- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Visit Dresden, Germany
Dresden, spread out on both banks of the river Elbe in Saxony, is also called "Florence at the Elbe", due to its idyllic location, excellent examples of baroque architecture, and world-renowned art treasures. Although 80% of Dresden’s historic center was destroyed in World War II, all landmarks have been rebuilt to their former splendor. In addition, the new section is enjoying its own renaissance.
Tourists Attractions in Dresden
Editor's Pick Dresden Frauenkirche
Dresden's spectacular Frauenkirche is one of the most remarkable reconstruction projects ever to have taken place in Germany, if not the world. Completed in 1743, the spectacular Baroque original was considered one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. After its destruction during allied bombing in 1945, the ruins of the old building were catalogued and stored for use in its reconstruction. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, plans to rebuild developed rapidly, and when it reopened in 2005, nearly 4,000 original stones had been included.
A highlight of a visit is the ascent to the top of the Dome with its wonderful views of the richly decorated interior as well as over the Neumarkt, the city's main square. The cathedral also hosts 180 concerts and musical events each year and has an exhibition hall detailing the reconstruction project.
Zwinger mit Semperbau
The Zwinger - a museum complex housed in a magnificent early 18th-century palace - is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Germany. Aside from its impressive architecture, the Zwinger is famous for its Dresden Porcelain Collection, the scientific instruments on display in the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments, and the magnificent art collections housed in the Old Masters Picture Gallery. The Zwinger itself is notable for its extraordinary variety and magnificence of form: the majestic 32-bayed Long Gallery on the south side, the four symmetrically arranged pavilions on the east and west sides, the Wallpavillon, and the Nymphenbad (Bath of the Nymphs) with its graceful fountains and mythological female figures. Other highlights include the Zoological Museum, and the Historical Museum with its displays of weapons from the 15th - 18th centuries.
Theaterplatz and the Semperoper
Dresden's Theaterplatz, one of Germany's finest public squares, is home to numerous architectural wonders. In the center stands an equestrian statue from 1883 of King John, while the west side is dominated by the magnificent Semperoper, the city's opera house. Built in the style of the Italian High Renaissance, the building can be explored on a guided tour (better still, try to catch a performance). At the southeast corner stands the Altstädter Wache, the Old Town Guard-House, built in 1831 and modeled on the famous Guardhouse in Berlin, while to the southeast is the Taschenbergpalais, a Baroque palace dating from 1711.
The Catholic Court Church
The Hofkirche of Dresden - the Catholic Court Church - was completed in 1755 and raised to cathedral status in 1980. Standing at the end of the bridge over the River Elbe, the church was built in Italian High Baroque style and was fully restored after the war. By far its most striking features are its 85.5-meter-high tower and the 78 statues in niches and on the balustrades. Notable interior features are the processional ambulatories, a magnificently carved pulpit from 1722, the altarpiece of the Ascension from 1751, and the Silbermann organ from 1753. In four burial vaults are the remains of many kings and princes of Saxony, and an urn contains the heart of Augustus the Strong (his body was buried in Krakow). Another church of note is the twin-towered Christuskirche, dating from 1903 and the purest example of Art Nouveau architecture in Dresden.
No trip to Dresden is complete without a visit to Brühl's Terrace, or Brühlsche Terrasse, also known as the "Balcony of Europe." Best approached from the Schlossplatz by a broad flight of steps, this area on the site of the old city ramparts was laid out in 1738 as a private garden (it opened to the public in 1814). Of note are the sculptured groups on the staircase representing morning, noon, evening, and night. Of the original layout, the sole survivor is the Dolphin Fountain from 1749. Also of interest is the College of Art, built in 1894, and the Moritz Monument, Dresden's oldest surviving monument, erected in 1553. Finally, be sure to check out the Terrassenufer on the banks of the Elbe, the main landing stage for boats.
Dresden Residential Castle and Museums
Dresden Castle was for almost 400 years the official home of Saxony's electors and kings. These days, the former palace is part of the Dresden State Art Collections, an excellent museum complex that contains some of the city's leading attractions, including the Green Vault, or Grünes Gewölbe, named after the original home of the collection founded by Augustus the Strong. This superb collection includes gold, silver, jewelry, and ivory from the 14th to 18th centuries. Another important collection is the Numismatic Cabinet with more than 200,000 medals and seals, as well as examples of every coin minted in Saxony. Other highlights are the Print Cabinet, a collection of graphic art and drawings including watercolors and pastels by European artists from the 15th century onwards; the Dresden Armory, with a large collection of ceremonial weapons and armor; and the Turkish Chamber, established in 1614 and home to one of the world's largest collections of artifacts from the Ottoman Empire.
The Japanese Palace and the Golden Horseman
In the Neustädter Markt in the newer part of Dresden is the statue of Augustus the Strong, depicted in the pose of a Caesar, wearing Roman armor and seated on a horse. Made in 1736, it's commonly known as the Golden Horseman and has long been one of the city's most popular landmarks. Also of great interest here is the Japanese Palace, or Japanisches Palais, a Baroque and Neoclassical-style mansion built in 1737. Richly decked with chinoiserie, the building was built to house Augustus the Strong's collection of porcelain (now the Dresden Porcelain Collection), but now houses the State Museum for Prehistory and the Museum of Ethnology Dresden. Another nearby attraction, housed in the 16th-century Jägerhof, is the Saxon Museum of Folk Art.