The heart of the “Altstadt” (Old City) is the rebuilt “Neumarkt” (New Market) with the spectacular “Frauenkirche” (Church of Our Lady). The church was built between 1726 and 1743. It got destroyed during World War II. The reconstruction took place from 1994 until 2005. In the same way the surrounding “Neumarkt” (New Market) with its beautiful baroque buildings got rebuilt.
As one of the oldest buildings the “Residenzschloss” (Dresden Castle) served as a residence for several electors (from 1547 to 1806) and kings of Saxony (from 1806 to 1918) for more than 400 years. After reconstructions which started 1985 it today contains the famous “Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden” as well as the “Grünes Gewölbe” (Green Vault) that shows the most valuable German collection of more than 3,000 pieces of applied arts. The “Fürstenzug” (Procession of Princes) is located on the outer wall of the Castle. The 101m long painting on “Meissen porcelain” shows the rulers of the Wettin Dynasty (Saxony’s ruling family) on a cavalcade.
The famous “Semperoper” (Semper Opera House) was built between 1838 and 1841 by Gottfried Semper. As many other buildings it got destroyed in February 1945. The reopening got celebrated with the famous piece “Freischütz” by Carl Maria von Weber Until today friends of the opera can enjoy performances in the “Semperoper” (Semper Opera House). The stunning interior itself is worth a visit.
The Zwinger is a typical building of the late baroque era. It combines paintings, sculpture art and architecture. It was built in 1728 to serve as an Orangery and pleasure garden for the higher society. Today one can marvel at the famous portrait gallery “Alte Meister” (Old Masters Picture Gallery) in the Semper museum building located at the Zwinger. For example Raffael Sistines stunning painting Madonna or our world’s biggest ceramic and porcelain collection.
The Brühl’s Terrace is also called the “The Balcony of Europe”. With the “Altstadt” (Old Town) in the back, it stretches above the Elbe shore and offers a nice view. Locals and tourists can here have a walk and a coffee while enjoying the stunning view. The “Neue Meister” (New Masters Picture Gallery) in the Albertinum building on Brühl's Terrace displays important pieces from the Romantic period to the present days.
The Dresden Synagogue has a tragical history. Built between 1838 and 1840 by the famous architect Gottfried Semper, it got destroyed during the infamous night of progroms in 1938. The same day 60 years later, constructions for the New Synagogue started and ended as planned in 2001.
One of the most famous monuments in Dresden is the “Goldener Reiter” (Golden Horseman). Being at the “Neustädter Markt” (New Town Market) between “Augustusbrücke” (Augustus Bridge) and “Neustadt” (New Town), it was constructed between 1732 and 1734 and shows “August den Starken” (August the Strong), Elector of Saxony. Under his control many of the famous baroque buildings arose that today give the city the name “Florence of the Elbe”.
Dresden has 10 beautiful bridges within city boundaries to connect the two areas divided by the river Elbe. Old bridges like the “Blaues Wunder” (Blue Wonder Bridge), but also new bridges like the “Waldschlösschenbrücke” (Waldschlösschen Bridge) not only provide crossing points throughout the city, but are also nice to look at.
The panometer by the artist Yadegar Asisi is a 360°-painting to show a “snap-shot” of Dresden’s baroque era as it might have appeared between 1695 and 1760. It shows life at the royal court and daily life of farmers, fishermen and craftsmen. The name developed because of the piece of art being painted inside of a former gasometer (Panorama and gasometer).
Dresden offers a wide range of different museums.
“Marvel – Learn – Try Out” is the slogan of the “Deutsches Hygienemuseum” (German Hygiene Museum). It’s a science museum focusing on the human body and being within the context of environment and society, culture, and science. The childrens museum provides interesting and interactive information and shows.
For those who are interested in the Dresden history the Dresden City Museum is the right address. There are also several changing art exhibitions.
The Dresden Staatsschauspiel enchants its spectators with a wide range of dramatic arts.
To find a nice place to drink a coffee, to go out for dinner or to drink a beer “Dresden Neustadt” (Dresden New Town) is the right address. With lively pubs, cafes and many international restaurants it’s Dresdens famous pub district.
In “Dresden Altstadt” (Dresden Old Town) there is also a wide range of restaurants offering typical Saxon, but also international food.
Dresden is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Many parks and gardens like the “Großer Garten” (Big Garden) as well as the beautiful “Elbtal” (Elbe Valley) offer a wonderful setting for relaxing walks or bike cycles. Inside of the city boundaries (and furthermore) there is the 23km long “Elberadweg” (Elbe cycle track) which offers fantastic preconditions for a day outside. Cycling along the Elbe there are typical German beer garden to find which are lined by broad meadows and a beautiful countryside. The three “Elbschlösser” (Elbe Palaces) also offer an overwhelming view on the Elbe valley and the city panorama. The heathland of the “Dresdner Heide” (Dresden Heath) is the largest single wooded area in the city and spreads out towards the North. It connects directly to the Elbe Palaces.
Outside of Dresden
Saxon Switzerland is a hilly national park around the Elbe valley about 50km south-east of Dresden located at the border to the Czech Republic. It’s a famous climbing and hiking area. Together with the Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic it forms the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
The Saxons royal houses former summer residence is Europe’s largest one. The great park with several different plants from all over the world is inviting for nice walks in summer and winter. Inside the Palace one can find information about the history and former life at the Palace.