Schloss Moritzburg

Schloss Moritzburg is a Baroque castle in the municipality of Moritzburg in the German state of Saxony, about 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of the Saxon capital Dresden.

The original castle was built from 1542–1546 as a hunting lodge for Moritz of Wettin, then Duke of Saxony. Elector John George II of Saxony had it extended and between 1661 and 1671 the chapel was added after designs by his architect Wolf Caspar von Klengels, a fine example of the early Baroque style. After in 1697 John George's grandson Elector Frederick Augustus I had converted to Catholicism in order to secure his election as King of Poland, the chapel was consecrated in the Catholic rite. Between 1723 and 1733, Augustus had the castle largely remodelled as a pleasure seat by the architects Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and Zacharias Longuelune, including a formal park, several ponds and a game preserve. The last resident from the House of Wettin was Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony, dispossessed in 1945 by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany.

The displays of many areas within the castle are dedicated to the courtly art of formal hunting. The collection of red deer antlers is considered to be the largest in the world. In the Monströsensaal ("Monstrosity Room") are 39 morbidly contorted antlers, one of them the famous 66-point antler. The Elector's apartments contain excellent examples of lacquer and splendid parade furniture, the silver furniture made in Augsburg in emulation of Louis XIV's silver furniture at Versailles, and Chinese, Japanese and Meissen porcelain as well as fine engraved and inlaid hunting weapons. In the Stone Hall one can visit the antlers collection, in the Billiardsaal (billiards hall) a painting of Louis de Silvestre, and in the entrance hall a collection of gala carriages. The castle is also famous for its sandstone decorations and stuccos.

The shell-pink Fasanenschlösschen ("Little Pheasant Castle") in the park stands at the end of a cross axis to the main axial entrance route leading to the main castle on its formal island in the lake. It stands high and cubical, five bays wide on each face, under a high roof with an ogee profile that is capped by an open cupola that has a pair of Chinese figures under a parasol for a finial. On its garden side, paired staircases descend to a sunken parterre, now planted with turf. The Rococo design was commissioned from Johann Daniel Schade (1730-1798) who had been the architect in charge of the royal building projects, and was completed about 1776, then a summer residence of Elector Frederick Augustus III of Saxony. An old pavilion by Johann Christoph Knöffel was completely rebuilt on its foundations. Its outbuildings, concealed behind plantings to give the pavilion an isolated air, were bird breeding pens, where pheasants were raised to be shot at. Closed for some time for renovation, the Fasanenschloss was expected to reopen in 2007 as a museum showing court life.

In 1972 Schloss Moritzburg was one of the locations of the Czechoslovak-German film Tři oříšky pro Popelku ("Three Nuts for Cinderella").

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