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HomeGerman LifestyleHave you heard about The Golden Rider?

Have you heard about The Golden Rider?

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The Golden Rider is Dresden’s most famous monument. The gilded equestrian statue of August the Strong is a landmark of Dresden.

The statue of the Golden Rider in Dresden was damaged. According to the police, witnesses observed on Sunday morning how a man handled the monument with an angle grinder and a hammer. The alerted officers were able to locate him near the crime scene.

Why the Golden Rider is Dresden’s most famous monument

Several artists contributed to the construction of the monument

The Goldener Reiter monument in Dresden is a masterpiece by the gunsmith Ludwig Wiedemann. This artist from Augsburg created the Golden Rider in the 1730s from copper. The designs of the fire-gilded attraction are based on the designs of the court sculptor Joseph Vinache from France. 

The base is the work of the French architect Zacharias Longuelune. The monument, which was unveiled in November 1736, was actually supposed to be positioned on the Augustus Bridge. However, due to the heavy weight, a change of location was sought.

The Golden Rider survived the Second World War unscathed

In 1884, the architectural theorist Constantin Lipsius was commissioned to carry out restoration measures on the Golden Rider. It took about a year for the base to be designed in the course of the restoration. Since then, this part of the monument has been inscribed in Latin. For safety reasons, the Golden Rider was positioned in a Pillnitz rock tunnel at the end of the Second World War. 

Further restoration work followed in the 1950s, for which new gold leaf was used. Just in time for the 750th anniversary of the city of Dresden, the golden rider was presented to the public. Today the symbol of Dresden serves as a seal of quality for the Dresden Christstollen. In addition, a prize awarded at the Dresden Film Festival bears the title “Golden Rider”.

An eye-catcher on the main street

The monument at the beginning of the main street is now located in one of the most popular pedestrian zones in the metropolis on the Elbe. The Golden Rider is followed by a promenade lined with sandstone figures and plane trees. This street was once supposed to serve as the elector’s new thoroughfare. August the Strong wanted to greet his subordinates on this street when he returned to the city.

  • Address: Goldener Reiter, Hauptstrasse 38, 01097 Dresden
  • Opening times: freely accessible monument

A showpiece from the Baroque era

The Golden Rider is one of the most famous monuments in Dresden. The statue shows the Saxon Elector and Polish King August the Strong in Roman armor on a rearing horse. It has been on Neustädter Markt since 1736. At the end of the Second World War, the Golden Rider was moved to a tunnel in Pillnitz, then reassembled and restored in the 1950s. The last comprehensive repair of the gold-leaf statue was from 2001 to 2003.

Basic facts about the Golden Rider, a monument that represents August the Strong

1. Copper monument, gilding, first erection and unveiling

  • From 1732 to 1734 the parts were driven into copper by Ludwig Wiedemann.
    The designs came from the French court sculptor Joseph Vinache.
  • 1735 fire gilding
  • 1736 Installation and unveiling on the Neustädter Markt
    The monument was too heavy for the Augustus Bridge.

2. Subsequent base construction and dismantling in the Second World War, reassembly

  • 1884 Completion of the base according to a design by Konstantin Lipsius
  • 1943-1944 Dismantling and removal from storage in a Pillnitz rock tunnel
  • 1953-1956 Composition and restoration by the sculptor Walter Flemming
  • 1956 for the 750th anniversary of Dresden installation at the old location;
    During the restoration, 187 grams of gold leaf were reapplied.
  • 1965 renewed gold leaf coating

3. After the fall of the wall: restoration, damage

  • 2001-2003 restoration
  • 2011 several damages; among other things, the scabbard was broken off

Frequently Aked Questions about the Golden Rider

Where is the Golden Rider?

The equestrian statue of the Saxon Elector and Polish King Augustus the Strong, carved in copper, has been on Neustädter Markt since 1736.

Who built the Golden Rider?

They were created by the sculptor Johann Benjamin Thomae and symbolize the rivers of the two great domains of Augustus the Strong: the Elbe and the Vistula. The “Goldene Reiter” stands at the beginning of the main street, today one of the most popular pedestrian zones in Dresden.

Why was the Golden Rider built?

They were built by the sculptor Johann Benjamin Thomae and symbolize the rivers of the two great domains of Augustus the Strong – the Elbe and Vistula. The Golden Rider stands at the beginning of the main street, one of the most popular pedestrian zones in Dresden.

Is the golden rider made of real gold?

The statue shows August as a Roman Caesar with armor in a north-easterly direction towards the Polish kingdom, riding on a levadating Lipizzaner stallion. The prince is shown larger than life. Originally the rider and horse were fire-gilded. Gold leaf was used for the 1956 restoration.

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Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.
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