German Language Blog

Der Dresdner Zwinger – The Zwinger Palace in Dresden Posted by on Oct 12, 2012 in Culture, Holidays

Since all historic buildings in Dresden are embedded in the modern architecture of the city, you have direct access to every baroque building in the Altstadt (lit. Historic City), from any of the bus or tram stops that are near by. This is also true for the Dresdner Zwinger (Zwinger Palace), which you can reach from the main street.

The Zwinger, built from 1709 to 1732, is one of the most notable examples of architecture of the Baroque period. The architect Matthäus Pöppelmann and the sculptor Balthasar Permoser designed the Palace to the order of the Kurfürst von Sachsen (Elector of Saxony) Augustus II the Strong. In particular, the Zwinger was built in Rococo style – “late Baroque”, so to speak. Originally, the Zwinger was conceptualized as a forecourt for another castle, which was supposed to occupy the space between the Zwinger and the Elbe. Unfortunately, this plan had not been pursed after the death of Augustus II. The unobstructed space behind the Zwinger was later completed with the Semperoper.

You can enter the inner courtyard (open daily from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.) of the rectangular building complex from the main street through the so-called Kronentor (lit. Crown Gate), which is recognizable by its Zwiebelkuppel (onion dome) and the golden Polish Königskrone(Royal Crown).

One special feature of the inner courtyard is that the respective opposite sides are identical, that is they mirror one another. This pertains the building as well as the garden of the courtyard with its fountains. Although the green area is surely sensational in some way, it is rather the surrounding architecture of the building itself that made this place so special to me.

When you exit the courtyard of the Zwinger – towards the Semperoper at the back – you pass the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Gallery) on the left-hand side and die Rüstkammer (Armory) on the right-hand side. The gallery exhibits a collection of about 750 European paintings from the 15th to the 18th century, among others by Rubens and Rembrandt. The collection also includes masterpieces from Italian Renaissance artists, such as Raphael’s Sixtinische Madonna (Sistine Madonna). Further, the Zwinger contains the Mathematisch-Physikalische Salon (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments), which developed because of the monarch’s interest for mechanical instruments, and die Porzellansammlung (Porcelaine Collection). Augustus the Strong was addicted to porcelains and even named it white gold.

Unfortunately, I did not make it to visit any of the exhibitions in the Zwinger, and I regret that. So, if you are planning to go on a trip to Dresden I give you the advice to arrange enough time.

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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. Joseph:

    kinda interesting but what’s with the watermark… it ain’t art, the watermark sucks and makes the pic less enjoyable and by uploading it on facebook you guys passed away the rights anyway…

  2. leon gork:

    Ich danke dich sehr fur eure schone beschreibung des Zwinger in Dresden. Ich begrüße es sehr deine bemuhungen zu helfen lernen Studenten des Deutsch Sprach