Near the centre of Dresden, towards the southeast, stands Pillnitz Castle. In the 18th century, this was the home of Anna Constantia von Brockdorff, the Countess of Cosel. She was the most famous in a long string of mistresses of August II the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony.
After the countess fell from the king’s graces, he reclaimed the castle he had given her. He then commissioned the famous architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann to completely remodel it. The king and his royal household were known for their hedonist ways and Pillnitz was nicknamed the “pleasure castle of Dresden”. Even today it is easy to picture how guests would arrive on the River Elbe in a ornately decorated gondola to attend lavish parties at the castle.