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  The location was formerly part of the DRESDEN fortress of which the outer wall is conserved. The name derives from the GERMAN word ZWINGER (an enclosed killing ground in front of a castle or city gate); it was for the cannons that were placed between the outer wall and the major wall.
   The ZWINGER was not enclosed until the Neoclassical building by GOTTFRIED SEMPER called the SEMPER GALLERY was built on its northern side.
   Today, the ZWINGER is a museum complex that contains the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery), the DRESDEN PORCELAIN COLLECTION (Dresdener Porzellansammlung) and the MATHEMATISCH-PHYSIKALISCHER SALON (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments).
   The building was mostly destroyed by the carpet bombing raids of 13–15 February 1945. The art collection had been previously evacuated, however. Reconstruction, supported by the Soviet military administration, began in 1945; parts of the restored complex were opened to the public in 1951. By 1963 the ZWINGER had largely been restored to its pre-war state (i.s.).


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