The sprawling baroque Zwinger houses four museums, including the Rüstkammer , a superb collection of armour, ordnance and ceremonial...
One of Germany's most famous opera houses, the original Semperoper burned down a mere three decades after its 1841 inauguration. After...
For fine views, head up the Hausmannsturm. Numismatists might like to pop into the Münzkabinett (Coin Collection), also in the tower.
The renowned Staatsschauspiel ensemble plays mostly crowd-pleasers by German playwrights.
Cafe Alte Meister
If you've worked up an appetite from museum-hopping or need a break from culture overload, retreat to this elegant filling station...
Lonely Planet review
The sprawling Zwinger is among the most ravishing baroque buildings in all of Germany. A collaboration between the architect Matthäus Pöppelmann and the sculptor Balthasar Permoser, it was primarily a party palace for royals, despite the odd name (which means dungeon). Ornate portals lead into the vast fountain-studded courtyard, which is framed by buildings lavishly festooned with evocative sculpture. Atop the western pavilion stands a tense-looking Atlas. Opposite him is a cutesy carillon of 40 Meissen porcelain bells, which emit a tinkle every 15 minutes.
Inside, the Zwinger’s collections have gone through a bit of a roundabout in recent years, with several comings and goings. The most important permanent collection is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Gallery), which features a roll call of Old Masters including Botticelli, Titian, Rubens, Vermeer and Dürer. A key work is the 500-year-old Sistine Madonna by Raphael.
Admission gives you access to the Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection), a dazzling assortment of Meissen classics and East Asian treasures, and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon whose ancient scientific instruments, globes and timepieces should again be on view following massive restoration in early 2013. A fourth exhibit, the Rüstkammer (Armoury) will be partly closed for refurbishment around the same time, with part of the collection moving to the Residenzschloss.