The most famous gate and probably the most photographed structure in Dresden is the Kronentor or Crown Gate. Atop the famed green dome, August the Strong's Polish crown is supported by the four Lions of Poland. The statuary is the work of Balthasar Permoser (1651-1732), over 60 years old at the time of construction. Besides the coat of arms, Greek gods and a host of nymphs and satyrs embellish this gate and much of the remainder of the Zwinger. August likened himself to the gods and was a man of strong sexual appetites - the statues reflect the man who commissioned them. Four internal niches (image 3) contain female representations of the seasons.
The Glockenspiel Pavilion - the former City Gate, opening to the palaces of Dresden, was renamed in the 1930's after the first of several additions of fine Meissen porcelain bells. The bells were removed to safety during WWII and re-installed with additions some years later. Today, musical performances several times an hour draw from an extensive programmed library. Do not miss the large number of statues of women in varying degrees of undress -- August kept a fair stable of concubines hidden away in the Zwinger and was renowned for having a larger-than-real-life sexual appetite. And of course the requisite Greek Gods. Above the clock note the crossed swords of Saxony.
Rampart Pavilion - the oldest pavilion features Hercules at the top supporting the world. Unsurprisingly, the model was none other than August himself. Impressive stairways lead to the upper level offering the best views of the entire Zwinger complex. The usual statuary of Greek gods and undressed women profuselly adorn the Rampart.
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.
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.
There is so much to potentially write about the Zwinger that it's hard to know where to begin and even harder to decide when to stop. For this reason I'm not going to regurgitate hundreds of guide book facts and will just describe what impressed me most about it. For starters, this Orangery, designed with a nod to Versailles is absolutely huge. An in-depth exploration could probably take several hours and if you include the Old Master's Gallery and other museums, you would need at least a day.
We entered the complex via a small slope behind the Opera House and this brought us to the Balustrades which we strolled along and used as a vantage point for examining the principle features. I would reccomend this, as looking down from above seemed infinitely preferable to trawling through the courtyard below and straining your neck by continually looking up. In truth, the courtyard doesn't look its best in winter because the fountains are all turned off and though the formal grass patterns are striking the walkways in betwen were more than a little muddy.
This is a major monument to Baroque and I've seldom seen a building where design and sculpture blend so harmoniously together. The two pavillions facing each other at opposite ends, the Ramparts Pavillion and the Glockenspiel Pavillion are absolutely stunning, with so much sculptural and decorative detail that it's impossible to take it all in. Really striking as well is the awesome Kronentor ( Crown Gate ) which looks decidedly oriental and stands out a mile with its black and gold dome. Most of all I loved the statues which line the balustrades and these I have described seperately in the General Tips section.
Here is a small plan of where to go in Zwinger: the entrance is from Julian-Grimau Alley through Kronentor ("Crown Gate").
You will see Sempergalerie right in front of you.
It occupies the left part of the Semper Building. The Historic Museum is in its right part.
To your left is the Wallpavillion and to your right is Meissner China Pavillion.
Another beautiful Pavilion!
The Wall Pavilion is located the opposite end to the Carillon Pavilion. To me, they looked similar, both are impressive! I really loved all the sculptures of mythical people that adorned the exterior, just wished I had taken more close-ups!
Starting at the top, I could see a figure, this was [Hercules] the strong man and the divine hero, he is holding a ball [globe].
Another group of sculpture on the Wall Pavilion are known as "The Judgment of Paris." This is said to symbolize Augustus the Strongs youthful days. He is seen with the Polish Crown, and flanked by three goddesses Venus, who gives love, beauty, sex, fertility, then came Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Wisdom, and Juno, another Roman Goddess who is a the Goddess of marriage and the Queen of the Gods. They offer him gifts of love, power and wisdom.
Another group, is the figures of the four winds. These are Notos, the south wind, with Iris the messenger of the gods, Euros is the east wind, with Eos the mother of the winds, then Zephyr, the west wind, with Chloris, the bringer of flowers and Boreas, is the north wind.
This gives you some idea of what your looking at. I would suggest taking photos, then later you have time to read about these mythological figures and what they meant to Augustas the Strong - This is what I did!
The Carillon, Chimes & Glockenspiel Pavilion are all the same building. When I walked through this gate and into the courtyard, I turned around to take a photo, this was when I noticed the Carillon. The Carillon was on display at a 1930 exhibition. Later, it was moved to here.
Today, the Carillon plays well know melodies by famous Composers every quarter, half, three-quarter and on the full hour it plays the original composition for the Dresden Bell game.
Melodies of the Meissen porcelain Carillon
"Spring" from the "four seasons"
"We squirm you the bridal wreath"
"A little night music"
"The summer" from the "four seasons"
melody from "The magic flute"
"No beautiful land"
"The fall" from the "four seasons"
"Sailor chorus" from "The Flying Dutchman"
"Winter" from the "four seasons"
From 6 January until Wednesday before Maundy Thursday the chimes not plays.
The Sempergalerie is where the Old Masters Picture Gallery is located. The Galerie is named after the architect, Gottfried Semper, who designed this Italian High Renaissance style building in 1854.
The Sempergalerie is only the ground floor. It is connected to the German and the French pavilions which have a terrace upstairs linking the buildings.
The gallery has many famous Art pieces, including Raphaels "Sistine Madonna." There are many well-known paintings by van Eyck, Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt and many more. It is a wonderful collection, which could take you half a day to look through properly if an Art fan - you may need the comfy seating that is provided!
More than half a million visitors annually visit the art gallery, so be aware, you will not be alone
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Mondays
ADMISSION IN 2013
Valid for: Old Masters Picture Gallery, Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Porcelain Collection
Adult 10,00 Euro
reduced: 7.50 Euro
children until 17 years: free
Stayrs can be found everywhere in the Zwinger Palace!
These mythical creatures are a part of either Greek or Roman mythology. Along the walls of the Wall pavilion, I found heaps of these creatures holding up the pillars. As they were ground level, I had a good time photo-graphing them!
The satyrs are half male and half goat. As I walked along the wall, I found many different satyrs, some with big pointed ears and flat noses, others had goaty beards and lots of curly hair, all had goats hooves and most had hair on the legs. Mature satyrs will have goat's horns, while juveniles often have bony nubs on their foreheads.
I noticed one Satyr with a flute, a sound of nature in the form of flowing water, singing birds and the whistling of the wind.
The satyrs' chief was Silenus,associated with fertility. Now I know why they are lovers of wine and women and physical pleasure.
Another very interesting museum!
Once again, it was "August the Strong" who founded this Museum in 1728, making it the oldest Museum in the Zwinger complex, and one of the world’s most important museums of historical scientific instruments.
So, what did we see in this type of Museum?
Things I saw were mechanical music instruments and a Astronomical clock from the 16th century. There is an excellent collection of Globes, featuring the Earth, the Heavens, and even the Moon and Mars, it's known as one of the best in the World. It is amongst the globes where I find the oldest object in the Museum - the Arabic celestial globe from 1279.
There are old Telescopes, burning mirrors and Astronomical pieces. Other devices in the Museum were pieces used for calculating and drawing, for determining length, mass, temperature and air pressure. How clever were these people?
No wonder this Museum is very important!
Guess what, instead of being boring like I thought it may be, it was quite interesting.
NO PHOTOS ALLOWED
ADMISSION IN 2013
Combined Ticket: Adults 10 eu Concession 7.50 eu -16 year-olds free
This pass gives you entry to the Zwinger with Old Masters Picture Gallery, Porcelain Collection, Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments.
Tickets on there own are 6 euros.
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.
The courtyard in the Zwinger shows that something plain still can be beautiful!
Originally, the courtyard was a garden and orangery, a place where tournaments and court festivities took place.
Today, it's where the visitors walk along the red gravel, past the bright green sculptured lawns and the four fountains, at the same time admiring the architecture of this Palace.
A MUST DO, is to climb the steps up to the balcony, because it was from here, I thought the view was the best.
From here, I could see the whole design of the garden, plain, but attractive!
the urns that sit atop the balcony are interesting too!