The buildings of the present-day museum »Dresden Fortress« are part of a bastion. As one of the first German towns, Dresden received such atype of fortification. Young Duke Maurice had it erected between 1545 and 1555 following the North-Italian model. It was a response to the developments in the fields of guns and arms and protected his residence in the most modern way against artillery fire: The wide walls were to absorb the besiegers’ cannon balls and served to deploy defense guns. The arrow-shaped bastions that protruded from the walls allowed for shooting in any angle.
The history of Bruehl’s Terrace as a fortification
By building the Zeughaus, the arsenal for arms and military equipment, in the town’s northeast and by expanding the residential palace to the northwest, the riverside bastions needed to be enlarged as soon as in the second half of the 16th century already. At first, one of the bastions was called »Jungfernbastion« (Virgin Bastion) for a figure of Justitia standing on its grounds until, in 1721, it was renamed by Augustus the Strong into »Venusbastion«. When Count Bruehl acquired the fortification around 1740, he laid out today’s »Bruehl’s Garden«. The Zeughaus became the Albertinum and the fortification walls were turned into Bruehl’s Terrace. After the Liberation Wars against Napoleon, all fortifications around Dresden were razed; the old Elbe River wall remained as protection against flooding.
The Venus Bastion today
For redesigning the fortifications, Bruehl had the walls backfilled with soil. Preserved in that way, an old town gate with a bridge to the fortress and the shelters for the guards, including water closets, spots for water supply and stairs remained fully intact.
In the 1990s, members of the Dresden Bruehl’s Terrace Association, non-profit, unearthed the facility again. Today, the »Dresden Fortress« Museum shows the original walls of the bastion with its two three-floor flanking yards, all associated vaults and traces of use ‒ including flood marks from 450 years. From the tip of the bastion, one can have a breathtaking view, which had been the reason why the Electors had a belvedere built that had originally been planned as a defense building. But that building, destroyed oftentimes and reconstructed again and again, eventually fell victim to the bombs in 1945.
Georg-Treu-Platz 1 | 01067 Dresden
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