PILLNITZ is a celebrated country-seat of the kings of Saxony, the usual summer residence of the court, near the village of the same name, and situated in a beautiful country on the right bank of the Elbe, about five miles from Dresden. Pillnitz was formerly an old castle. In 1693, the Elector John George IV. purchased it of Heinrich von Biinau, and made a present of it to his mistress, the countess of Rochlitz, on whose death it reverted to the crown. Frederick Augustus I. (Augustus II. as king of Poland) gave it, in 1705, to the countess of Cosel. It was afterwards the summer residence of field-marshal Rutowski. Augustus II. however chose to reside there himself, and built two palaces, which were magnifioently fitted up, and were afterwards inhabited during the summer by the family of the king. Since the year 1788, the whole has been much improved, but the mixture of the Chinese, Japanese, and Italian styles of architecture gives it a singular appearance. Four detached pavilions form the four corners of a square, which is bounded on the west by the royal gardens, and on the east by the buildings of the old palace. Between tire two southern pavilions stands the Water Palace, and between the two northern what is called the Berg Palace. The old palace, containing the temple of Venus, with the portraits of the beauties of the reign of Augustus II., was burnt to the ground in 1818. A new edifice has been erected on its site, which contains a spacious banquetingroom, adorned with fine paintings in fresco, by Professor Vogel, of Dresden, and partly lighted by a dome supported by twenty pillars. The palace contains also a chapel and a theatre. Behind the village there is a romantic valley called Frederichsthal, leading to the Borsberg, a mountain nine hundrod feet high, from the summit of which there is a splendid view of the valley of the Elbe, from Meissen to Koningstein, bounded by the high land of Meissen, Bohemia, and the Erzgebirge.
Pillnitz has become famous in modern times for the congress of princes which met here from the 25th to the 27th of August, 1791, and at which the Emperor Leopold II., King Frederick William II., the archduke afterwards Emperor Francis, the crown-prince (the late King Frederick William III.) of Prussia, the count of Artois (Charles X.), the ex-minister Calonne, and the marquis de Bouille deliberated on the measures to be adopted against the French revolution. The congress did not conclude an offensive alliance against France, but it was resolved to act in common and to oppose any attack on the part of France. The defensive alliance between Russia and Austria, provisionally agreed on at Vienna, on the 25th of July, and definitively concluded at Berlin, on the 17th of February, 1792, was merely a subject of conversation at Pillnitz. The brothers of the king of France received, on the 27th of August, a declaration from Austria and Prussia, which the French considered as the foundation of the coalition against France. (Stein; Cannabich; Conv. Lex.; Engelhardt, Sachsen.)
See A. von Minchwitz, Geschichte von Pillnitz (Dresden, 1893).
Note - this article incorporates content from The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1840)