Run under the auspices of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) along with 14 other museums, the Zwinger was constructed from 1710–32 by architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. It is a fanciful piece of Baroque styling with galleries connecting six pavilions encrusted with statues of gods from Greek mythology, fronted by an ornate courtyard garden and entered through the flamboyant Crown Gate. To the right of the Zwinger is the austere Semperbau (Semper Building), opened in 1855. Both galleries were destroyed by bombing in World War II and restored in the 1960s–70; today they are home to an incomparable collection of paintings and decorative arts.
The Zwinger Gallery offers two galleries: the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon displays a wealth of early mechanical instruments such as globes and sextants, clocks and fob watches; and the Porzellansammlung has one of the best collections of porcelain in the world, showcasing Dresden, Meissen and Oriental china.
The neighboring Semperbau houses the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters’ Gallery), featuring famous works from the likes of Rubens, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Titian and Holbein; its spectacular major highlight is the glowing Sistine Madonna (1512) by Raphael.
Theaterplatz 1. Open Tue - Sun 1-am–6pm. Admission Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon: adults €6, concessions €4.50, under 17 free. Ticket for all three galleries: adults €10, concessions €7.50, under 17 free. Trams 4, 8 or 9 to Theaterplatz.