23 June 2016

Dawdling in Dresden: The Zwinger Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon

Dresden is full of royal palaces and villas. The Zwinger is one of them, set right in the middle of the Old Town. This was the first thing we visited, and as geeks, we zoomed in to the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, or the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments. Boy, this was a wonderful place to be!

This museum is basically the collection of the Dresden royals, specializing in scientific and mathematical instruments. If you're not scientifically oriented, then this might be a boring museum for you. But to be honest, we spent here several hours, just looking at objects, and learning about how they worked. There were videos that accompanied most of the displays, explaining how things worked.

The pictures above were the first things we saw: old objects and instruments about astronomy, which showed how advanced the state of science was back in the days. It's a marvel that these instruments are still around now. And yes, they are accurate. I learned how to measure distances, how seasons were calculated, and other things.

This huge device is actually a celestial clock, and it is simply marvelous. It has several faces, displaying the movements of the known planets at that time. There was a face that was moving quite fast, displaying the movement of Mercury, and there were also faces that were moving relatively slow, displaying the movement of the outer planets. There was a video explaining how everything worked, and it was simply fascinating.

Upstairs is where the giant mirrors were, which was simply amazing. I also liked the vacuum machines, which from a physics point of view, was just fascinating. It reminded me of the time I was in high school, and physics was actually my most favorite subject after music.

Other things the museum contained were little objects, clocks, and other things that moved. It displays the engineering advancement of the Dresden court back then. It is definitely remarkable.

One can easily spend a couple of hours here. I found every item fascinating, and as a science geek, one would definitely appreciate the contents of this museum.


  1. I'm not a science geek but I find astronomy fascinating, as well as how the world was viewed back in the days.

    1. Zhu,

      Oh definitely. Sometimes, you would scratch your head and think how backwards people back then were, and other times you would be amazed at how advanced their knowledge was about our world.

  2. Those instruments look really complicated and delicate at the same time. I could stare at those things for hours just to see the intricate details and the likes :)

    1. Charles,

      That's exactly what we did! The videos explaining how each machine works were definitely very informative!