioned by Elector Moritz von Sachen to complete the painting of the loggia.

On the way to the former stables, you pass through the Long Palace Corridor. Spectacular even from the outside: 45 horsemen and 48 pedestrians are shown in the Fürstenzug, the largest porcelain painting in the world, consisting of 25,000 porcelain tiles. After extensive reconstruction, the Long Corridor now houses the holdings of the Armory: 500 magnificent rifles and firearms make up the Rifle Gallery.

  • Langer Gang, Gewehrgalerie
  • Langer Gang, Gewehrgalerie
  • Langer Gang, Gewehrgalerie
  • Langer Gang, Gewehrgalerie

Kurfürst Christian I had the gallery, which is about one hundred meters long, built in 1588-90 by master builder Paul Buchner in collaboration with court artist Giovanni Maria Nosseni to connect the Dresden Residence Palace with the newly constructed stable building (today’s Johanneum). Initially, the corridor served as an ancestral gallery of the Wettin dynasty, and in 1589-92, it was decorated with paintings by the court painter Heinrich Göding and his workshop. In 1733, large parts of the firearms collection of the armory were transferred to the Long Corridor. The idea for this probably came from August the Strong. In the end, it was his son and successor August III who realized the project after his death. To this day, the collection of rifles and pistols is considered one of the most important princely firearms collections in Europe.

Parade Apartments

The parade rooms were opened in 1719 by Augustus the Strong on the occasion of the “wedding of the century” of his son Elector Friedrich August and the emperor’s daughter Maria Josepha. In this sequence of rooms, the Saxon-Polish Elector-King staged his reign. Thirty years earlier, as a young prince traveling, he had experienced for himself the splendor of Versailles at the height of Louis XIV’s power and was deeply impressed. The model is quite obvious. Augustus the Strong had new chambers furnished for his son in the palace, which are hard to surpass in magnificence. The representative character was paramount. Here, people not only slept, but also made politics.

The suite of rooms extending from the corner parade hall to the parade bedroom was destroyed during World War II and reconstructed in more than ten years of work with the greatest effort and expert knowledge as well as with the highest level of craftsmanship and refurbished with original works of art from the armory and the Museum of Decorative Arts in accordance with the furnishings of the 18th century.

The preserved originals, such as the gilded Augsburg silver furniture, valuable mirror frames and the gold pilasters from the audience chamber, which were already extraordinarily precious at the time of their creation, tell of the original furnishings and do not fail to have an impressive effect today.

Copperplate Engraving Cabinet

More than half a million drawings, prints and photographs from the Middle Ages to the present day are preserved here, including works by Dürer, van Eyck, Rembrandt, Piranesi, Fragonard and Friedrich to Toulouse-Lautrec, Kotzsch, Glöckner, Baselitz and Tillmans.

Green Vault

“One believes oneself transported to a fairy palace,” Schopenhauer wrote with delight. August the Strong stored and presented his treasures in the Green Vault. With the Treasury in the Historic Green Vault, Augustus the Strong realized his vision of the Baroque Gesamtkunstwerk as an expression of wealth and absolutist power between 1723 and 1730. After extensive restorations and partial reconstructions, the historical room structure shines again in new splendor. In harmony with the festive architecture, well over 2,500 works of art are presented there, freely displayed in front of richly decorated and mirrored display walls or on showpiece tables. A tour takes you through the Amber Cabinet, the Ivory Room, the White Silver Room and the Silver Gilded Room to the Pretiosensaal. The magnificent furnishings, behind which the individual works of art take a back seat, reach their first climax here. Precious vessels made of colored gemstones, rock crystal, sea snails and ostrich eggs are enhanced in their effect by the multiple reflections.

The first part of the famous treasure chamber, the New Green Vault, returned to the rebuilt Dresden Residence Palace in 2004. On the second floor of the west wing, it presents itself with over 1,000 invaluable and beautiful exhibits from three centuries.

New Green Vault

Numerous major works of the collection are exhibited in the ten rooms, including the unique cabinet pieces of the Dresden court jeweler Dinglinger such as the Golden Coffee Set and the Court of the Grand Mogul, the extremely precious hat agraffe with the Green Diamond and the Cherry Core carved with 185 faces according to the inventory.

The fascinating valuables made of gold, silver, enamel and precious stones are joined by extraordinary objects made of mother-of-pearl, coconuts and ivory, such as the frigate with its wafer-thin cut sails. Mirrorless display cases and state-of-the-art lighting technology place the individual work of art in the center of attention and allow unusually close views of the detailed works.

Coin Cabinet

  • Münzkabinett
  • Münzkabinett
  • Münzkabinett

Coins, medals, banknotes, medals, historical securities, minting dies and coin-operated devices – the Dresden Numismatic Collection brings together around 300,000 numismatic objects from antiquity to the present day and, at 500 years old, is the oldest museum in the Dresden State Art Collections. The permanent exhibition shows various aspects of money and medal art: from the drachma to the euro, it goes chronologically through the history of coins. Original coin names, forgeries, weights and last but not least treasure finds complete the complex picture of money.


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Chamber of Armory


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Richly decorated armor, firearms, swords and sabers made of precious metals, as well as magnificent dresses and riding equipment – all these objects are united in the Dresden Armory. The collection, which originated from the possessions of the Saxon dukes and electors, is one of the most precious collections of magnificent weapons and costumes in the world and, with around 13,000 individual pieces, also one of the largest.

The new “Kunstkammer Gegenwart” (Contemporary Art Chamber) in the Dresden Residence Palace

With the “Kunstkammer Gegenwart”, a new place for contemporary art will be integrated in the former Fürstengalerie from December 2023. This will create an archive of contemporary art, primarily featuring works from the Hoffmann Collection donation, but also works from the Kunstfonds, the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) and the Albertinum, as well as from the Günther and Annemarie Gercken Foundation, which is affiliated with the Kunstsammlungen. The holdings of the Fürstengalerie will continue to be on display in the Residenzschloss.

The concept of the “Kunstkammer Gegenwart” follows the approach of reconciling two important museum tasks, the storage and the exhibition of works of art. With annually changing focal points, this Kunstkammer aims to provide insights into the extensive treasures of contemporary art within the SKD. The internationally renowned designer Konstantin Grčić has been recruited for a new type of innovative display depot that will make this presentation possible. His concept also includes an “Open Workshop” in which the conservational and restorative handling of modern, fragile materials of contemporary art becomes visible to the public.

Residence Palace Dresden

Old Town // Taschenberg 2

Tickets 14 Euro, concessions 10,50 Euro (New Green Vault, Turkish Chamber, Renaissance Wing, Armoury in the Giant’s Hall, Royal Parade Rooms of August the Strong and Porcelain Cabinet, Rifle Gallery in the Long Corridor, current special exhibitions in the Museum of Prints and Drawings, except Historical Green Vault)

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