Most Czechs will know Moritzburg Schloss as the castle from the 1973 classic Christmas-time fairytale “Tři oříšky pro Popelku,” or in English translation, “Three Nuts for Cinderella.” (That sounds really bad actually.) Three seconds later update: The official translated name is “Three Wishes for Cinderella.” (That sounds better.)
This is genuinely an incredible film (trailer here, Czech only) starring Libuše Šafránková‘s truly badass Cinderella whose main focus was not actually chasing around the prince, but to have fun and generally to rebel against society by riding horses bareback and being a better archer than “the boys.” It’s just a coincidence that her wishes (through the magical nuts – no fairy godmothers in this version of the classic tale) lead her to spite her (not evil, just annoying and ugly) stepmother and stepsister by going to the ball and charming the prince with a riddle about her identity.
That veil wasn’t really fooling anyone, but yeah okay.
The fairytale was a co-production between East Germany (DDR) and Czechoslovakia because they filmed it partially at Moritzburg Schloss, a beautiful castle/chateau in, you guessed it, Moritzburg – 30 minutes from Dresden by bus.
If I look like I’d been crying in these selfies, it’s because it was really windy that day 😛
After walking across a short bridge over the castle lake, you can walk around the castle grounds for free, or enter a small exhibit about court life and particularly, the dining customs and habits of its former inhabitants, inside the castle’s east wing. A full castle tour is €8. It has a highly-rated but expensive restaurant as well.
Moritzburg was the former hunting lodge of Saxon electors and kings from the 1600s-1800s starting with the well-known Augustus the Strong. But it was not any less royal or luxuriant for not being their main residence.
The organization of chateau life was a lot more interesting than I’d expected! For example,
-The Supreme Court Marshal was a nobleman in one of the highest court positions who kept charge over many offices including the following ones, and generally by the 18th century had 600-700 people to direct. He was responsible for organizing the court party for trips to the Leipzig trade fair, for example.
-The kitchen master, or head chef, was one of the better-paid court workers and was responsible for directing a large kitchen staff as well as serving food directly and first to the king.
-The “head cellar master” was a very important, trust-based position as this man tasted wine before the king.
-These offices kept very accurate bookkeeping about provisions including game and spirits bought and ingested.
-Dinner was usually served in three courses, two including meats, and with the dessert on the table from the beginning (fruit and sugar were symbols of high social status). Luxurious copper forms, like the fish and lobster above, were used.
-Kitchens were kept far from the dining hall because of risk of fire.
-Iron, bronze, and copper were used in the kitchen, but the last two had to be treated (for example, bronze was boiled with vinegar and coated with horse dung!!!) to keep the metal flavor from the food and also – haha – to keep the metal from poisoning the court.
-Investments were made in gold and silver table services just in case the court spent too much and needed to sell them for money 🙂
After looking at the exhibit and learning a bit about the castle’s history, walk behind the castle and around the lake to get some beautiful views of the castle through the trees.
My selfies will always be outdone by the castle itself.
On a nice day, you can walk into the woods beyond the castle grounds and go for a walk. I went for a walk, but it was not a nice day, it was a rainy day, and I got about 10 mosquito bites in the space of 3 minutes 😦
Don’t get me wrong… my first mosquito bite is a rite of passage into summer. But then having to deal with the rest of my trip itching and scratching all day and night… not super fun.
After finishing your castle visit and while waiting for your bus (it comes once an hour – get the schedule at the info place but don’t expect to hear English there!), you can catch a quick snack at a local outdoor café that sells bratwurst and currywurst.
It was such a wonderful trip, and I’m so glad I made the time for it!
Left: a lone swan on the castle lake. Right: a view of the lake and left side of the castle.