Zwinger, Dresden

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  • Detail of the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon
    Detail of the...
    by EasyMalc
  • Long Gallery Fountains
    Long Gallery Fountains
    by balhannah
  • Nymphenbad (Nymph's Bath) with water cascade
    Nymphenbad (Nymph's Bath) with water...
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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Zwinger Palace

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Zwinger Palace
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    The Zwinger is a major landmark of German baroque architecture and the most magnificent Baroque buildings in Germany.
    The location was formerly part of the Dresden fortress of which the outer wall is conserved.
    The strange-sounding name “Zwinger” is a term used in military architecture and is a reference to the building’s original position in front of the defensive wall around the city. However, even in August the Strong’s time the Zwinger did not have the function of a fortification.

    The complex was built between 1710 and 1732 after a design by Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann in collaboration with sculptor Balthasar Permoser.
    It is includes pavilions and art galleries including Old Masters Picture Gallery, Zoological Museum, Porcelain Collection, and many more.

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    Armoury

    by german_eagle Updated Jan 3, 2011

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    Armoury
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    The Zwinger is also home of the magnificent Armoury. It is one of the biggest and most magnificent in the world. Due to limited space only less than 10% of the pieces are on display. It is planned to relocate the Armoury to the Royal Palace after reconstruction is finished. This will allow to display almost all the pieces - cannot wait to see it! So far one part of the Armoury, the "Turkish Chamber" has made the move - and it is absolutely fantastic! See separate tip, please.

    What you get to see in the Zwinger halls are mostly suits or armour, guns, pistols, rapiers etc. but also the official robe which Augustus the Strong wore at the coronation procedure - one of the highlights.

    This exhibit is pretty fascinating for kids, especially the boys. I spent hours there when I was a little boy, never got tired of watching the pieces and letting my fantasy play.

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    Porcelain Collection

    by german_eagle Updated Jan 3, 2011

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    Entrance hall with Asian porcelain
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    Dresden is heaven for lovers of porcelain. Duke Elector and King of Poland August the Strong was crazy about the so called "white gold" and collected it. He even traded Saxon soldiers in for porcelain (And who was the other party in the trade? Prussien's King, of course. Who else?)

    Not only did August buy Japanese and Chinese porcelain, he also conveyed the research for manufacturing porcelain in Saxony. To his delight Johann Friedrich Böttger and Walther von Tschirnhaus found out the secret of how to make porcelain in Dresden in 1710. The porcelain manufacture was founded in nearby Meißen and August was the best customer.

    Only a fractional amount of the whole collection is on display in the Zwinger halls as this porcelain collection is one of the largest and most valuable in the world. In recent years New York based designer Peter Marino created a new, colourful, almost Baroque design for the display and while I'd say at some points it looks a bit kitschy it is much better than the previous, quite sterile design.

    Excellent pieces from Japan and China as well as such from Europe's first porcelain manufacture in Meissen are on display. I love the big animal figures in particular, also the tiny figures of the Commedia dell'Arte.

    Entrance is at Glockenspiel (Chimes) Pavillion.

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    Picture Gallery "Old Masters"

    by german_eagle Updated Dec 28, 2010

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    The
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    This outstanding picture gallery is to find in Semper's gallery building as part of the Zwinger courtyard. It is famous for the works of Italian, Dutch and Flemish painters in particular. But it also hosts some magnificent paintings by French, Spanish and German artists.

    The most famous of the paintings is Raphael's "Sistine Madonna", purchased in 1753 from a church in Piacenza/Italy. In 2012 the Sistine Madonna is celebrating her 500th anniversary. I am sure there will be a special exhibit on this occasion. The most popular figures of the painting are the two cute angels, to find as motifs in countless more or less tasteful souvenirs.

    The picture gallery is also home of the largest collection of Cranach pictures (both Younger and Elder plus workshop). They announced that all of the pictures will be on display from 2011 on.

    Rembrandt, Rubens and Vermeer are other highlights of the collection. So are Dürer, Holbein, van Eyck ... my favourites right now are the smaller pictures created by Dutch artists for the households of more or less rich citizens in the Netherlands in the 17th century.

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    Zwinger

    by german_eagle Updated Dec 19, 2010

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    Zwinger courtyard, Wall pavillion in the centre
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    The Zwinger is a sort of Baroque palace, built for celebrations and now housing some of the finest museums. Its four wings form a beautiful and quiet yard. Three of the wings were built by the famous architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann 1709 - 28. The incredible sculptures are masterpieces of Balthasar Permoser. The fourth wing (Picture Gallery building) was added by Gottfried Semper (1847- 54). The Zwinger has always been used as place for festivities and art collections.

    Crown Gate and Wall Pavillion are the highlights, a stunning, harmonic combination of architecture and sculpture.

    Don't miss the "Nymphenbad" (Bath of the nymphs), a quiet and romantic little yard with fantastic sculptures and an artificial small cascade. Just recently it was restored and reopened in September 2008, more beautiful than ever before.

    Also, don't miss a walk along the roof, access is at the Wall pavillion and the chimes pavillion. Very beautiful is also the adjacent quiet garden with a pond, a fountain, several small monuments/sculptures and some nice benches to rest.

    The Zwinger houses great museums. The famous picture gallery "Alte Meister" (Old Masters) shows works of Raffael, Tizian, Giorgione, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Cranach, Rosalba Carriera, Poussin and many others. A definite must see. The armour collection is also worth a visit. The porcelain collection shows splendid works of Meissen, but also Japanese and Chinese porcelain. The Mathematical-Physical salon, a collection of scientific instruments and watches/clocks, is undergoing reconstruction and re-organisation and closed until probably 2012.

    I have rarely seen the Zwinger without scaffolding here or there. As long as the reconstruction works at the Mathematical-Physical Salon are going on the most beautiful view (IMO), the Wall pavillion with adjoining galleries, is affected.

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    A Must-See Architecture - THE ZWINGER

    by chewbacca1975 Updated Jul 23, 2010
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    It's the pride of Dresden. It was built between 1711-32. It was planned as a a part of a large palace. The square court with its U-shaped extensions is considered one of the most successful baroque designs ever conceived. The galleries and pavilions are linked to form a court that functions as an outdoor theater. Heavily damaged during the bombings of World War II, the complex has been restored. Its galleries and pavilions now contain a number of museums.

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    Zwinger

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jul 4, 2010

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    The Zwinger was started as a garden just outside the inner city walls. It was King Moritz who in 1549 gave the order for the construction. Later Kings expanded the garden.

    In 1701 King Friedrich August I came with a plan for a new garden castle. From 1709 till 1719 the first part of this plan was realised. The second stage was completed in 1728.

    The buildings got damaged in the 7 year war of 1756 till 1763. Repair works were started and a new building at the Elbe side was constructed. Unluck the buildings got more and more cracks and rain water penetrated increasingly.

    In the 20th century plans were made to transform the buildings into a museum where paintings, porcelain and sculptures could be displayed.

    Most buildings were destroyed in WWII and the restoration took till 1985. The 2002 Elbe river flooding affected the garden and basements.

    Nowadays the Zwinger houses a number of art collections managed by the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

    You can visit the following collections:
    -Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. Historical paintings
    Admission fee: Euro 10.00
    Hours: Tu-Su: 10AM - 6PM.
    -Porzellansammlung. Porcelain collection.
    Admission fee: Euro 6.00
    Hours: Tu-Su: 10AM - 6PM.
    -Rüstkammer - Türckische Cammer. Armour collection.
    Admission fee: Euro 3.00 (adult)
    Hours: Tu-Su: 10AM - 6PM.
    -Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon
    Closed due to reconstruction

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    The Zwinger

    by Henk.Irene Updated May 30, 2010

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    Inner court of the Zwinger
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    The Zwinger, one of the bigest masterworks from the Europe baroque. Two of the greatest building masters of their time - Poppelmann and Permoser - are responsible for thise uniek building. The name "Zwinger" means the area between the insite and the outside defencewall. The beginning of the building was about 1709 and was around 1728 realized.

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    Zwinger

    by hunterV Updated Dec 5, 2009

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    Zwinger entrance gate

    I will always remember visiting the Zwinger - a complex of pavilions including Semper Gallery - the world-famous picture gallery containing lots of pictures of Old Masters.
    Our group of students was taken there for a weekend trip during our stay in Magdeburg.

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    Zwinger: Don't Miss The Nymphenbad

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 10, 2008

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    Zwinger: Nymphenbad
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    The prettiest spot in the Zwinger complex is hidden and easily overlooked: The Nymphenbad (Nymph's Bath) in the Northwestern corner. It is not visible from the main courtyard.This romantic grotto with its fountains is a cool refreshing place on hot summer days.

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    Glockenspiel-Pavillon: Music & Meißener Porzellan

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    The glockenspiel plays every 15 minutes.

    It is nearly impossible to miss the ringing of the glockenspiel as it plays every 15 minutes. The tune was composed in 1994 by a man named Prof. Günter Schwarze. Additionally, it plays music pieces every day at 10.15am, 2.15pm, 6.15pm and 10.15pm – but only in summer.

    The outstanding fact about the glockenspiel is that its 40 bells are made of china from the world famous chinaware manufactory in nearby Meißen (Meißener Porzellan).

    The pavillion is from 1723 and was damaged and restored several times, the last time after the Second World War. This work took until 1964. The miraculous thing is that the clock with the glockenspiel – added in 1933 – survived World War II undamaged. After the restauration of the pavillion the number of chinaware bells was increased from 24 to 40.

    Inside the pavillion you find an extraordinary chinaware collection of 20,000 pieces (admission 6 Euro; note: you can walk around in the Zwinger for free).

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    The happy Drinkers

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    Satyrs and nymphs enjoy Pan's presence.

    Here you see some of the 21 happy figures of Pan (Greek god of the herdsm the forests and nature) that hold the outer walls of the Zwinger galleries.

    This pavillon is on the opposite side of the Glockenspiel-Pavillon in the inner courtyard.

    Pan is also known for his salaciousness. That is why satyrs and nymphs enjoy his presence.

    Pan has horns and ram hooves – and is not funny at all when somebody disturbs his after lunch snooze.

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    Give the Satyrs a helping Hand

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    Just do not share their excessive lifestyle... ;-)

    Have some fun... ;-)

    Those satyrs carry the pillars of the so called Wallpavillon, also: French Pavillion.

    Satyrs are companions of Dionysos and Pan. They drink a lot and have an uncontrollable sex drive) – as you can clearly see here ;-)

    They have pointed ears, a goat or horse tail, and are mostly shown with a giant phallus. In mythology they are demons who scare the humans, symbolising the dire consequences of excessive lifestyle.

    On top of the Wallpavillon you find Augustus the Strong as a Hercules carrying a globe.
    Nearby is the Nymphenbad – bath of the Nymphs.

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    Kronentor (Crown Gate) – Symbol of the City

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    The roof is made of gold-coated copper.

    This gate of the Zwinger – a kind of small arch - has become a symbol of the city, and surely is the complex’s most famous part. You walk through it on your walk on the outer wall of the Zwinger.

    Architecturally it is a mixture of Italian Baroque and antique elements.

    Over the pillars of the gate you see the royal sceptre, the crossed swords, and over the arch Saxon’s coat of arms. Greek heroes and gods like Herakles and Athena are also depicted in the sculptures.

    The onion-shaped roof is made of gold coated copper.

    On the tip of this roof-tower you see four Polish eagles (I do not know how you can see the difference between Polish and German eagles…) carrying a replica of the Polish King’s crown. Why Polish? Because August II was elected as King of Poland in 1697. However, some say the crown could also be the crown of the German Emperor which Augustus the Strong had hoped for.

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    Be Overwhelmed by the Beauty of this Masterpiece

    by Kakapo2 Updated Aug 28, 2008

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    The courtyard measures 116 x 204 metres.

    Although you expect something extraordinary – as the Zwinger is Dresden’s most famous attraction – you are overwhelmed by the beauty of this masterpiece of royal Baroque architecture.

    The original – later bombed by the English like everything, then restored – was built from 1709 to 1732 during the reign of August dem Starken (Friedrich August I = Augustus the Strong).

    The word Zwinger suggests anything that encloses something or someone, where animals (bears, dogs  kennel, bear-pit) or humans ( ward) are held – normally against their will. It can also be the prison of a knight’s castle. In this Zwinger’s case it refers to the location of the structure within the city’s fortification, between the inner and outer battlement.

    However: Dresden’s Zwinger was not built as part of a fortification, and the front part with the Kronentor (Crown Gate) stands directly ON the outer wall. It was planned as the forecourt of a new castle which should – together with a line of other buildings - cover the space down to the Elbe river. But it was never completed entirely.

    At the start it was a kind of amphitheatre where events were held for Saxony’s nobility. By the time more and more features were added, the pavillions, the beautiful gardens, the sculptures, the galleries. The architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and the Bavarian sculptor Balthasar Permoser created this spectacular ensemble.

    The courtyard with its manicured lawns and bubbling fountains measures 116 x 204 metres. The design is perfectly symmetrical.

    The side of the Zwinger which faces the river – the Gemäldegalerie (Art Gallery) - was only built a hundred years later. Gottfried Semper – you have heard the name in connection with the Semperoper – started the work in 1847. After he had fled Dresden, following the unsuccessful so called May Resurgence of republicans in 1849, Karl Moritz Haenel finished the job until 1854. This Art Gallery – official name: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister – holds an outstanding collection of paintings of Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Raffael, Tizian, etc.

    Open Tue – Sun 10am – 6pm, closed on Monday

    Admission 7 Euro
    (Note: You can get a daypass for most Dresden museums for 12 Euro and a yearpass for 20 Euro but this does not include the museum Historisches Grünes Gewölbe and special exhibitions); guided tours on Friday and Sunday at 4pm cost 2 Euro extra.

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