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Coselpalais, a Residence Fit for a King’s Brother

Coselpalais. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Coselpalais is one of the grandest baroque palaces in Dresden. It stands in front of the Frauenkirche and demands as much attention as the other nearby structures. 

In 1560, a structure that served as a windmill, and later a tower, was erected on the site of the Coselpalais. The Saxon Elector Frederick Augustus gave the building to Johann Christoph Knöffel, chief of the Oberlandskrieche. The tower was destroyed in 1744, and between 1745 and 1746, Knöffel built two separate five-storey buildings, which were sadly damaged in 1760 at the height of the Seven Years’ War. One of the two structures to the Frauenkirche was totally destroyed during the Prussian siege of Dresden on July 19, 1760. It was later rebuilt. The other part had been preserved in ruins and was integrated into the new Coselpalais building and for the left half of the Palais was duplicated. 

Friedrich Augustus, Imperial Count von Cosel, General of the Infantry, and a younger half-brother of the Frederick August II, Elector of Saxony, acquired the two adjoining houses in 1762. Friedrich Augustus was the only son of King Augustus II the Strong with his mistress, Countess Anna Constanze von Hoym (the nearby Taschenbergpalais was the king’s gift to his mistress).

The Count von Cosel commissioned Julius Heinrich Schwarze to build a residential palace, which was named after him. When Coselpalais was finally finished, it was hailed as one of the finest baroque structures in Saxony. The main front was subdivided by pilasters with central risers and triangles. A festive hall was located on the first floor. The original structure designed by Knöffel was retained but Schwarz also added two two-storey side wings. Twelve children's sculptures highlighted the entrance.

From 1845 to 1853 the Russian Hotel was housed here. Ownership of the palace was transferred to the Kingdom of Saxony in the 1850s and the palace served as the headquarters of the Saxon police until the police moved to the newly built Police Department in 1901.  Just like much of the structures in the Old Town, Coselpalais was not spared from the nighttime bombing during World War II. It was not until 1973 that rebuilding commenced, initially on the wing buildings. Between 1998 and 2000, the main building was reconstructed which was finished in February 2002. The palace, now hailed as one of the most remarkable 18th century buildings in Dresden, now houses the Grand Cafe and Restaurant, one of Dresden’s most sought-after restaurants for its “unrivalled range of delicious gateaux and freshly baked cakes with choice coffee specialties.”


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