Yes, this was once a place where people made music, laughed and ate their meals. This room, on the first floor of the residential keep, was originally Klippenstein Castle’s great hall. Large areas of the walls were decorated with leafy vines and red blossoms. This 15th century wall decoration has been uncovered in two places in the room.
Today, the hall is devoted to the root-and-branch reforms carried out by Saxony’s ruler, Moritz of Saxony. On the front of the cabinet at the back of the room on the right, you can see a portrait of Moritz from an original by Lucas Cranach the Younger. The two figures in historic costumes on the left represent Moritz and his wife. The figures, which were skilfully made by hand, are based on an illustration from Saxony’s dynastic register which was also by Lucas Cranach.
The magnificent bell-shaped mantle worn by Moritz, the club-toed (or cow-mouth) shoes and the beret mark him out as a prince who was both fashion-conscious and aware of his power. But perhaps most eye-catching are the sleeves worn by his wife Agnes, which are puffed and slashed to reveal the costly fabric used to line them.
Moritz ruled from 1541 to 1553. During his brief time in power, he waged wars, rose to become elector, founded the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden (the Dresden State Orchestra) and reorganised the administration. He issued a new right of coinage and new taxes, from which he derived significant benefit. Whereas Moritz had an income of some 50,000 guilders before the reforms, his entitlement afterwards was ten times that – half a million guilders!
Moritz joined the cause of the Protestant Reformation, dissolved the monasteries and replaced them with schools – after all, his administrative reforms urgently required well-educated employees.
Radeberg, too, experienced major changes under Moritz‘s rule. During the period from 1543 to 1546, the duke remodelled the medieval castle into a Renaissance hunting lodge. He used to set out from here into the extensive surrounding forests and go a-hunting – which was the major pastime of the ruling elite in those days.
At the same time, he set up Radeberg administration district here. The judicial, revenue and military authorities moved into Klippenstein Palace … and remained in place for centuries.
To establish the level of the half-yearly taxes, Moritz had what’s called the “Amtserbbuch” drawn up – essentially a mini-Domesday Book, an inventory of the district with its villages, precisely listing the buildings, gardens, outlying estates … and of course the taxes payable.
In the cellar of the residential keep, which was used for storage in the past, you’ll find historic views of the area and some 18th and 19th century maps of the palace on display.
There’s also a showcase with archaeological finds – specifically late Bronze Age grave goods from the surrounding area. These finds provide evidence that the Radeberg district was settled early on.
All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen