Germany 1400AD-Present-Modern Era Europe Castles, Palaces, Fortresses

Discover cultural opulence: Zwinger Palace in Dresden, a lavish foray through Galleries and Museums

Zwinger, Dresden, Germany
Zwinger Palace is a Baroque-style building in Dresden, Germany. The Palace has a precious collection of art objects, math and physics objects, and rare porcelain.

Tourist Information

Opening HoursTuesday – Sunday – 10:00 -18:00
Monday – Closed
Getting thereBy train: If you arrive in Dresden by train, take a tram or local bus to the city center.
By plane: If you arrive at Dresden International Airport (Dresden-Klotzsche Airport), you can use public transport or a taxi to get to the city center.
Public transport: Look for the station “Postplatz” or “Theaterplatz” in Dresden, as these stations are near the Zwinger Palace.
Walking: If you are already in the center of Dresden, you can reach the Zwinger Palace by walking.
LocationDresden, Germany, Europe


Why is the Zwinger Palace famous?


In Dresden, near the Semper Opera is the Zwinger Palace, built in the Baroque style at the beginning of the 18th century, by order of Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony. The construction was inaugurated in 1719 although it was not finished. After 17 years of work, in 1728, the Palace is completely finished. In 1945, the Palace was bombed, much of it being destroyed. The reconstruction was done keeping the old style according to drawings and photographs.

Architecture and Design

The Zwinger Palace was mainly designed by the architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann in a specific baroque style. The building stands out for its impressive facades and elaborate decorative elements such as balconies, columns, and statues.

The Zwinger Palace has an inner courtyard, many sculptures by Permoser, a bell pavilion, and famous art collections.

The Zwinger Gardens

The palace is surrounded by beautiful and symmetrical gardens, which were created to be an elegant setting for the central building. The gardens are arranged in terraces and include paths, fountains, and green spaces, all contributing to the beauty of the ensemble.

Entrance is free to the palace gardens but some collections, such as the porcelain exhibition, have an entrance fee.

Zwinger Palace, Dresda


Zwinger Palace is part of the complex of historical monuments of the city of Dresden, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004.

Museum Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The Zwinger Palace is home to several important museums that are part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections). Some of the most famous museums include the Old Painting Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), which contains works by famous artists such as Raphael, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and others, and the Staatliche Porzellan-Sammlungen Dresden, which houses an impressive collection of porcelain.

Bath of the Nymphs

Next to the Rampart Pavilion, there is a small inner courtyard with a baroque fountain with numerous statues of nymphs and tritons (Greek sea deities with human busts and fishtails). The fountain is called Nymphenbad, which means Bath of the Nymphs.

Crown Gate (Kronentor)

Crown Gate is the beautiful baroque gate of the palace. Above the gate is a huge crown, decorated with gilded motifs. The statues embedded in the niches of the gate represent the 4 seasons.

The pavilions of the Zwinger Palace

The Zwinger Palace in Dresden consists of an ensemble of buildings and pavilions, all connected to each other, each with unique architecture and purposes.

Rampart Pavilion (Bastion Pavilion, Rüstkammer)

The Rampart Pavilion, rich in sculptures, houses an impressive collection of armor, weapons, and historical artifacts, bounds the central courtyard to the northeast, and contains a statue of Hercules by the sculptor Balthasar Permoser.

The Rampart Pavilion houses an extensive collection of armor, weapons, cannons, and military equipment dating back to various historical periods. The pavilion also contains a number of historical artifacts and decorative items such as treasure chests and badges of rank.

The Clown’s Pavilion (Der Karussellpavillon)

This pavilion has a distinct design inspired by the architectural circus and represents an unusual element in Baroque architecture. It has a distinctive domed roof and the facade is decorated with statues and ornamental elements.

The Glockenspiel Pavilion (Der Glockenspielpavillon)

This pavilion houses a carillon, a musical instrument consisting of a series of bells that are operated to create melodies. This pavilion is notable for its richly decorated grillwork and dome.

Initially, it was called “Stadtpavilion” but it was renamed after, between 1924 and 1936, the carillon (bell ensemble) was added.

The Corinthian Pavilion (Der Korinthenpavillon)

This pavilion has distinctive Corinthian columns that characterize it.

Columbina Pavilion (Der Columbina-Pavillon)

This pavilion has a graceful design and a richly decorated facade. It is named after the character from the commedia dell’arte, “Columbina”.

The Spring Pavilion (Der Frühlingspavillon)

This pavilion is located at the back of the Zwinger Gardens and is so named because of its decorative spring theme. It has a semicircular roof and ornamental elements specific to the Baroque style.

In the other wings of the Zwinger palace, we also find several museums, including the Porzellansammlung, a collection of porcelain, located in the gallery to the left of the Crown Gate. The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, located next to the Rampart Pavilion, is a museum displaying a collection of scientific instruments, including sextants, clocks, and globes.

Zwinger Palace, Dresda

What secrets does the Zwinger Palace hide?

The name Zwinger

The name “Zwinger” means “interval”, or “intermediate space” and comes from the location of the palace between the old fortifications of the city.

Sistine Madonna by Raphael

In 1841, the construction of a new wing, known as the Semperbau, began at the Zwinger Palace. The wing is also called the Painting Gallery because it houses the Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister (Gallery of the Old Masters), a museum containing world-renowned works by famous artists such as Van Dyck, Vermeer, Rubens, Titian and Raphael (the Sistine Madonna). The wing houses another museum, the Rüstkammer (Arsenal), also known as the History Museum, with a large collection of weaponry from the 15th to 18th centuries.

The Legend of the Zwinger Palace and the Golden Swan

A popular legend concerns the founding of the Zwinger Palace. It is said that King Augustus the Mighty dreamed of a golden swan in his sleep that flew over a marsh. A local alchemist interpreted his dream, saying that the golden swan symbolized great wealth hidden somewhere in the city. This inspired the king to build the Zwinger Palace on that spot. Although this story is largely a legend, the fact that Augustus the Mighty played an important role in the construction of the Zwinger Palace is true.

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About the author


I am Catalina, and my passion for travel, mysteries, legends and archaeology drives me to explore the world and uncover its hidden wonders.