Zwinger Palace, Dresden, Germany
The Zwinger Palace is a famous landmark in Dresden and represents one of the finest examples of German baroque architecture in existence. The building was designed by Poppelmann and construction began in 1710. It took more than two decades for the complex to be completed in stages. Renowned sculptor Balthasar Permoser collaborated on the design and contributed numerous pieces found on the grounds.
The entire complex consists of a number of large galleries that connect six pavilions. Visitors are greeted by the Crown Gate. The intricate baroque design features a huge crown and the four statues depicted in the niches represent the seasons. The inner courtyard was the where tournaments, fireworks and other court activities were regularly held.
A majestic statue of Hercules adorns the Rampart Pavilion, one of the most elaborate pavilions on the premises. The Nymphenbad is an enclosed courtyard located near this pavilion. Tritons and nymphs cavort on the baroque fountain found there.
Located at the opposite end of the courtyard is the nearly symmetrical Glockenspielpavilion with its spectacular carillon. The Meissen porcelain bells are activated for musical performances several times an hour.
A new wing was added in 1847 and today it houses the Picture Gallery where visitors will find the Old Masters Gallery with magnificent pieces by such well known artists as Titian, Raphael, Rubens and others. Weapons used by the Saxons are on display as part of a weaponry collection kept in the Historical Museum. The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon is dedicated to various types of scientific equipment including clocks and world globes. A gallery just inside the Crown Gates is called the Porzellansammlung and contains a collection of fine porcelain pieces.
Anyone visiting Dresden should take the time to tour the grounds of the majestic Zwinger Palace. Tourists are advised to set aside plenty of time to explore the meticulously groomed gardens, fabulous fountains and exquisite sculptures.