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The Dresden Zwinger: the fabulous palace of the famous Saxon Elector

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The Dresden Zwinger: the fabulous palace of the famous Saxon Elector

The Zwinger Palace complex is an outstanding architectural construction of Dresden, which will not leave indifferent any tourist! The famous Art Gallery is located in the pavilions of the fortress, luxurious porcelain is collected, an interesting collection of genuine scientific instruments of the Enlightenment is presented. Zwinger, being a monument of German Baroque, including architectural elements of the Neo-Renaissance, is able to temporarily move you to the outlandish world where the fabulous palace is a reality!

History of the architectural masterpiece of Germany

The history of the formation of Zwinger began with the construction of a greenhouse on the territory of the fortress in 1709: filled with exotic fruit trees and flowers, it became an excellent place for relaxation of the elector of Saxony Augustus II and his courtiers. Later, at the request of the monarch, in 1719, the palace complex was built for the ceremony of the marriage of his son with the daughter of Emperor Joseph I - Maria.

The name “Zwinger” comes from the German word “conquer”, since the area on which it was built was previously part of the Dresden fortress. The construction of the fortress is such that the enemy, who decided to besiege the citadel, fell into a trap in the narrow space between the outer walls of the fortress and its internal fortifications.

Ten years later, during the Enlightenment, Zwinger turned from an entertainment complex into a stronghold of works of art and a museum of achievements of modern science, where exhibits became objects from palace collections.

During its existence, the palace complex was destroyed several times:

  • During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), the building was damaged by guns
  • In 1949, the eastern part of the palace complex was incinerated
  • In 1931, a large part of the art collection of abstract artists and modernists was burned by the National Socialists.
  • During the Second World War (1945), as a result of a raid on Dresden, the museum complex was almost completely destroyed, and the fire destroyed more than 200 paintings.

The reconstruction of Zwinger lasted for many years, but the museums and galleries of the complex were completely restored only by the 60s.

Museum complex of Dresden today

Today, the architectural and palace complex of Dresden continues to delight its visitors with holidays, open-air concerts and valuable collections of artworks exhibited in unusual pavilions.

In Zwinger, you should pay attention to:

  • The main symbol of the fortress is Kronentor. The gates are made in the Baroque style, and most of them are sculptures of ancient gods
  • Travel Pavilion
  • Europe's largest museum of porcelain
  • Dresden Art Gallery
  • The Physics and Mathematics Museum, which stores the oldest collections of the 16th century
  • The bell pavilion, famous for its unique porcelain clock: every 15 minutes they publish enchanting melodies that vary depending on the time of year
  • Nymphenbad Grotto, made in the late Baroque style and showing visitors the marvelous inhabitants of the deep sea.

Opening hours and cost of visiting

In winter, you can get to Zwinger seven days a week from 06:00 to 20:00, and in summer from 06:00 to 22:00. Entrance to the palace complex is free for visitors.

The fortress museums are open from 10:00 to 18:00 from Tuesday to Sunday. The cost of a single ticket will be:

  • Children under 5 years old - free
  • Adults = 12 €
  • Group tour (10 people) = 90 €.

Neo-Renaissance and Baroque in Zwinger architecture

Despite the fact that some parts of Zwinger were built in different eras, the craftsmen managed to achieve the integrity and harmony of the buildings of the palace complex. The first buildings of the fortress were built in the style of German Baroque, while the later ones - for example, the art gallery - have the characteristic features of neo-Renaissance.

The entire baroque interior of the palace complex is full of stone carvings, sculptures and stucco molding. At the entrance to Zwinger there is an equestrian sculpture of the Elector of Saxony August II, and the roof of one of the pavilions is decorated with a statue of an Atlant holding a globe on his shoulders. The pediments of the buildings are covered with bas-reliefs with double-headed imperial eagles.

The Art Gallery is located in the northern part of Zwinger, while the southern side is lined with direct galleries attached to the Crown Gate. The buildings on the west side of the palace complex mirror the east.

The amazing architecture of the royal palace will create an unforgettable experience for every traveler!

Interesting fact

In 2016, Germany put into circulation a series of coins with a face value of 2 € with a picture of Zwinger.

Object type: architectural and palace complex.

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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