Residenzschloss (Royal Palace)
The Semperoper, the Zwinger, the Frauenkirche and in their midst the Residenzschloss, Dresden’s royal palace. Dresden’s historic centre is studded with architectural highlights, and today it is hard to imagine that the Residenzschloss was reconstructed just a handful of years ago. Almost completely burnt out in the bombing of Dresden in February 1945, all that remained unharmed were a part of the palace’s Historisches Grünes Gewölbe (Historic Green Vault) and the basement rooms.
Where Art and Science Reside
Until the late 1980s, not only were materials and finances lacking for maintenance and reconstruction, the political will for such an undertaking was absent in East Germany. This was in spite of volunteers and proactive public offices such as the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, the Technical University Dresden and the Dresden art collections themselves.
With German reunification came a reconception of the palace as a residence for art and science. In 1995, an international commission of experts recommended what today is reality: The historical and the new Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Cabinet of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), the Rüstkammer (Armoury) and the Münzkabinett (Coin Cabinet) were to belong to the museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), and to have their seat in the palace, with exhibition areas, storage spaces and offices. Further publically accessible places are the palace chapel, the extensive art library, various lecture and study halls as well as (in the summer months) the tower known as the Hausmannsturm, which affords visitors who climb its 327 steps a spectacular view of Dresden. Visible from afar, the transparent dome structure which forms a roof over the small palace courtyard protects visitors in the foyer from the weather.