The Zwinger Palace in Dresden


Dresden is a beautiful German city located on the Elbe River and is the capital of Saxony. The city has an important historical and cultural background and is often visited by foreign tourists because of its famous Bruehl’s Terrace and because of its historical old town. One of the main attractions in Altstadt (old town) is The Zwinger Palace in Dresden.

The Palace history




The Zwinger Palace in Dresden is built in Baroque style, a Renaissance style characterized by explorations of form, light and shadow. The palace originally served for the Dresden Court as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena. The name of the palace derives from the German word Zwinger, which designates the outer ward of a concentric castle. This used to be the part of the former fortress of Dresden. The palace was not enclosed until the building of Gottfried Semper, also known as Semper wing. In 1472 during the Hussite War, the city began to build the second wall in order to strengthen its defences. The area between the two walls was called the Zwinger and the area near the palace was used by the royal court for garden purposes (Zwingergarten). The Zwingergarten area was no longer used after the 18th century, when the Zwinger palace was constructed. The new palace also took the Zwinger name. The palace was inaugurated in 1719, by the marriage of prince Fredrick August to Maria Josepha, the daughter of the Hamburg’s emperor. The interior was completed in 1728. However, the palace construction was interrupted in 1733, due to August’s death. The constructions plans were changed to a smaller scale and this is when the gallery wing (opera house) was designed and built by the German architect Gottfried Semper. This was one of the most important German projects of the 19th century.

The Zwinger Palace today



The Palace is today a museum complex. This contains the Old Masters Picture Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), the Porcelain Collection of Dresden (Porzellansammlung), the Armory (Rüstkammer) and he Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments (Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon). The courtyard is a true oasis for Dresden visitors. When visitors stroll through the courtyard today, they all view the architectural ensemble of buildings as a harmonious whole. This harmony is due to Semper, who managed to skilfully adapt the form of the windows on the courtyard side to the Baroque arches of the Zwinger architecture.

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