Altenburg Palace is a multifaceted ensemble of buildings that looks back on a nearly thousand-year history. Awaiting today’s visitor is an amalgam of intriguing contrasts with a unique aesthetic appeal.
As a castle and administrative centre, the complex once served as temporary residence for kings, emperors and electors. In 1455 the castle was the scene of the legendary “Abduction of the Saxon Princes”. Later, two lines of the dukes of Sachsen-Altenburg resided here.
The palace’s present-day appearance is mainly the result of a Baroque reconstruction and expansion from 1706 to 1744. Princely apartments with historic stucco ornament, ceiling paintings and wall treatments, some of them remodelled in the 19th century, constitute a versatile ensemble. An imposing element is the Late Gothic Palace Chapel with 1739 Trost organ.
The beginnings of today’s Palace Museum and Museum of Playing Cards go back to the year 1920, with the playing card section added in 1923. Originally based on the former ducal armoury and chamber of antiquities, the collection today features various decorative arts genres, such as East Asian porcelain, along with paintings. Bernhard August von Lindenau’s (1779–1854) porcelain collection is a highlight of the exhibition. An impressive testament to the avid collecting activities of the princes is the Room of the Sibyls, built in 1734/1735, in which porcelain and other art objects are displayed.