It’s called the Green Vault because of the color of the stone used in the foundation and some supporting walls. It is a world class museum in Dresden; the first of its kind, royal family treasures opened to the public. And treasures they are! The rooms were built to totally integrate the treasures into the setting. Thus, the rooms themselves are masterpieces.
It is hard to describe the wonders Kathy and I saw. Rhinoceros horns, ostrich eggs and sea shells etched and polished and covered in gold and silver and precious jewels. Alabaster, mother of pearl and amber made into all kinds of objects and laden with gold and silver and jewels. Rock crystal made into goblets and serving containers, luminescent yet translucent, and once again trimmed in precious metals and jewels. Enamels made into paintings and serve ware and presentation boxes, some incorporating art pieces from antiquity into the design. Ivory, lots of ivory, made into amazing objects. Art ware made of glass molten with gold, mostly ruby in color. Bronze work acquired from around the world. And the jewels, the most complete collection in the world–stunning! It is not just the jewels, but the craftsmanship that accompanied them, such as buttons for the king’s robe that took the goldsmith years to construct making fine gold filigree by hand before the pearls and diamonds were attached. And jewels, lots of jewels–brilliant and shimmering in rings, necklaces, broaches, swords, walking canes, case after case of jewels.
August the Strong, Saxon Prince Elector and King of Poland and Lithuania was the mastermind behind the Green Vault contained in his palace in Dresden. The Green Vault is divided into two sections–the historic, or Historisches Grünes Gewölbe, and the new, or Neues Grünes Gewölbe. In addition, the Old Master’s Gallery is also housed in another palace, the massive Zwinger, just steps up the street.
During WWII, the Germans took the Green Vault treasures to a hiding place for safety. Thus, they were unharmed, although the wonderful rooms which were built for them sustained serious damage. The Russians, who occupied this part of Germany after the war, took the Green Vault to Russia and only over the last years have they been returned and the Green Vault rooms restored. Restoration from the war continues in the Schloss and, indeed, throughout Dresden. I am simply amazed at the art that fills this city and the determination of the people to restore the city to all its former glory. WEG