Recently there are very popular tours from Prague to Dresden for a day. But to take in the sights for a day it is very difficult, it contained in itself a vast number of sights (it is said, there are about 13 thousand) thus it is worth spending at least 3-4 days here. And if you are the connoisseur of painting - also the whole week, nevertheless just the Dresden art gallery will take from you a full day, and after all it is just one from several museums in the Zwinger is the main sight of Dresden. The overwhelming task faced us - to see all the most interesting in Dresden in one day with the two-month baby on hands. Who must regularly sleep, eat and be changed nappies, and thus we were deprived of our car which very lightens life in any travel with a child. But we, as always, got over - there's no such thing as a different way! 🙂
The public transport of Dresden
We had to use the public transport of Dresden to get to the center. We already almost reached from our hotel to the bus-stop when we saw that our bus in a moment will leave. And what do you do, when you see the bus of the route trying to leave from under your nose? It is right - you try to catch up with it. 🙂 We bought tickets from the driver and satisfied that we made it, we took the road. By the way, if you travel by family and you want to retrench on public transport, buy the family ticket. It costs only 8 euro, and it is for two adults and 4 children aged from 6 till 14 years. But we bought tickets for each trip; we paid a minimum for 2 euro per head for one trip. The road there and back for two adults completely covers the cost of the family ticket.
From the district Briesnitz to the center there are only 10-15 minutes of a driving. Through five minutes we had first doubts - whether this way is right?! And 10 minutes later it was born in that we go not to the center of Dresden as meant, and otherwise! It was necessary to go out of the cool bus and to wait for another. That happens when you hurry up! 🙂
The Zwinger in Dresden
To visit Dresden, and not to see the Zwinger (not to be confused with swingers, it is just different:-)) it would be a crime therefore the visiting of this architectural complex became the obligatory point of our walk around the city. The Zwinger is in Altstadt, it is the old city of Dresden.
The name “Zwinger” arose not incidentally: in the Middle Ages the part of the fortification between the outer and inner defensive walls was exactly called, and the first building of the Zwinger was built just between such walls. The first wooden structure was constructed in 1709, externally it had a strong resemblance to an amphitheater. Three block walls were built by 1732. Matthews Daniel Poppelmann was the architect of three of four buildings. Gottfried Semper became the author of the fourth wall of the Zwinger constructed nearly one hundred years later in 1847-1855. As often as not they say that the Zwinger is a palace or a castle, but in fact it is not so. In spite of the fact that the buildings remind the palace by its gorgeous ornamentation, the all complex initially was started wondering and built as the museum. Here balls and concerts were held, but the royal family never lived in the Zwinger Palace.
The buildings form the square rectangular yard 106 by 105 meters, with flowerbeds and fountains on the center. We will go to look the Zwinger Palace counterclockwise, starting with the youngest building of the ensemble - from the Art gallery.
The Dresden art gallery (the Old masters Picture Gallery)
The Dresden art gallery or “the Old masters Picture Gallery” (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), I suppose, is one of the greatest museums of Dresden. This is the long building to the right on the under photo, it was designed by Gottfried Semper especially for the Wettin's collection of pictures. The gallery works from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 18 o'clock. The ticket price is 10 euro and you will be allowed to look not only “the Old masters Gallery”, but also the Porcelain Collection with the Mathematical-Physical Salon. By the way, the official site of the Zwinger is claimed to, children under 17 years of age are able to get to the museum free of charge. The audio guide will cost you 3 euro but if you don't want to see the masterpieces of world painting alone, it is possible to join an excursion group and here the cost will depend on a number of participants and a language of excursion.
At the gallery the set of pictures of the old masters is collected by the Saxon governors Wettins. The Old masters it is accepted to call the outstanding artists of Western Europe who painted the pictures till the XVIII century. They include, for example, Rembrandt van Rijn, Raphael, Botticelli, Durer and others. Besides Dresden the Old masters Galleries are also in Kassel and Budapest.
In 1937, numerous works of the German expressionists were done away with Nazis as the “art of decadence and deterioration”. About 300 works hit by. The building of the Semper gallery seriously also suffered from bombings. In 1945 the Soviet troops took out the considerable part of the collection as trophies from Dresden and over a distance 10 years these pictures were stored in the Pushkin museum. In 1955, 1240 pieces were returned during Nikita Khrushchev's visit to GDR. In 1956, the part of the gallery again opened for visitors, and in 1960 the building was restored completely.
The best known works of the Dresden art gallery are Raphael's “The Sistine Madonna”, Giorgione's “the Sleeping Venus”, Durer's “The portrait of a young man”, Jean-Etienne Liotard's “The Chocolate Girl” and many others. Connoisseurs of painting will spend here a good hour, receiving the colossal pleasure. If you face to “the Old masters Picture Gallery” and the exit to Theatre Square, so to leftward of it you will see the building of the French pavilion.
It received such name because the pieces of the French artists were stored in it before 1945. Afterwards there was the Zoology museum, and later - the museum of sculptures.
If you go through the French pavilion, you will appear in the Nymph's bath (Nymphenbad).
The Nymph's bath presents the fountain and the pool; it is the work of Balthasar Permoser.
Across the bath there are the statues of beautiful nymphs, in sevens on both sides.
The Mathematical-Physical Salon
The Mathematical-Physical Salon (Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon) is located near the French pavilion and the Nymphenbad. And the tower therebetween is called the Rampart Pavilion (Wallpavillon). The Mathematical-Physical Salon is the museum too, in which collection there are various historical clocks and scientific instruments. The rare astronomical, geodesic and optical instruments of the XVI-XVIII centuries are stored here. Till the 20th century the accurate reading of time was made for Dresden and Saxony in the building of the Mathematical-Physical Salon. In 2013 the museum opened again for tourists after restoration. It lasted six years and it cost the German museum workers 17 million euro. The museum works from Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00, the ticket price is 6 euro.
The Rampart Pavilion is the highest part of the Zwinger. On its roof the sculpture “Saxon Hercules” is established, it keeps in hands a sphere. The Rampart Pavilion was constructed in 1715-1717.
The Carillon Pavilion
The Glockenspiel or Carillon Pavilion (Glockenspielpavillon) is located the opposite from it. On its roof there is one more figure with a sphere in hands - “Hercules with the globe”.
On the tower of the pavilion there is the clock which each 15 minutes regales tourists with the melodious ring of the Meissen porcelain Carillon. The clock appeared there rather recently, in 1933, and it is surprising, they didn't suffer during World War II. Just after installation of the clock this building was so named the Carillon Pavilion, and till 1930 it was called as the State pavilion (Stadtpavillon).
Before the central entrance to the museum complex Zwinger was on the first storey of the “Carillon Pavilion”, but during our travel the pass through these gate was closed on restoration in June, 2013. It was impossible to rise to the roof of galleries by the lateral stairs.
The Pavilions are connected among themselves by round arch galleries. Initially they were designed as greenhouses that tropical plants were comfortable summer and winter alike. Now here there are partially permanent exhibitions and a winter garden.
The Dresden Porcelain collection
The German pavilion and the Royal porcelain collection (Porzellansammlung) remained off-screen. Very seldom some historians (by analogy with German and French pavilions) call the Porcelain Salon “Chinese pavilion”. The porcelain collection in Dresden is the richest not only in Europe, but also in the world! In the museum armory there is not only porcelain from the well-known German Meissen, but also beautiful exhibits from Japan and China. The floor hours of the Porcelain pavilion, as well as the Old masters Picture Gallery are from Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00. By the way, if you want to visit only the Porcelain museum, the ticket will cost 6 euro here.
Having a walk the Zwinger's museums it is possible to rise to the roof of long gallery and to walk on it. By the way, the majority of our photos as it isn't difficult to guess, is made exactly from there.
From the roof of the gallery the best of all it is visible the Crown gate or as called, the “Gate under a crown” (Kronentor). In June, 2013 they were on restoration therefore we couldn't their duly appreciate. And meanwhile, it is the central entrance in the Zwinger. Interestingly, that the gate is domed in the form of the Polish crown. The fact is that Augustus the Strong (under whose order the Zwinger was constructed) was not only the Elector of Saxony, but doubled as also the Polish king. 🙂
And this photo is made already outside the Zwinger. If you look closely at it, it is visible that the tourer party stands not just on the stone - blocks, and on a certain hatch. If you do not know, then you will not guess that it is the elevator for pictures. It is impossible to take out some world masterpieces from the museum through a door therefore the elevator from the Zwinger's store - rooms conducts at once on the street.
Here, in “the old city” of Dresden, opposite to the Zwinger there is a building of the Saxon state opera or “The Semperoper”. It is one of the most beautiful musical theaters of Europe and the world. The history of this theater totals nearly half a century. The first building of the theater was constructed in 1648 on this place. A while later 8 theaters were built nearby and the square, on which the Dresden opera is situated, began to be called the Theatre Square. In 1841 the German architect Gottfried Semper (the very same, who built one of the Zwinger's walls) vaulted the new building of the Opera House, but unfortunately in 1869 it burned up. Three years after, in 1871, Semper together with his son began construction of the new building which we also can observe today. After bombing of Dresden in February, 1945 the building of the Opera House was bad injured. The restoration began only in 1985 and lasted eight years.
The excursions are held in the Semper Opera House (Semperoper Dresden), and not only in German and in English, but also in Russian. It is possible to have a look at the prices of such excursions and to buy tickets online on one of the Opera sites. Besides, “Welcome Days” are held sometimes there when all visitors can stand on the stage, look in the backstage and in the wardrobe. Well, of course, if you love the opera and the ballet, in the evening you can get on a performance. Tickets can be bought online on the Opera site in advance, and you do not to overpay to speculators and tour operators.
The interested reader noticed that one of the photos of our today's photo report is signed not only with watermarks. 🙂 The fact is that the footwalks between flowerbeds and the Zwinger's buildings are covered not with asphalt, but sand- expanded clay mix on which it is ideal to make drawings. Some tourists also make it. 🙂 Well and we decided not to differ and wrote the title of our site. We hope that in Dresden not really high penalties for unauthorized outdoor advertizing. 🙂 For those who passed this cadre, we will show this inscription from the other angle. By the way, the subscribers of our page in Instagram could see these photos in real time, directly in the course of our travel.
The Zwinger this is out of questions is the place as may be necessary to be visited in Dresden. It is incredibly beautiful complex of buildings which won't leave anybody indifferent. Everyone for himself will find here the interesting museum and if you plan a visit few of them, we recommend to buy the “entire” ticket for 10 euro - so you will significantly economy.
And if you are not interesting in the museums, just have a walk on the roof of the long gallery and take pleasure in the fine example of the architecture of the late Baroque and the Italian Renaissance.
After the walk on the Zwinger we went on a loop tour around the city by two-decker bus, and then had a little stroll on the center of Dresden, but about all of this is in the following post.