Permanent Exhibitions

»Stolpen Lifelong. The Cosel Myth« - New permanent exhibition for the 250th anniversary of her death

Stolpen Castle is inseparably linked to the tragic fate of Countess Cosel, the most famous mistress to Augustus the Strong. She was held captive for almost half a century within the mighty walls of the fortress.

A permanent exhibition on display in three rooms that used to be her kitchen, living-room and bedroom in the Johannis (or Cosel) Tower, where she spent her last 20 years, commemorates the adventurous life of a once powerful lady, whose rise and fall is unique in Saxon history. At the same time, the exhibition provides historical insight into everyday life during the fruitful era of the Augustinian Baroque.

The cheerful, beautiful and smart woman, long-time mistress to Augustus the Strong and mother of three of his children, had made enemies at the Dresden court by allegedly interfering with politics, and she eventually fell victim to the political opportunism of her electoral bedfellow. Until her death, she spent her life in heavily guarded captivity and was never allowed to step beyond the castle gates again. She died at very old age of almost 85 years. Her burial place is located in the Castle Chapel.

»History of Medieval Law in the Torture Chamber«

Torture was exercised in medieval criminal proceedings. As part of law court investigation, it served to extort confessions, the most important piece of evidence in medieval criminal cases. In the context of witch hunts and the persecution of heretics, it came to be adopted as an almost unlimited means of intimidation.

The Torture Chamber at Stolpen Castle is an authentic place that had been maintained until the abolition of torture in Saxony (1770). A large showcase displays instruments of torture, but also devices illustrating how prisoners were kept and sentences enforced can be seen. The items demonstrate that all the human anatomy from top to toe was taken into consideration when it came to torturing.

The permanent exhibition on show in the Torture Chamber provides a comprehensive overview of the history of medieval law and illustrates how merciless and ruthless it was.

»The Basalt is a Saxon«

The Stolpen basalt is a geological natural monument of outstanding importance. The columnar volcanic rock emerged about 25 million years ago. The term ‘basalt’ was used for the first time in 1546 by the renowned Saxon founder of modern mining science, Gregorius Agricola. Thus, the Stolpen castle hill is the type locality of all basalts worldwide. The name »basalt« went around the world from here.

The deepest and unsupported basalt well on Earth ever sunk into the ground (to a depth of 84.39 m) most impressively demonstrates the nature of the extremely hard, tough and black natural rock. The columnar basalt does not only give the castle mountain its shape, but was used especially as building material in the construction of the castle and the town. In 2006, the Hannover Academy of Geo Sciences awarded it the title of a »National Geotope«.

The fascinating research into the history of the Stolpen basalt from the late Middle Ages up to our day is highlighted in the basement rooms of the fourth inner castle yard.


Stolpen Castle

Schloßstraße 10 | 01833 Stolpen

Property of State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony, non profit

+49 (0) 35973 234-10