Zwinger (Dresden)

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The Kronentor with the long galleries on both sides

The Zwinger is a building complex with gardens in Dresden . The total work of art of architecture, sculpture and painting, built under the direction of the architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and the sculptor Balthasar Permoser , is one of the most important buildings of the Baroque era and, along with the Frauenkirche, is the best-known architectural monument in Dresden. Its name " Zwinger" goes back to the name that was customary in the Middle Ages for a part of the fortress between the outer and inner fortress walls, although the Zwinger no longer fulfilled a function corresponding to its name when construction began.

The Zwinger was built from 1709 as an orangery and garden as well as a representative festival area. Its richly decorated pavilions and the galleries lined with balustrades, figures and vases bear witness to the magnificence during the reign of Elector Friedrich August I (also known as "August the Strong") and the claim to power he expressed through it. In the original conception of the elector, the Zwinger was intended as the forecourt of a new castle, which should take the place up to the Elbe ; therefore the kennel on the Elbe side initially remained undeveloped (provisionally closed with a wall). The plans for a new palace were given up after the death of Augustus the Strong, and with the departure from the Baroque era, the Zwinger lost its importance. Only over a century later did the architect Gottfried Semper complete it with the Sempergalerie facing the Elbe.

The Sempergalerie, which opened in 1855, was one of the most important German museum projects of the 19th century and made it possible to expand the use of the Zwinger as a museum complex, which has grown under the influence of the times since the 18th century. The air raids on Dresden on February 13 and 14, 1945 hit the Zwinger hard and resulted in extensive destruction. Since its reconstruction in the 1950s and 1960s, the Zwinger has housed the Old Masters Picture Gallery , the Mathematical-Physical Salon and the Porcelain Collection . The original purpose as an orangery, garden and representative festival area has taken a back seat; the latter, however, continues to be cultivated with the performance of music and theater events.

Zwingerhof, view of the wall pavilion


The Dresden Zwinger and its surroundings

The Zwinger is not far from the Elbe and occupies an area on the north-western edge of the inner old town , which is part of the historic city center of Dresden. It is located in the immediate vicinity of other well-known sights, including the Residenzschloss and the Semperoper . The Theaterplatz in the northeast, Sophienstrasse in the southeast, Postplatz in the south, Ostra-Allee in the southwest and the street Am Zwingerteich in the northwest surround the area of ​​the kennel. Neighboring buildings are the Dresden Merchants' House in the west, the Schauspielhaus in the southwest, the Haus am Zwinger in the south, the Taschenbergpalais in the southeast, the west wing of the palace with the Green Vault in the east, the Altstädtische Hauptwache in the northeast, the Semperoper in the north and the former royal stables in the northwest.



The term kennel

The name Zwinger goes back to the name customary in the Middle Ages for a part of the fortress between the outer and inner fortress walls. The construction of the first city wall can be proven archaeologically for the last quarter of the 12th century. A document mentioning it as civitas in 1216 indicates that Dresden fortifications were closed at that time. On the occasion of the Hussite Wars , the city fortifications were reinforced from 1427 and a second, outer wall was added almost completely. These conversions began near the Wilsdruffer Tor . In places the old trench had to be filled and relocated. The resulting spaces between the walls are generally called "Zwinger" and were used by the Dresden court for their own gardening purposes near the castle . The location of this area known as the Zwingergarten can only be defined imprecisely for this period between the fortifications on the west side of the city. Its extent changed in part as a result of the later fortifications and is shown differently on different maps; However, there is a spatial proximity to the present-day kennel area.

The Zwingergarten also fulfilled a function corresponding to its name as a narrow fortress area between the outer and inner fortification wall. This did not apply to the Zwinger when construction began in the early 18th century, but the name was nevertheless passed on to it. It is true that the south-western building areas of the baroque Dresden Zwinger with the Crown Gate stand on the parts of the outer fortress wall that are still visible today; at that time, however, there was no longer an inner fortress wall.

Early urban development in the later kennel area

Plan of the city of Dresden from 1750 with the fortifications at the Zwinger created after Lynar (left half of the picture above, north is on the right)

Until well into the 16th century, the area of ​​today's kennel complex was still outside the city ​​fortifications . From 1569, the builder Rochus Quirin Graf von Lynar , who came from the region around Florence , had the fortifications to the west of the old castle built for the Elector August . The builder carried out part of the work by 1572. It turned out that it would be advantageous to relocate the Weißeritz arm, which flows into the Elbe in a tangent to the area . Thereupon Lynar renewed his plans until 1573 and suggested river bed works and the construction of an additional bastion . The Luna bastion was built to the west of the castle . The later baroque-style kennel was located on the site. Lynar transferred the management of the necessary field work to the kit master Paul Buchner and the kit manager Andreas Hesse. The wooden model he made in 1574 later found its way into the collections of the Green Vault .

Layout of the kennel garden

The first steps in a kennel garden undertook elector Moritz when he such a system modeled after the Prague Castle Gardens caused by its Hofgärtner Nicolaus Fuchs 1549th Together with Anna , the wife of his brother and successor August , the elector is considered to be the founder of Saxon horticulture. His knowledge of horticulture is documented, among other things, in his decree "... to improve the soil in the Zwingergarten and Baumgarten to move the mud and the good earth from the lake at the Jacobshospital into the gardens of the vesten building (meaning the Dresden fortifications)."

Moritz's successors, the Electors Christian I and Christian II , promoted the development of the gardens on the ramparts and had new paths and flowerbeds with stone enclosures laid out in the Zwingergarten. The great interest of the court in horticulture under the reign of Elector Johann Georg II promoted the cultivation of various types of fruit. A chronicler of this time noted: “... also in the so-called Zwinger Garden, located behind the electoral residence palace within the fortification, to find many sorts of Feygen trees, some of which hold a man's size on the trunk, which give wonderful and superfluous fruits ".

The establishment of the kennel under Augustus the Strong

Friedrich August I. ( August the Strong , 1670–1733), the builder of the baroque Zwinger (painting: Louis de Silvestre )
The wooden predecessor of today's Zwinger, 1709

The reign of Elector Friedrich August I (August the Strong) is associated with intensive structural development in the city of Dresden. At the beginning of its rainy season in 1694, the buildings in Dresden were characterized by wooden architecture. The Cavalier's tour of Europe from 1687 to 1689, which he had previously undertaken, left many impressions and encouraged him to shape his city with a new architectural image in such a way that it corresponded to the great models in France and Italy. He relied in a special way on the artistic and planning influence of French and Italian experts. His main achievements include changing the cityscape through representative stone buildings and generously planned gardens. The castle fire of 1701 reinforced his efforts to expand the residence and the city, which then had 30,000 inhabitants . Friedrich August I paid a lot of attention to the kennel project through the experiences he gained on his travels.

As early as 1701, concrete initial considerations led to a plan called the “first project”, which envisaged a new palace with gardens and courtyards. The old orangery or kennel garden seemed out of date and no longer in keeping with needs. Impressions that he collected as a child at the courtly "comedy games" in which he appeared as a gardener's servant could have had a certain influence on the prince's inclinations. The oldest surviving plan comes from the court architect Marcus Conrad Dietze and bears the title "Floor and elevator plan of the castle in Dresden, is by Sr. Kgl. Your Majesty and Elector Serene Highness of Saxony himself inventoried and ordered and made in the year 1703 by the architects Dietzen. It shows an architecturally designed pleasure garden on an old bastion (“to the sharp corner”) of the former fortification. The art historian Gurlitt describes the intentions of the elector in the area of ​​this old bastion as "a court of honor" with the possibility of using it for festivities.

The building history of the baroque Zwinger began in 1709 when, on behalf of Augustus the Strong, a semicircular fairground flanked by wooden buildings was built to the west of the palace, in the area of ​​today's Theaterplatz. This impressive, but weather-unstable wooden structure remained in place until 1714 and anticipated the function of the later Zwinger.

Work on the arched galleries, the Nymphenbad and the wing of the later Mathematical-Physical Salon began in 1711. The state master builder Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and the sculptor Balthasar Permoser were commissioned with this demanding project . Other experienced sculptors worked under Permoser, such as Johann Benjamin Thomae , Paul Heermann , Johann Christian Kirchner , Johann Matthäus Oberschall and Johann Joachim Kretzschmar from Zittau.

Pöppelmann visited various European cities in preparation for and during the execution of the Zwingerbau in order to acquire project-related incentives and comparative impressions with his own architectural studies. In 1710 he traveled to Rome and Naples via Prague , Vienna and Florence at the expense of his client . The elector decreed on January 4, 1710, "... that the master builder Pöppelmann should go to Vienna and Rome afterwards to see the local style of building both on palaces and gardens ...". In Prague he studied the bold baroque buildings by Christoph Dientzenhofer ( St. Nicholas on the Lesser Town and the monastery church in Breunau).

In 1715 Pöppelmann went to France for the purpose of current architecture studies. In addition to the Palace and Park of Versailles, he went to numerous other destinations, including the Park of Saint-Cloud Castle with the water features by André Le Nôtre . He had also created the park of Versailles and, as the chief horticultural architect of Louis XIV, was a professional authority in contemporary horticulture. Pöppelmann's impressions in the pleasure park of Marly-le-Roi had a not insignificant influence on the expansion plans of the Dresden Zwinger , because the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart had built an extensive complex of water features there. Pöppelmann's return journey took place via the Netherlands (Rotterdam, Delft, Leiden, Haarlem and Amsterdam). In Apeldoorn , he visited the Palace Het Loo , has the long wing and pavilion-like building on the corner. The kennel shows similar structures.

The Zwinger on the occasion of the marriage of Friedrich August II. In 1719
Zwinger, 1722

The planning of the wall pavilion is said to have been completed in 1715; construction began a year later. In 1717 the elector wanted work to be accelerated because his son's wedding was approaching. Great efforts have been made to complete this arguably most demanding area of ​​kennel construction. In 1719 the construction work on the Zwinger reached a preliminary conclusion. The planned this year festivities on the occasion of the wedding of the Elector son Friedrich August II. With Maria Josepha of Austria required a fixed area. The new structure was prepared for this and the unfinished areas were concealed with temporary cladding and decorations. On September 15, 1719, the electoral court celebrated the festival of the four elements in the Zwinger. The further expansion lasted until 1728.

The first pavilions and galleries on the wall side were used as an orangery . Then the wings on the south side were erected, and in 1722 the buildings on the east side. The north side remained undeveloped because the elector was planning to expand it with a second courtyard and connect it to a new palace. In order to close this unfinished side, an arcade-like backdrop wall was built as an interim solution in the summer of 1722. The plans for the new palace building were never enough for the king, Pöppelmann's designs became more and more endless, in the end it was to be a series of no fewer than seven spacious palace courtyards, of which the Zwinger itself would only have been the forecourt of one of the side axes; executed accordingly, the most magnificent residence in Central Europe should have been built here. The lack of money, which kept the king postponing the start of construction, had its cause not only in the entanglements in the Great Northern War and in the constitutional structure with the rights of participation of the estates , but also in the emphasis that August the Strong attached to the costly courtly festivities, which for him were not primarily a diversion, but allegorical performances for the nobility and the people, which underlined his claim to power, which were integrated and disciplined (see also: flowering of art, culture and courtly amusements ) . The kennel still tells of the glamor of these days.

In order to design the area enclosed by the buildings and to maintain the court, Elector Friedrich August I had green areas with exotic plants and orange trees laid out on the 204 by 116 meter area. Sculptors, including Balthasar Permoser, created sculptures to beautify the buildings. In 1728 the Elbe sandstone complex with its glockenspiel pavilion and arched gallery was temporarily completed.

Pöppelmann's description of the purpose of the building also allows an insight into the contemporary efforts of the court:

“Presentation and description of the by Sr. Königl. Majesty in Pohlen and Churfürstl. The so-called Zwinger garden building or the Königl, built in the direction of Saxony. Orangery in Dresden ... just as the ancient Romans used to erect such large state, splendid and pleasure buildings among their other astonishing building establishments that they covered a wide radius, etc., likewise this building of the royal Zwingergarten is so artfully laid out that it everything that is included in those Roman inventions that was splendid or useful, because apart from the various large dining, game and dance halls, smaller rooms, baths, grottos, arches, strolls or walks, rows of trees and columns, grass and flower beds, waterfalls, pleasure places and the adjoining splendid opera and comedy house, the whole building together forms such a handsome elongated round place that in the same not only the almost innumerable trees, which are kept in the galleries in winter, are comfortably exposed in the most beautiful order in summer , but also all kinds of public jousting, G celebrations and other merrymaking of the court are employed. "

Because the baroque Zwinger did not offer enough space for the horticultural maintenance work and this economic area did not get along well with the representative purpose, the elector had a large orangery built in the electoral orange garden in 1728, which was later followed by a second building. The horticultural maintenance and breeding work could be done there. The buildings also served as a wintering place for the large number of sensitive plants.

Since only a few invoices from the construction period have survived, the construction costs of the Zwinger can only be estimated. Hermann Heckmann considers an amount of 900,000  thalers by 1726 to be realistic.

Loss of meaning and decay

Fire of the wooden playhouse in the Zwinger in 1748

Up until the death of Elector Friedrich August I in 1733, construction in the Zwinger progressed with varying degrees of intensity. After that, his son started thinking about the continuation of the structural extensions that were once planned. Specifically, a generous project was considered in 1737, which is attributed to the master builder Zacharias Longuelune . It envisaged the expansion of the Zwinger grounds in the direction of the later building site for the Catholic Court Church , begun in 1738, with the construction of spacious riding stables.

However, the conditions in Europe had changed. In the architecture the trend of classicism prevailed, in Saxony other tasks came to the fore ( Moritzburg palace area , Hubertusburg , Japanese palace ). Economic conditions deteriorated, which had direct effects on the state treasury. The maintenance of this complex with its water features required considerable expenditure, which was no longer considered necessary. Johann Joachim Winckelmann , an admirer of antiquity , described the splendid Baroque epoch as a time of “aberration” by referring to the developments before him.

The fact that the opera entrepreneur Pietro Mingotti received permission to build a wooden playhouse in the Zwingerhof was indicative of the rapid loss of importance of the Zwinger in the consciousness of the Dresden Residence. It opened with the opera Argenide by John Barclay on July 7, 1746 and burned down in 1748 after a performance. Its foundations only disappeared in the course of the renovation work in 1929/1930.

Plan by Cuvilliés for the extension of the kennel garden, approx. 1759
Zwingergraben with moat bridge and crown gate (Canaletto around 1752)

The Seven Years War from 1756 to 1763 hampered civil development. During the war, the area was seriously damaged by cannon fire because it was integrated into the fortifications. The occupation troops also used it as a workshop and the building as a warehouse . After the siege and destruction of parts of the city in 1759, the desire for the completion of the Zwinger rose again. These considerations were in the field of tension of foregoing the fortifications in the future. The citizens favored the preservation and expansion of the city walls, while the electoral court tended to resign in favor of new horticultural designs. In the course of this discussion, the upper court builder François de Cuvilliés , who was called from Bavaria, received the order for a new design (see adjacent picture). On this basis, the previous palace complex would have been demolished and given way to a generously expanded building, and an elongated and versatile axis with park and water features extending into the east enclosure would have been created.

The expansions to the new palace complex designed by Pöppelmann, Longuelune and Cuvilliés all remained unfinished and the sculptural jewelry unfinished. It was not until 1847 to 1854 that the Elbe side of the Zwinger was closed by the picture gallery begun by Gottfried Semper and completed by Karl Moritz Haenel after his escape in 1849 .

Maintenance work and remodeling in the 19th century

Renovation and renovation work at the beginning of the 19th century aimed to use the Zwinger as the central location for the electoral collections. For this, wall surfaces were required as storage space and therefore some windows and doors were bricked up. Marcolini's intervention against decay created the museum idea in the Zwinger, but caused major damage to the building fabric, which only came to light much later. The repairs made to the sandstone with a kind of hard stucco ("Massa") as well as the coating of the sandstone with oil paint later had a disastrous effect.

During this renovation work, the redesign of the balustrades with a new shape of their balusters became a tense dispute. The contemporary architecture views in Classicism (simple practicality, more economical ornamental / plastic jewelry) resulted in the restoration work to remove all figures and vases on the balustrades of which many pieces in the transformation of the Palais Chiaveri , later Prince Max Palace , at the Ostra-Allee found new locations. With structural changes to the Wallpavilion, this area lost the basins of the former water features.

Due to its location in the ramparts of Dresden and its use as a magazine, the Zwinger suffered further damage during the coalition wars . In addition, the Napoleonic era also led to the demolition of the fortifications in Dresden, which a demolition commission was entrusted with. In 1812, the trench in front of the Kronentor was filled and the bridge removed. Court architect Gottlob Friedrich Thormeyer , however, received the Zwingerteich as a water area and had the gardens redesigned and maintained. This changed the urban situation around the kennel considerably. Thormeyer, appointed as art advisor to this commission, also made sure that the historical building documents of the Zwinger that had been relocated to Königstein Fortress were returned to Dresden. Around 1840 only a few minor alterations were made to improve the storage of items in the collection. During the tenure of King Anton (1827–1836) and his equally art-loving minister Bernhard von Lindenau , the Zwinger collections were open to the citizens free of charge on a few days.

Construction of the Semper Gallery

In the meantime the architect Gottfried Semper had been called to Dresden at the suggestion of Karl Friedrich Schinkel and commissioned with renewed planning for the completion of the Zwingergarten . He took up Pöppelmann's original axis concept and presented a draft called a forum plan . Opposite wings facing the Elbe and an opera building were to be added to the French and German pavilions. Today's Theaterplatz would have become the main part of a landscaped garden area. With the exception of the opera building, the first building of the Semperoper that burned down in 1869 , this generous plan was rejected and Semper was commissioned to design a massive transverse structure, which he contradicted. On January 9, 1847, the official order was placed not only to close the vacant lot in the Zwinger, but also to cover the roof shapes of the Pöppelmann Zwinger, which were perceived as outdated. The model was the Alte Pinakothek in Munich in the style of the High Renaissance . Semper planned a large dome, the eight sides of which were to be opened in arcades and which corresponded with the crown gate of the Zwinger. After Semper fled, his student Bernhard Krüger rejected the plans. After seven drafts, the foundation stone was laid on July 23, 1847. Krüger traveled with Karl Moritz Haenel to Berlin and Munich in 1851 to explore details of the interior design. The construction work lasted until 1854; on September 25, 1855, the museum building was inaugurated as the Neues Museum .

Consequences of the Dresden May uprising in 1849 for the building

The city pavilion also burned down in 1849 when the rebels burned the opera house down for strategic reasons.

Semper had to leave Dresden because of his active participation in the Dresden May uprising on the side of the Communards in 1849 and leave the completion of his design to the architect Karl Moritz Haenel. There were several letters between the two of them. Today this building is called the Semper Gallery .

During the revolution, some buildings in the city of Dresden were viewed as strategically disadvantageous. This included the opera house built on the outside of the Zwinger . With the approval of the Provisional Government, the barricade commander at the Sophienkirche was commissioned on May 6, 1849 to burn down the building. Originally, the insurgents had hoped that the fire would spread to the neighboring Prinzen-Palais . However, when the wind direction changed, the fire spread to the town pavilion and other parts of the kennel. This caused major structural damage, and the eastern kennel area with the city pavilion was completely destroyed. Dresden suffered another very painful loss: the collections of the Saxon Society for Botany and Horticulture - Flora - burned in the flames . It was a herbaria collection with 6000 plant objects and a scientific library with over 800 volumes. At that time it was one of the few and therefore most important botanical specialist libraries in Europe. The re-establishment of the impaired kennel area under the direction of Karl Moritz Haenel took place until 1863.

Conservation efforts

In 1845 the Nymphenbad was in ruins.

After the completion of the Sempergalerie, the kennels found themselves in an aesthetic disharmony. The new and fresh-looking wing was faced with aged long galleries and a nymph bath overgrown with trees and herbs. The latter was described by Haenel as a ruin in 1855, which he wanted to preserve in this state according to late romantic aspects. In order to match the color to the new Sempergalerie, the entire old building fabric was painted with an oil varnish. Other questionable treatments, such as supplements with the newly invented Portland cement , contributed to the rapid deterioration of the kennel.

That of Cornelius Gurlitt and Robert Dohme written work , the architecture and the decorative arts of the XVII. and XVIII. Century, including other related publications between 1884 and 1889 promoted a new view and accepting attitudes to the existing buildings of the Dresden Baroque . In 1898, the Commission for the Preservation of Art Monuments dealt with the previous restoration measures on the Zwinger and stipulated, among other things, that from now on no more paintwork should be carried out and only crossings made from the best Elbe sandstone should be used. Due to insufficient funding, restoration began only in 1911 using gentle procedures.

Adolph Menzel, atlases in the wall pavilion in Dresdener Zwingers, 1880. Graphite on paper, 32.3 × 24.4 cm. Wolfgang Ratjens Collection, Patrons' Permanent Fund, National Gallery of Art, Washington. 2007.111.126

The new assessment of the Baroque can be seen as the background for an intense controversy between the professor at the Dresden Art Academy Georg Wrba and the architects involved, in the center of which was the dock shape of the balustrades of the Zwinger. Wrba favored a heavy shape with a cubic center piece and those involved in the construction, like the Leipzig art history professor August Schmarsow, spoke out in favor of the older bottle shape. This struggle to find the shape of this component, which had to be replaced in large numbers, was an expression of the now enormously increased awareness of the monument, which, like the current modern ideas, is based on the preservation of the original shape without subsequent design interventions.

Before the beginning of the First World War , the problems with the restoration work increased rapidly despite this reorientation. Its termination in 1915 aggravated the situation on the building and accelerated its decay. Several figures fell from their pedestals and lay in gutters. Larger components endangered the traffic area by detaching them from the structure. The consequences of incorrect rehabilitation methods and the use of substances that are dangerous for the stone turned out to be threatening effects.

Restoration by the Zwingerbauhütte

In 1921, work began again, but came to a standstill after a short time due to the currency decline in the inflationary period . It was not until the Zwingerbauhütte was founded in 1924 that the decline was halted. Hubert Georg Ermisch was appointed head of this restoration workshop, which initially operated comprehensively until 1936, from October 15, 1924 . The work program drawn up under the supervision of Georg Wrba had two main objectives: the technical rescue of the Zwinger and the artistic reawakening of its architecture.

The entire outer facade of the Zwinger was freed from the layers of oil paint using a lye-like substance and all cement and stucco additions as well as heavily weathered sandstone areas were replaced by crossings. Furthermore, the drainage system in the entire kennel complex was subjected to a thorough revision and change. Based on the knowledge at the time, a comprehensive waterproofing of the terrace was carried out against moisture. With regard to questions of art-historical design, the copperplate engravings initiated by Pöppelmann served as a basis, which with its illustrations offered documentation for many components and thus supported the claim to a restoration true to the original. Later modifications and additions were removed in the course of the work. About 100 specialists were busy with the tasks.

These gardens in front of the Kronentor had to give way to the re-construction of the Zwingergraben.

The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon reopened on March 20, 1929. Parts of the trench at the Zwinger, which had been filled in since the 19th century, were also restored. Work on the exterior facade ended in 1936, and restoration work on the interior followed. In 1939 the porcelain collection opened to the public. New solutions were sought for the natural history collection areas, because the Zwingerbau turned out to be unsuitable for their presentation. Even before the First World War, thought was given to building a new museum for this purpose in Dresden, but the Second World War , which had already started , put an end to these efforts.

Heavy damage in World War II and reconstruction

The destroyed northern part of the kennel after 1945
Destroyed kennel (1948)

A few years later the tangible results of the experts who had been fighting to save the kennel since 1924 were a victim of destruction. During the Second World War , the Zwinger suffered severe damage from the bombing raids on February 13 and 14, 1945 . Hans Nadler described it as follows: “The following have been preserved: the nymph bath, the surrounding walls of the 4 corner pavilions, the long galleries, the city pavilion and the crown gate. The wall pavilion was destroyed except for the wall shafts, which were out of alignment, and the adjoining Elbe-sided arched gallery was also badly damaged by direct explosive bombs. ”The picture gallery suffered considerable damage only on the northern side. All the buildings and their roofs were burned out. The sometimes laborious copper driving work on the roof coverings lay torn from the bomb splinters on the terraces and in the Zwingerhof. Flames broke out of some windows and irreversibly damaged the sandstone above the effects of fire through heat bursts and structural changes in the mineral structure. Some facade elements fell down as a result of material stresses and broke. Many parts of the building were no longer in equilibrium.

A Russian soldier noted on the kennel in 1945: The museum was inspected, no mines, inspected by Chanutin

The picture of a lettering made by a Russian soldier with the inscription: The museum has been inspected, no mines, inspected by Chanutin became particularly well known. Today it can be found on the right-hand side of the portico of the Sempergalerie from the direction of the Theaterplatz and has been supplemented with a writing plate due to its now reduced legibility.

On August 14, 1945, a first consultation on the coordination of the reconstruction took place with the participation of Dresden officials. The Soviet military administration immediately approved the release of timber on August 18, demonstratively supporting the Dresdeners' intention to rebuild. In two cultural orders of the Soviet military administration, the protection and the reconstruction of cultural buildings were ordered. On this basis, the newly formed Saxon State Administration approved the first budget funds for the reconstruction of the Zwinger in September 1945. In September 1945, the reconstruction of the Zwingerbauhütte under the direction of the Dresden architect Hubert Georg Ermisch , which was re-established in the autumn of that year under the official name “Bauabteilung Zwinger”, was able to begin. The first contributors included the sculptor Albert Braun (1899–1962), the architects Max Zimmermann (1881–1962) and Arthur Frenzel (1899–1975) and, for the sheet copper work, Master Jagy.

The first public presentation took place in May 1951, when part of the inner courtyard became accessible to visitors. In the same year the Zwingergraben was extended and a common water area was created with the Zwingerteich. In July 1951 the crown gate was completed, in June 1952 the mathematical-physical salon , in 1954 three gables of the wall pavilion and in 1955 the glockenspiel pavilion were completed. The picture gallery opened on June 3, 1956 as part of the 750th anniversary of Dresden, but was not completely handed over until October 30, 1960. The cost of their reconstruction amounted to 7.9 million German marks . In 1960 the French pavilion was completed in a simplified version. The preserved valuable stucco and marble elements were salvaged for later reconstruction. It was not until 1963 that the Wall Pavilion was opened to the public. Up to this year the interiors had been furnished with a provisional design for use as a museum. Since around 1963, the exterior of the Zwinger has largely been in the same structural condition as it was before the war. The view of the Sophienkirche , which was badly damaged in the war and completely demolished in 1962, is missing. Hans Nadler , then state curator and later honorary citizen of Dresden , estimates a total financial cost of 11.8 million marks for the restoration of the kennel after the Second World War up to 1965 , including 2.7 million from the kennel lottery. The reconstructions and designs of the interiors continue to the present day.

The kennel in the 21st century

During the Elbe floods in August 2002 , the level of the Elbe, which runs in the immediate vicinity of the Zwinger, rose to 9.40 meters. But not only it overflowed its banks, but also the Weißeritz in the west of the city. This tributary of the Elbe temporarily paved its river bed in the direction of its original course with the force of the flood. The old town of Dresden was flooded from two directions, with the Zwinger in the middle of the flood center. Despite the great efforts of the fire brigade and technical aid organization, flooding of the courtyard of the kennel could not be prevented. The Weißeritz flowed in its old river bed through the Friedrichstadt , the Wilsdruffer Vorstadt and the Zwinger and poured into the Elbe on the forecourt of the state parliament . In the hope of saving the works of art, they were taken to the cellar. But even there, the water masses threatened the cultural heritage. The Zwingerhof was only pumped dry several days after the flood had ended. The flood left considerable structural and horticultural damage.

From May 2008 to November 2012 the Mathematisch-Physikalische Salon was completely renovated. Archaeologists uncovered the old pipes of the water features in the grotto hall and found a large number of stucco fragments. As a result, it was not possible to add a basement to the mathematical-physical salon as planned to expand the exhibition area. Instead, in 2010 the construction of an underground extension in the direction of the ramparts began with a new windowless exhibition room for light-sensitive devices as well as a workshop and a depot for technology. Since April 14, 2013, the collection of mathematical and physical instruments in the expanded Mathematical-Physical Salon has been open to visitors again.

Orange trees in the kennel

From October 2012 to 2016 the Kronentor will be overhauled for 650,000 euros.

The Sempergalerie has been renewed since 2013. In the first construction phase until mid-2015, the east wing is to be refurbished for 22.3 million euros and then the west wing for 24.4 million euros by 2017. The basic structure of the building is to be retained, but visitor guidance, escape routes and accessibility are also to be improved and the building services technology replaced. Signs of wear and tear, damage to the skylights and structural problems made the complete renovation necessary. Through the leaky roof, water got into the masonry, which is infected with mold and needs to be renovated.

In May 2017, 76 orange trees (bitter oranges) were set up in blue and white pots based on historical models, which should always be here in the summer months. The largest are 3 meters tall. They were bought in Italy in 2013. Tree sponsors are responsible for the maintenance. This is the first time since 1880 that orange trees can be seen in the kennel.

According to its history, the Zwinger was or is the property of the Kingdom and later of the Free State of Saxony. Today it is part of the State Enterprise State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony .

Building description

Site plan of the Dresden Zwinger

The inner courtyard of the Zwinger has an almost square base area, to which mirror-symmetrical, arched extensions are added to the northwest and southeast. The wall pavilion completes this extension in the northwest, and the carillon pavilion in the southeast. On the other hand, the long gallery with the Kronentor is directly connected to the southwestern side of the square, as is the Semper gallery on the opposite side. At the four corners of the square, facing the arched extensions, there are four two-story corner pavilions, namely the porcelain pavilion, the German pavilion, the French pavilion and the mathematical-physical salon. They are connected to the carillon and the wall pavilion through one-story arched galleries.


Crown Gate

The Crown Gate
Johann Benjamin Thomae created the gable coronation of the crown gate.

The Kronentor is a portal pavilion. Alongside the Wall Pavilion, it is the best-known part and is often the symbol of the Zwinger in pictures. With the long galleries adjoining on both sides, it stands with its front on the old fortress wall; However, the gate and galleries form a small angle to it. The Kronentor originally allowed access from outside the city through the fortress wall. That is why there was no stone bridge over the Zwingergraben to the Kronentor, corresponding to the importance of the building, but only a narrow wooden walkway that would have been quickly dismantled in the event of an attack. It was rebuilt in this form when the Zwingergraben was cleared and expanded in the 20th century.

The architecture of the Kronentor is based on the Italian high baroque, but is also reminiscent of ancient triumphal arches . It stands in the middle of the two long galleries; a small risalit lets it emerge somewhat from their flight. The octagonal floor plan is delimited by four high plinths set over a corner. The archway rises on it with double column positions on both sides. On the side there is another column position as well as a shell-shaped niche in the transition from the crown gate to the long gallery. Heavily cranked beams and blasted gables close off the top floor of the entrance floor. The royal scepter is emblazoned above the simple column positions and the crossed swords above the double column positions. The two keystones of the arches are decorated with a Hercules head with a lion skin on the outside and a woman's head on the courtyard side.

The hall on the upper floor is open on all four sides, through which the connecting passage of the long galleries runs. The four corner pillars are continued from below and the simple column positions on the side are repeated. Instead of the double column positions, bundled pilasters loosen the pillars, which makes the upper floor look a bit set back. At the top, cranked beams, broken gables and figured keystones close off the upper floor and lead to an attic . On it are some vases and twelve figures that represent themes around the seasons and Hercules. They line the onion-shaped dome made of partially gilded copper sheet, a symbol of Saxon splendor during the time it was built. Four Polish eagles carry a replica of the Polish royal crown on top. Originally, Hercules was supposed to crown the Crown Gate with the globe , just as the Crown Gate was planned as the Hercules Gate . With the conception of the wall pavilion, the planning was changed and this figure was provided as the end of the wall pavilion. However, the orders for the figurative decoration of the crown gate had already been awarded or carried out and thematically coordinated with the originally planned crowning. This explains the choice of figures, especially in the area of ​​the attic.

The ceiling fresco " The Spring Sacrifice of Flora " adorned the interior of the dome until it was destroyed in 1945. Through an open round eye in the false ceiling, it was also possible to see it from the lower passage.

Almost all of the sculptors involved in the Zwinger contributed to the sculptural work on the Kronentor through major works. The sculptures at the Kronentor have now been replaced by copies. In the niches in the transition to the long gallery on the side facing the water are the ancient gods Vulkan (left) and Bacchus (right). On the side facing the Zwingerhof there are sculptures by Ceres (left) and Pomona (right). Vulkan and Ceres are works by Permoser and Kretzschmann created Bacchus. Statues of a shawm and tambourine player flank the courtyard portal, they are attributed to Heermann and Kretzschmar.

Mathematical and physical salon

The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, built between 1710 and 1714, is one of the four corner pavilions and is located between the Wall pavilion and the long gallery. It houses a collection of mathematical and physical instruments from bygone times; its name, which was initially still the Mathematical Salon , goes back to this use since 1746 .

A grotto hall was originally located in the basement of the mathematical-physical salon

The salon on the upper floor, paneled with Saxon marble , was originally used as a dining, play or dance hall , but was used as a museum as early as 1729. The grotto hall in the basement with its water puzzle and fountain, however, retained its original function for longer. Fine jets of water surrounded and hit the people entering it. The two marble statues Apollo and Minerva stood in two of the five niches on the back of the grotto hall . They are among Permoser's first works for the Zwinger and are now in the sculpture collection in the Albertinum . As a result of the war events of 1813, the ceiling of the grotto hall collapsed. The grotto hall was not repaired afterwards, but provided with vaults in 1815 and used as a museum. In contrast to the other corner pavilions that were completed later, the frieze of the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon is adorned with the year of its completion in 1712 and the double-headed imperial eagle ; August the Strong was 1711 imperial vicar , and had vainly himself the imperial crown of the kingdom sought. In the year of the imperial vicariate of Augustus the Strong, the imperial eagles were created as "symbols of his imperial powers".

Common to all corner pavilions is a front terrace, from which an outside staircase with two curves leads into the inner courtyard. Another common feature of all corner pavilions is the uninterrupted continuation of the gallery on the ground floor, here from the long gallery to the adjoining arched gallery.

Johann Christian Kirchner created the heads of the keystones as well as decorative frames for windows and architraves. Thomae created the royal insignia in the gable of the narrow sides of the mathematical salon. The group of figures of the early Apollo with a companion on the wall side of the salon is a work by Paul Heermann .

In 1717 Louis de Silvestre painted the ceiling fresco “ The Elevation of the Psyche to Olympus ”. The fresco was completed in 1723 and adorned the ceilings of the building until it was destroyed in 1945.

Wall pavilion

The wall pavilion

The wall pavilion is seen as the architectural highlight of the Zwinger; In addition to the lavish sculptural decoration, the peculiar combination of stairs and pavilion makes it one of the most important European baroque buildings. The basement consists of a series of stairs that lead to the city wall and represent the only direct connection between the Zwingerhof and the wall. Two three steps lead from the Zwingerhof through five gates into the pavilion. From there, a staircase flanked by two wells runs to a platform where the staircase splits into two arms at right angles. The two flights of stairs enclose a fountain inside the pavilion and lead to the city wall, on which the rear of the building is leaning. On the upper floor of the building is a ballroom with all-round windows, which are only interrupted by narrow pillars with pilasters in front of them; A bridge with a small entrance hall opens up to it from the city wall.

Middle cartouche, left Venus and the depiction of August the Strong as Paris with a Polish royal crown (Heermann), right Minerva and Juno (Heermann), above: Hercules (Permoser)

The exterior of the Wallpavilion is populated by numerous sculptures : Hercules Saxonicus (Permoser), Prince Paris with three goddesses (Heermann), Four Winds (Kirchner) and Juno and Jupiter (Thomae). The originals are now partially in the lapidarium. Two iconographic layers can be identified.

Pair of herms from Paul Heermann

The first layer is supposed to represent the irrepressible natural life, embodied by numerous herms on the ground floor of the pavilion. In the ground floor zone, for example, the satyr baths adorn the six pillars of the entrances to the Zwingerhof; from the side to the middle there are first one, then two and finally three figures each. The Hermen are considered the work of Permoser and Heermann.

The second layer is supposed to represent the merging of the worlds of Greek mythology and Augustus the Strong's claim to political power . So Permoser Hercules Saxonicus carrying representative for Augustus the Strong, the globe, the iconographic center on the Saxon-Polish coat of arms. This points to August the Strong's governorship in 1711: Pöppelmann explained this intention in the foreword to his engravings, in which he alluded to the twelve deeds of Hercules. In order to receive the apples of the Hesperides from Atlas , he had to briefly carry the vault of heaven. Hercules could then give the vault back to Atlas. This myth was seen as a parallel to the imperial rule of August the Strong:

"Picture column partly as a supervisor ..., partly as a world supporter, as he carries the heavenly sphere on his shoulder, aimed at the imperial governor of our heroic king at that time, displayed above the great staircase . "

On one side of the gable is flanked by the laurel-wreathed Paris in the shape of the youthful August , who instead of an apple is holding the Polish royal crown in his hand; next to him is Venus . On the other side are the "spurned" goddesses Minerva and Juno . Paul Heermann created this second central group on the Wallpavillon: The judgment of Paris. Paris symbolizes August the strong in his youth and carries the crown of Poland in his hands. At the four corners of the wall pavilion, groups of figures of the four winds crown the pillars of the baroque building. These double figures are a work by Kirchner .

In 1727 Louis de Silvestre received the order for the ceiling fresco "The Triumph of the Arts" in the ballroom of the Wallpavilion; however, his design was not carried out.

French pavilion

In the ensemble of the Zwinger, the French pavilion, together with an arched gallery, connects the wall pavilion and the Semper gallery. Its name goes back to French paintings that could be seen there until 1945. The walls and floors of the upper floor were covered with Saxon marble; the hall filling the floor is therefore called the marble hall. In the post-war period, objects from the Dresden Animal Museum were shown in this area for a long time. Since 2007 pieces from the sculpture collection have been exhibited in the basement of the French pavilion and in the adjacent gallery ; the marble hall is currently (as of 2014) used for classical concerts.

The French pavilion is the only corner pavilion with a two-storey rear front. It closes off the narrow side of the nymph bath behind it and its decoration is thematically coordinated with the nymph bath: reed and shell ornaments extend into the capitals and the putti carry fish and dolphins.

From 1717 the painter Heinrich Christoph Fehling painted the ceiling fresco “ Apotheosis of August the Strong and the Electress Eberhardine ”, a homage to August the Strong and his wife Christiane Eberhardine, with the medallions of the Elector couple in the longitudinal axis of the central hall.

German pavilion

The German Pavilion

The German Pavilion, which was completed for the wedding celebrations in 1719, is located between the City Pavilion and the Semper Gallery. It houses the restoration workshops of the Dresden State Art Collections. As with the porcelain pavilion, there is also a single-storey extension with a skylight on the street side of the German pavilion. It was added by Haenel during the restoration in 1854. Originally marginalized here in the truss built Redoutenhaus at the German Pavilion. Shortly before the start of the Seven Years' War, the Redoutenhaus had to give way to a new wing of the Taschenbergpalais , which Friedrich August II had built to accommodate his children. However, the German Pavilion was only released from the city for a few years. A simple residential building, the Carlowitzsche or Reichenbachsche Haus, was built in its place. It had to give way to the construction of the Sempergalerie in the middle of the 19th century.

The fresco " The Four Continents " created by Pellegrini in 1725 on the upper floor of the German Pavilion was destroyed in the fire of 1849.

City or carillon pavilion

Originally, generous external stairs led up to the city pavilion
View of the carillon pavilion

The former town and today's carillon pavilion was completed in 1728 except for the sculptural work. Smaller work on the pavilion lasted until 1732. The pavilion was damaged several times. It was destroyed for the first time in 1849 by a fire in the immediately adjacent old opera house, the flames of which spread to the eastern part of the Zwinger and also destroyed a scientific library located there . The pavilion was destroyed again in the air raid in 1945 and its reconstruction lasted until 1955.

The carillon

Its specialty is the clock with a carillon made of Meissen porcelain on the facade of the Zwingerhof. The clock and carillon were added in 1933. All porcelain bells were originally gold-plated and had a white lower edge. While the clock survived the Second World War almost unscathed, many of the golden porcelain bells were destroyed and only a few remained. Even before the Second World War, the carillon had been expanded from originally 24 to 40 gold-plated porcelain bells (also from Meissen ). When the pavilion was rebuilt, the carillon received another 40 porcelain bells, now in white. Today the glockenspiel plays the chimes by Günter Schwarze every quarter, half, three quarters and full hours (original composition for the Dresden glockenspiel, 1994). In addition, depending on the season, well-known melodies can be heard at set times. Directly at the passage from the glockenspiel pavilion , two stumbling stones remind of the two artists Max Hermann Dietze and Ernst Fritz Gottschling , who in 1933 were commissioned by the Meissen porcelain factory to install the glockenspiel in the pavilion and who later became victims of National Socialism because of their faith.

Audio file / audio sample An audio sample of today's glockenspiel at 12 noon (673 kB). ? / i

Similar to its counterpart, the wall pavilion, the ground floor of the glockenspiel pavilion also serves as a passage, except that the height of the wall does not have to be overcome. Originally it represented the main entrance from the city to the Zwinger. Inside, two stair arms each lead in a semicircle to the entrances to the adjoining arched galleries located at plinth height. Up until 1826 there was a monumental double-flight external staircase to the upper floor on the street side. It was probably demolished for traffic reasons. Since then, access to the hall on the upper floor can no longer be through the central portal crowned with a rich gable, but through side entrances from the terrace to the arched galleries.

Statues and decorations on the carillon pavilion are very similar to those on the wall pavilion. However, the figures often represent heroes of Greek sagas and rare gods. Among the sculptures are Perseus , Andromeda , Paris and Helena . The figure of Hercules with the club originally crowned the pavilion . It was destroyed in the fire of 1849 and then replaced by a copy of Hercules with the globe from the Wallpavilion. The satyr baths on the six pillars of the entrances to the inner courtyard do not date from the time the pavilion was built; they were only carved from the standing bosses between 1783 and 1795 by Johann Baptist Dorsch , Thaddäus Ignatius Wiskotschill and Johann Christian Feige . Under the direction of the court conductor Johann Daniel Schade (1730–1798) they also created the coat of arms on the gable of the city pavilion.

The porcelain pavilion at night

Porcelain pavilion

The porcelain pavilion, which was completed for the wedding celebrations in 1719, is located between the long gallery and the carillon pavilion and houses the Dresden porcelain collection . In 1939, porcelain was first exhibited in this pavilion, which was previously called the Natural Science Pavilion . Since 1962, the porcelain pavilion has again housed the exhibits that were relocated at the beginning of the war.

As with the German Pavilion, the porcelain pavilion also has a single-storey extension with a skylight on the street side. It was added by Haenel during restoration in the 1850s. Originally the old opera house, which burned down in 1849 and was accessible from the pavilion, was adjacent to it.

The ceiling fresco " The Banquet of the Gods " by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini , executed in 1725, adorned the upper floor until it was destroyed in the fire in 1849.


Arch galleries

Four one-story arched galleries connect the four corner pavilions with the wall or carillon pavilion. They consist of 16 arcs each , ten in a straight line and six in a quarter round. Until the idea of ​​orangery was abandoned, they were intended for the wintering of tropical plants. That is why they initially only received a wooden roof that could be removed in the warm season. After the end of the intended purpose and weather damage in the construction, the arched galleries were given a permanent roof in 1723. In front of the arched galleries there is a walkway a few meters wide, to which four steps lead up from the Zwingerhof. The base of the arched galleries rises above this; its main decorations are faun consoles under the center of the arched windows. Ball-shaped orange trees in pots made of Meissen porcelain were placed on them in the past. Like the long galleries, an attic also closes off the arched galleries at the top. They are divided by balusters and pillars. Putti and vases are alternately placed on the pillars .

Long galleries

Well system at the long gallery

On both sides of the Kronentor there are one-story long galleries. On the outside, their plinths stand completely in the fortress wall and their arches emerge directly from it. On this side the long galleries consist of 18 arches each, three of which are in front of the narrow sides of the pavilions. At the Zwingerhof, five fountains enliven the facade of the long galleries. Approximately in the middle, from the Kronentor under the seventh of the 15 arched windows, is the largest water cascade ; it is crowned by a fish-tailed, water-spouting Triton whose water pours through four basins richly decorated with sea animals and hippocamps . The other eight fountains are a little lower; they can be found on either side of the two central cascades at a distance of two or four arches. A triton child crowns each of these cascades, which consist of three basins. A shared basin at ground level catches the water from the five fountains in a long gallery. As under the window arches of the arched gallery, there is also a faun console for the installation of orange trees under the first window arches on the Kronentor or on the corner pavilions. At the top, an attic closes the long galleries, with balusters and pillars dividing them. Putti and vases are alternately placed on the pillars.

A short staircase leads from the passage of the Kronentor into the interior of the long galleries. Part of the porcelain collection is exhibited in the southern long gallery.

The design basis for the long gallery was the motif of a grotto wall, as in the villas around Frascati and the arcade sequence of the water theater by Carlo Maderno, built from 1607 to 1625 in the Villa Torlonia (formerly the Ludovisi-Conti family). Instead of the niches of the model, however, windows with rounded arches were used in the Dresden Long Gallery.

Semper Gallery

View over the courtyard of the Zwinger to the Sempergalerie
Architectural transition between neo-stylist and baroque buildings in the Zwinger

The museum building in the style of the Italian High Renaissance , built by the architect Gottfried Semper by 1854, limits the Zwinger to the northeast to the Theaterplatz. Before that there was only a baroque boundary wall. The Sempergalerie is also known as the Semperbau and houses the Old Masters Picture Gallery . The armory was also housed in it until they moved to the neighboring residential palace at the end of 2012 .

With a length of 127.35 meters and a height of 23.77 meters, the Sempergalerie is the largest building in the kennel complex. But not only with regard to the dimensions of the building, but also in terms of its facade structure, the architecture of the Sempergalerie represents an abrupt break from Pöppelmann's baroque work. The neo-stylist facade, with its emphatically geometric window and arch elements as well as the heavy boss masonry, conveys a strict one Objectivity with an almost imperial effect. In contrast, the festive Baroque style of the Zwingebauten, with its playful decorative elements and the sometimes ironic figures, stands for a delicate lightness and demonstrates a closeness to the idea of ​​the pleasure garden. The Sempergalerie, on the other hand, adopts the kennel motif of the rows of windows with stylistic changes. Semper had also intended a stronger correspondence to the Kronentor with a higher dome; At the request of the gallery management, however, the Semperbau received a flat dome that only towers over the building by 8.97 meters and does not fulfill this function.

The Sempergalerie is only connected to the two adjacent corner pavilions, the German and the French pavilion, on the ground floor. A terrace connects the buildings on the upper floor, but emphasizes their independence.

The central projection of the Sempergalerie is dominated by a triple portico in the form of a triumphal arch . It represents a further entrance to the Zwingerhof and lies in the axis running from the crown gate to the bronze equestrian statue of King John from 1889 on the Theaterplatz.

Garden and water facilities

Gardens in the Zwingerhof

The green areas in the Zwingerhof

The gardens of the Zwinger never reached their intended size and design variety. On the north-east side of the Zwinger, which was kept open until the 19th century, various plans, including by Pöppelmann, provided for the extension of the main axis, starting at the Kronentor, to the banks of the Elbe at the location of today's Italian village . The newly planned residential palace would have received a pleasure garden on its north-west side that could have rivaled the great European models. At times the orangery building (today's Zwinger) shaped the overall plans with horticultural priority. Logically, one spoke of the kennel garden or the orangery at that time . In understanding the time of its creation, it is a garden and not a single building. This earlier function is no longer apparent in today's kennel area.

In the middle of the Zwingerhof there is a small square surrounded by four shallow pools . Paths running between them emphasize the axes from the Kronentor to the passage through the Sempergalerie and from the wall pavilion to the glockenspiel pavilion. There are grass areas behind the basins, as well as in front of the Sempergalerie, the long galleries and in front of the arched galleries leading to the carillon pavilion. The current design of the inner courtyard corresponds to the plans of Pöppelmann, who, however , had planned the Broderieparterre instead of the lawns behind the basins . The plans from that time have been handed down in a floor plan by the copper engraver Christian Friedrich Boetius from 1729. Pöppelmann's concept did not come into play at the beginning of the 18th century because the room was needed for court celebrations.

According to an oil painting by Canaletto , there were no more gardens in the Zwingerhof in 1752.

In the classicism epoch that followed the baroque, the Zwinger lost its importance considerably. Its inner courtyard contained a wooden theater building between 1746 and 1748, which the people used. After that, the inner gardens suffered from the consequences and uses of the war. As a result, the Zwingerhof was a public traffic area for the population of Dresden, through which carriages also crossed.

In the 19th century more attention was paid to the design of the Zwingerhof and new gardens were created. Small round ponds with low fountains were created, surrounded by orange trees in pots. The faun consoles on the arched galleries were also used again in accordance with the original intention and small orange trees were placed on them. The court garden director Gustav Friedrich Krause laid out the garden again in 1876 and planted the lawn with roses and clematis . It was not until the 20th century that Hubert Ermisch attempted to design the Zwingerhof in the spirit of Pöppelmann. During the restoration work in 1924–1936, the Zwingerhof was essentially given its present appearance.

Gardens on the wall with a kennel pond and a kennel moat

Remains of the old fortification wall with the wall pavilion and kennel pond

After Dresden's fortifications were abandoned and the moat was filled in in 1812, new design options arose here. Before the Crown Gate and long gallery put Carl Adolph Marketers check in 1819 boskets on. The fortress walls of the Luna bastion and behind the rampart pavilion were partially razed and the kidney-shaped kennel pond was created to the west of the bastion.

In the course of restoration work from 1924 to 1936, the Zwingergraben was excavated again as a fragment of the old fortress moat that once enclosed the city. Until 1951, however, a land bridge separated it from the Zwingerteich, over which a path led. During the reconstruction after the war destruction of 1945, a comprehensive horticultural redesign took place in 1976 with new plantings and road construction work; the Zwingerwall received stone benches.

On the Zwingerwall, near the Mathematical-Physical Salon, there is a meridian house only a few square meters in size. The one-story building lies on the midday line of Dresden measured by Wilhelm Gotthelf Lohrmann (1796–1840) and was rebuilt in 1957 to set up a passenger instrument . Lohrmann built an observatory at this point during his time, which was replaced by a new building in 1928 and destroyed in 1945. Exactly to the north is a meridian column by Lohrmann in the Rähnitz district of Dresden .

Moat bridge

The bridge in 1963

The original moat bridge connected the Dresden suburb outside the fortification wall with the Zwinger from 1718. This was built as a narrow wooden footbridge that would have been quickly dismantled in the event of an attack. The bridge had to be rebuilt in 1770, 1780, 1930 and 1951 due to dilapidation or armed conflicts.

Nymph bath and water games

The nymph bath

The Nymphenbad is one of the most beautiful baroque fountains. Surrounded by a French pavilion, arched gallery, rampart and an extension of the Sempergalerie, it forms a high-walled room with a square base, open to the top. The Nymphenbad is not a bath in the true sense of the word, rather a water theater or grotto hall. In addition, the design of the side walls with their plastic jewelry is reminiscent of an ancient nymphaeum . Today's Nymphenbad is a comparatively small version of the originally intended water features. A large ring cascade was envisaged in the plans for the kennel .

The water runs from a fountain on top of the wall, over a stepped, artificial waterfall into the nymph bath and is collected there in a large semicircular basin. Two pairs of figures ascribed to Johann Christian Kirchner , Triton and Nereid on the left , Neptune and Amphitrite on the right , flank the water cascade on top of the wall. They show that "Kirchner's temperament [...] had no reins". Halfway up there are blowing tritons on both sides of the cascade, which changes from an inclined to a stepped course. They are the work of Johann Benjamin Thomae . The damaged originals are now in the Albertinum . On both sides, a fountain with a water-spouting dolphin head close off this work of art and leads to stairs that lead through an archway in a semicircle from the nymph bath to the wall. Also on the front wall of the nymph bath there is a niche on the far left and far right with nymphs standing on decorative plinths. These niches with nymphs continued a total of seven times on the two long sides. The side opposite the water cascade forms the French pavilion, through whose portal there is also access to the nymph bath. In the middle of the nymph bath there is a water basin with a profiled border.

So-called "Playing Nymph" ( attributed to Paul Egell , copy of the original from the 18th century)

Six of the nymph figures on the southwest side and the water-spouting dolphins can be traced back to Balthasar Permoser and his students. Kirchner, Thomae and Egell created nymphs for the niches ; so the nymph with the bouquet comes from Kirchner. The figure of the playing nymph, which already shows the style for the following Mannheim epoch, comes from Egell. Thomae created the nymph who lifts her robe over her shoulder. These sculptures from the Baroque era have now been replaced by true-to-original copies.

All other sculptures in the Nymphenbad date from the restoration of the Zwinger in the 1920s and 1930s under Georg Wrba . They are “free works based on the naturalism of the 1920s”. A nymph (Südecke) is a reproduction in the style of Permoser from the period after 1945.

The operation of the nymph bath required considerable technical effort, as there were no electric pumps at that time. The main problem was to raise sufficient amounts of water to the level of the upper wall area. This required an elaborate installation of classic water art . For this purpose, the master modeler Andreas Gärtner built a copper water container into the nearby tower of the Wilsdruffer Tor , which was filled with water from the Gorbitz fountain by a pumping station . The water from the tower got into the water features of the Zwinger via a tube ride.

This included the nymph bath, which is still preserved today, as well as cascades on the long galleries on both sides of the Kronentor, further fountains, fountains and some water puzzle games, for example in the grotto hall of the mathematical-physical salon and on the lower stairs of the wall pavilion. Originally, users were also sprayed wet on the two stairs leading down to the nymph bath.

The water games caused constant and not insignificant maintenance costs. An employed grotto had to supervise the running operation and take care of the maintenance of the technical systems.


Kennel complex with the monument to Friedrich August the Just (1907)
Stumbling blocks at the carillon pavilion
  • Monument to Friedrich Augustus the Righteous: The monument in honor of King Friedrich August I of Saxony was created according to Ernst Rietschel's design . The idea for this memorial developed after the day the ruler died on May 5, 1827; the citizens of Dresden involved in the idea collected the necessary funds. Ernst Rietschel was commissioned to manufacture a model in 1831. Influences from Karl Friedrich Schinkel initially flowed into the design of the richly decorated pedestal , the final version only emerged after a revision by Gottfried Semper. The Graeflich Einsiedel works in Lauchhammer cast the bronze statue. The small corner figures (piety, justice, mildness and wisdom) are cast by the Fischer company in Berlin. The pedestal is made of granite and is enclosed with a bronze cladding. It rested on a sandstone staircase. On June 7, 1843, the initiators presented the monument to the public with a ceremonial unveiling. It was located in the Zwingerhof on the axis from the city pavilion to the wall pavilion, where it remained until 1929. Since May 2008 it has been on the Schloßplatz in front of the Ständehaus .
  • Carl Maria von Weber Monument: The statue of Carl Maria von Weber consists of a larger than life bronze statue that is placed on a base made of Meissen granite . The sculptor and professor at the Dresden Academy of the Arts Ernst Rietschel began in 1844 with the sculpture, which was cast on October 11, 1860 in the image and ore foundry of the Lauchhammerwerke. The monument was erected in 1860 and is located north of the Sempergalerie between the Zwinger and the Semperoper. The granite base was created based on a design by Georg Hermann Nicolai .
  • Heinrich Schütz stele: The Heinrich Schütz stele is located in the gardens between the Zwingerteich and the street Am Zwingerteich and is a reminder of the Dresden composer Heinrich Schütz . The monument consists of a sandstone stele on which four bronze plaques are attached. They show representations from Schütz's time and life. The artist Berndt Wilde created the stele and bronze plates in 1972; On the occasion of the composer's 400th birthday in 1985, the monument was erected at its current location.
  • Robert Schumann Stele: The Robert Schumann Stele is located in the gardens between the Zwingerteich and the opera restaurant and is a reminder of the composer and pianist Robert Schumann . Charlotte Sommer-Landgraf created this bronze bust on a sandstone plinth in 1986.
  • Two stumbling stones at the glockenspiel pavilion in memory of the two employees of the Meißen porcelain factory, Max Hermann Dietze and Ernst Fritz Gottschling, who were commissioned to install the porcelain glockenspiel in 1933.


Royal galleries in kind and curiosity cabinets

This floor plan of the Zwinger from 1755 lists the natural history galleries and curiosity cabinets located on the ground floor .
At that time, the upper floors were mainly used for libraries.

One of the earliest forms of use since 1728 was, in addition to the courtly festivals, the accommodation of the royal natural history galleries and curiosity cabinets . This gave them independence - not only structurally, as already achieved in 1720, but also in spatial terms. The visionary power of Augustus the Strong comes from a handwritten functional conceptual sketch dated 1718 for the structure of his collection. A year later, the Elector appointed Johann Heinrich von Heucher as General and Special Inspector of the Galleries des Sciences. This marked the separation of the natural history collection from other collections of the Kunstkammer. On the instructions of the Electoral Minister and Lord Chamberlain Heinrich Friedrich von Friesen on May 19, 1728, the Royal Natural History Galleries and Curiosity Cabinets moved into the Zwinger building. These decisions received a lot of attention in professional circles, as the world's first special collection in this sector was created. Heucher then became a member of the Royal Society in London in 1729 . In this way, his pioneering achievements were recognized.

In the work Short Draft of the Royal Natural History Chamber in Dresden , published in 1755, the early development of the natural history cabinet is shown as follows and thus documents the main use in the Zwingerbau: “The only thing that cannot remain untouched is that the lowest room of this magnificent palace was initially for safekeeping the exceptionally beautiful orangery, emblazoned with the strongest trunks. But after the immortal king and elector, Augustus the other, to whom Dresden owes this ornament, had assigned a different place for it; so they issued in 1728 the most gracious order to bring all the rarities of natural produce and the other treasures already mentioned above to the registered kennel building. "

The natural history collections took up a considerable amount of space in the kennels. The holdings were housed in the arched galleries on both sides of the wall pavilion, in the two long galleries at the Kronentor and in the area of ​​today's Mathematical and Physical Salon. They stayed there until the end of World War II in 1945.

The natural history collection was long considered the most important of its kind in Germany and in the 18th century, according to experts, was described as unattainable compared to similar institutions in England, France, Holland and Italy. The collections kept and exhibited here included fossils of animal and vegetable origin, minerals and rocks, land animals and fish, a shell cabinet , a coral collection and the amber cabinet. In one of the arched galleries there was initially a collection of anatomical objects that was transferred to the University of Wittenberg in 1733 . In their place, the collections from the Kunstkammer and the Kupferstichkabinett, which had previously been kept in the castle and not yet represented in the Zwinger, moved in.

Kennel serenades

Ballet performance in front of the Wall Pavilion

Between the two world wars, the Mozart Association in Dresden revived the tradition of the Zwinger as a festival venue. On July 3, 1928, he organized the first Zwinger Serenade in the Zwingerhof, which many have followed to this day. In 1935, the city administration forbade the Mozart Association to perform the Zwinger Serenades and transferred them to the Dresden Philharmonic. Interrupted by the Second World War, the tradition of the kennel serenades was resumed in the 1950s. The serenades mostly take place in the summer months on the area in front of the Wallpavillon. Orchestra, choirs, theater and ballet ensembles appear.


The arched gallery between the porcelain and glockenspiel pavilions houses the exhibition rooms of the porcelain collection

The Zwinger is currently home to three museums belonging to the Dresden State Art Collections . Until November 2012, the armory , one of the most valuable collections of costume and ostentatious weapons, was also located in the Zwinger.

Old Masters Picture Gallery

The Old Masters Picture Gallery shows masterpieces from the 15th to 18th centuries and is one of the most renowned collections in the world. The focus of the collection is on Italian Renaissance painting. Furthermore, the gallery presents outstanding paintings of old Dutch and old German painting. Her most famous picture is the Sistine Madonna by Raphael .

Mathematical and physical salon

The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon is a museum of instrument art and shows historical clocks and scientific instruments. This includes devices for optics, astronomy and geodesy , earth and celestial globes as well as instruments for calculating, drawing and determining basic physical quantities . An Arab celestial globe from the 13th century and a calculating machine by Blaise Pascal from around 1650 are particularly important . The collection of globes and instruments was housed in the upper floor of the Mathematical-Physical Salon as early as 1746.

Porcelain collection

The Dresden Porcelain Collection is one of the most extensive and valuable special ceramic collections in the world. The porcelain collection includes around 20,000 exhibits from Chinese, Japanese and Meissen porcelain. The holdings of early Meissen porcelain and East Asian porcelain from the 17th and early 18th centuries are of particular importance.

Representations of the kennel

The copperplate engraving on the Zwinger

The title page of the copperplate engraving

The creator of the Zwingergarten, Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, had a collection of copperplate engravings published about the building he created in 1729. It consists of an explanatory text with 22 copperplate engravings on the Zwinger and one engraving each from the Dutch Palace and the large barrel at Königstein Fortress . In the text, Pöppelmann goes into the design of the buildings and their intended use.

The work was produced as a folder with individual sheets in the size of about 68 x 49 centimeters. In addition to the buildings and floor plans that have already been implemented, it also contains some images of planned extensions. With this monograph , Ermisch was able to clarify numerous detailed questions during the restoration and reconstruction after 1945; Furthermore, the fundamental insight into Pöppelmann's style made the reconstructions easier. The engravings were made by Christian Friedrich Boetius, Johann Georg Schmidt , Christian Albrecht Wortmann and Lorenzo Zucchi based on drawings by Pöppelmann. According to modern knowledge, scientists assume that Pöppelmann financed this work himself.

The kennel as an urban and national symbol

With the extensive renovation and restoration work since 1924, the Zwinger came back into the public eye. The remarkable advances in construction were used both in regional and national self-portrayal.

This becomes clear, for example, in a publication by the City Council from 1930 that was used to promote foreigners. In The Book of the City of Dresden , motifs (crown gate, wall pavilion) of the Zwinger are suggestively integrated into texts, although the text statements make no reference to the building. The book, for which City Councilor Georg Köppen was responsible for editorial work and was overseen by Lord Mayor Bernhard Blüher , was published on the occasion of the II International Hygiene Exhibition .

The kennel lottery made a further contribution to the symbolic identification with the building. It was supposed to raise a limited financial contribution to the extensive renovation measures and to make the population permanently aware of the important monument conservation goals. The Saxon Homeland Security Association , from which the idea originated in the 1920s, proved to be a pioneer and initiator in this matter . After the war damage in 1945, the idea of ​​the kennel lottery was taken up again. The wall pavilion and the Kronentor served as visual advertising symbols for the reconstruction during this time and transferred this concern to the entire city and its region.

20 Pfennig - special stamp of the GDR Post (1969) from the stamp series Important Buildings (Wallpavillon)

Today the Zwinger is world-famous as one of the main works of the Dresden Baroque and is one of the most important landmarks of Dresden and Saxony. Among other things, the Zwinger was depicted on the two-euro coin of the German federal states series in 2016 when the Saxon Prime Minister held the Federal Council presidency.

Postage stamps

Numerous German postage stamp depictions represent a special appreciation of the Zwinger as a building and the associated achievements of many people . The first postage stamp with a Zwinger motif appeared on November 1, 1931 as a surcharge for German emergency aid. This series consists of four German architectural motifs, of which the value 8 + 4 Reichspfennig shows a kennel pavilion. Some postage stamps issued after 1945 show how much emphasis was placed on symbolism. Particularly noteworthy here is an issue from 1946 , which is dedicated to the development of Dresden and consists of two stamps (face values: 6 pfennig, 12 pfennig). The 6 pfennig value (with a surcharge of 44 pfennigs) shows the wall pavilion and bears the inscription “WE BUILD UP!”.

One day before the reunification of Germany , the last six GDR stamps were issued, including one with the motif of the crown gate.

A wing of the kennel in Arita

Partial copy in Arita

In Arita , one of Japan's centers of artistic porcelain production to this day, a slightly scaled-down copy of the Kronentor with long gallery and the adjoining pavilion was built, in which the local collection is presented.


  • Adolph Canzler , Alfred Hauschild , Ludwig Neumann: The buildings, technical and industrial plants of Dresden. Meinhold & Sons, Dresden 1878.
  • Walter Dänhardt (Hrsg.): Festschrift on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the flora, Saxon society for botany and horticulture. Self-published, Dresden 1926.
  • Georg Dehio (Hrsg.): Handbook of the German art monuments. Dresden. Updated edition, Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich and Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-422-03110-3 .
  • Hubert Georg Ermisch : The Dresden Zwinger. In: Writings of the Institute for Theory and History of Architecture of the German Building Academy. Sachsenverlag, Dresden 1953.
  • Cornelius Gurlitt : Descriptive representation of the older architectural and art monuments of the Kingdom of Saxony. City of Dresden. Book 2, Meinhold & Sons, Dresden 1901.
  • Mathias Haenchen: On the design principle of the Dresden Zwinger. In: Preservation of monuments in Saxony. (= Notifications from the State Office for Monument Preservation Saxony. 2012 yearbook). Dresden 2013, ISBN 978-3-95498-026-0 , pp. 40-52.
  • Hermann Heckmann : Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and baroque architecture in Dresden. Verlag für Bauwesen, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-345-00018-0 .
  • Fritz Löffler, Willy Pritsche: The Zwinger in Dresden. VEB Seemann Verlag, 1976.
  • LIPSIA color catalog GDR. 1983. Berlin (transpress) 1983.
  • Harald Marx (Ed.): Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. The architect of the Dresden Zwinger. E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1990, ISBN 3-363-00414-1 .
  • Arno Naumann: Dresden's horticulture up to the founding time of the "Flora" Society for Botany and Horticulture in Dresden. Dresden 1896.
  • Peter Stephan: New creation or addition? Mind games on the subsequent realization of the Dresden Zwingergarten and the influence of rhetoric on baroque garden art. In: The garden art. 15/1 (2003), pp. 53-84.
  • Matthias Donath, Dirk Welich: The kennel. Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 2011, ISBN 978-3-361-00668-3 .

Web links

Commons : Dresdner Zwinger  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 51 ° 3 ′ 11 ″  N , 13 ° 44 ′ 2 ″  E

This article was added to the list of articles worth reading on February 16, 2013 in this version .