History of Dresden Fortress

The building structures of the present-day Dresden Fortress Museum are part of the earliest bastioned fortification of a German town, which were erected from 1545 to 1555.

Young Duke Maurice had chosen this manner of fortifying, which had only then been newly developed in Northern Italy, in order to provide his residence with state-of-the-art defense from artillery attacks. Therefore, wide walls were built that were able to withstand cannon shots and on which defense guns could be positioned. Arrow-shaped bastions protruded from the mighty walls.

Chronology of Dresden Fortress

History of the Venus Bastion

The bastion called »Virgin« that has been preserved to the present day was named after the figure of Justitia that had once been set up at the north-east bastion. In 1721, Augustus the Strong renamed all the bastions, turning »Virgin« into »Venus«. By building the world-famous large Armory (today’sAlbertinum) in the north-east and likewise expanding the castle to the north-west, the Elbe River bastions had to be enlarged in as early as the 16th century already in order to be able to sufficiently protect the new high-rise buildings.

In the 1740s, being not only appreciative of art but also influential, Count Heinrich von Bruehl acquired the Elbe River wall including the extended north-east bastion and had his well-known garden laid out there, which is known as »Bruehl’s Terrace« today.

After fending off Napoleon in the Wars of Liberation, the fortifications around Dresden were torn down. The old Elbe River wall remained preserved as protection against flooding, as did Bruehl’s Garden on top of it for its particularly exquisite beauty.

The Venus Bastion today

In the course of redesigning the fortifications, Bruehl had the vaults backfilled with soil, which is is why an old town gate with a fortress bridge, guards' rooms, including a »water closet«, water supply points and staircases have been fully preserved until today.

The complex was unearthed in the 1990s by members of the registered association Bruehlsche Terasse e. V

The bastion still has its two three-story Flank Yards, including all its adjoining vaults, all showing traces of their use such as flood marks from 450 years. Thus, it allows a glance at everyday life in Dresden in those times. The beautiful old vaults are used as a museum today.

From the top of the bastion, one can enjoy a breathtaking view. That was the reason why the defense building originally planned to be erected in that place was converted into an Electoral Belvedere. Destroyed on several occasions and put up again and again, the fourth Belvedere – the last so far – fell victim to the 1945 bombing.


Dresden Fortress

Georg-Treu-Platz 1 | 01067 Dresden

Property of State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony, non profit

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