Dresden Tourist Attractions

Semper's Opera HouseSemper's Opera House
Capital of the Land of Saxony
Dresden lies in a wide basin in the upper Elbe valley, which extends for a distance of 40km/25mi from Meissen to Pirna between the foothills of the Eastern Erzgebirge, the steep scarp of the Lusatian granite plateau and the Elbsandsteingebirge (Elbe Sandstone Hills). Dresden has been favored over the centuries by its beautiful setting, its agreeable climate and its location on important trade routes.


The Zwinger in Dresden is a fine example of Baroque architecture. Aside from its striking and impressive architecture, the Zwinger is famous for its collections of porcelain and scientific instruments.


Beyond the portico of the Picture Gallery in Zwinger lies Dresden's Theaterplatz, one of Germany's finest squares. In the center stands an equestrian statue (by Schilling, 1883) of King John, who made a name for himself as a student and translator of Dante.

Semper's Opera House

The west side of the Theaterplatz in Dresden is dominated by the Opera House, the second opera house built by Gottfried Semper on this site (the first one having been burned down in 1869). Like Dresden's Picture Gallery, it is in the style of the Italian High Renaissance. From 1878 until the end of the Second World War it was Dresden's most magnificent theater; after wartime destruction it was restored between 1977 and 1985 very much in its original form.
Address: Theaterplatz 2, D-01067 Dresden, Germany

Old Town Guard-House

At the southeast corner of the Theaterplatz in Dresden is the Altstädter Wache (1830-31), designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel on the model of the Guard-House in Berlin.


Southeast of Dresden's Theaterplatz stands the Taschenbergpalais, a Baroque palace (by Pöppelmann, 1707-11; side wings 1756 and 1763), also rebuilt after wartime destruction. In front of the palace is the neo-Gothic Cholera Fountain (by Semper, 1843), which was brought here in 1925.

Catholic Court Church

Catholic Court ChurchCatholic Court Church
The Hofkirche of Dresden, built between 1738 and 1755, was raised to cathedral status in 1980.
The site of the church, at the end of the bridge over the Elbe, was chosen by the Elector as a position commanding the Elbe area. The church, in Italian High Baroque style, was designed by the Roman architect Gaetano Chiaveri. After his departure in 1743 the work was continued by Sebastian Wetzel and others. The church was consecrated in 1751 and finally completed in 1755.
During the devastating Allied bombardment of 1945 the interior was burned out and most of the vaulting collapsed, leaving only the tower unscathed. The church was restored after the war.
The exterior of the church is striking, with its 85.5m/280ft high tower and its 78 statues in niches and on the balustrades. Notable features of the interior are the processional ambulatories, Balthasar Permoser's magnificently carved pulpit (1722), the altarpiece of the Ascension (by Mengs, 1750-51) and the Silbermann organ (1750-53), Silbermann's last and finest work. In four burial vaults are the remains of kings and princes of Saxony. An urn contains the heart of Augustus the Strong; his body was buried in Krakow.
Address: Theaterplatz, D-01067 Dresden, Germany

Nepomuk Chapel

The Nepomuk Chapel in Dresden, with a Pietà and an altar of Meissen porcelain by Friedrich Press, was consecrated in 1973 as a "memorial chapel for the victims of February 13, 1945, and of all unrighteous violence".


Opposite the entrance to the Cathedral in Dresden, at the end of Augustusstrasse, stands the Georgentor, the first part of the Schloss to be restored after the war (1964-69). On the west side is a Renaissance doorway from the original building. The sculptural decoration, including the equestrian statue of Duke George, was the work of Christian Behrens.

Langer Gang

The Langer Gang (by P. Buchner, 1586-91) in Dresden, well restored after the last war, is a long wing linking the Georgenbau of the palace with the Johanneum. Along its inner side is a long Tuscan-style arcade with 22 round-headed arches which leads to the Stallhof (Court Stables), the tilt-yard, the horse-trough and horse-pond.

Procession of Princes

In Dresden's Augustusstrasse, on the outside wall of the Langer Gang, can be seen the famous Fürstenzug, a 101 m/330ft long parade of Margraves, Dukes, Electors and Kings of the house of Wettin, together with leading figures in the arts and sciences, commissioned to mark the centenary of the Wettin dynasty. This great mural in sgraffito technique (by Wilhelm Walter, 1870-76), was later (1907) transferred in the Meissen manufactory on to 24,000 porcelain tiles, covering a total area of 957 sq. m/10,300 sq. ft.


Until February 1945 the Dresden Neumarkt was perhaps the most picturesque square in the Baroque city. It is now occupied only by the ruins of the Frauenkirche.

Transport Museum

The old Stallgebäude (Stable Building) in Dresden's Neumarkt, now the Johanneum, also dates from the late 16th century, with alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries; the external staircase was added in 1729. From 1722 to 1856 it was a picture gallery, and since 1956 it has housed the Transport Museum (Verkehrsmuseum; railroads, urban transport, motor vehicles, shipping, air travel; special section on the history of the bicycle).
To the left of the main front is the Schöne Pforte ("Beautiful Doorway"; not restored), a jewel of Renaissance architecture (before 1555) which was originally the entrance to the palace chapel.
In front of the Johanneum stands the Peace Fountain (Friedensbrunnen), originally the Turks' Fountain (Türkenbrunnen).
Address: Augustusstrasse 1, D-01067 Dresden, Germany

Church of Our Lady

The ruins of the Frauenkirche (1726-43) in Dresden's Neumarkt, with its famous 95m/312ft high stone dome, was once Germany's largest Protestant church and the great landmark and emblem of Dresden. There are now plans to rebuild it.

Bruhl Terrace

The Brühlsche Terrasse in Dresden, famed as the "balcony of Europe", is best approached from the Schlossplatz by a broad flight of steps. This area on the site of the old ramparts was granted to Count Heinrich von Brühl (1700-63), an intimate of Frederick Augustus II (Augustus III) and from 1733 Director of the Royal Art Collection, who in 1738 had it laid out as a pleasure garden, with a number of buildings which have not survived. In 1814 the terrace was opened to the public and the flight of steps at the west end was built. The sculptured groups on the staircase representing Morning, Noon, Evening and Night (by J. Schilling, 1863-68) were replaced in 1908 by bronze casts.

Dolphin Fountain

Of the original layout of the Brühl terrace in Dresden there survive only the Dolphin Fountain (by Pierre Coudray, 1747-49) in the gardens at the east end and the wrought-iron railings surrounding it (c. 1745).

College of Art

Half way along the Brühlsche Terrasse in Dresden is the College of Art, originally built (1891-94) to house the Royal Saxon Academy of Art and the Saxon Society of Arts.

Moritz Monument

At the northeast corner of the Brühl terrace wall is the Moritz Monument (restored 1956), Dresden's oldest surviving monument, erected by Elector Augustus in memory of his brother Moritz, killed in the battle of Sievershausen in 1553.


Below the Brühlsche Terrasse in Dresden, on the banks of the Elbe, is the main landing-stage for the boats of the White Fleet (Weisse Flotte) which ply on the river.


The Albertinum, built between 1884 and 1887, is a world-scale art gallery with an impressive collection.


Church of the Holy CrossChurch of the Holy Cross
From the busy Pirnaischer Platz, Ernst-Thälmann-Strasse (1954-57), Dresden's main east-west artery, runs west to Postplatz. This is the beginning of the new city center developed since the Second World War.


On the right-hand side of Ernst-Thälmann-Strasse in Dresden is the old Landhaus (by F. A. Krubsacius; restored), a building in early neo-classical style with a double Roccoco staircase. It is now occupied by the Museum on the History of Dresden (Museum für Geschichte der Stadt Dresden).


On the left of Ernst-Thälmann-Strasse in Dresden lies the Altmarkt, the city's central square since the 13th C. (destroyed in 1945). It owes its present handsome and imposing aspect to the use of typical Dresden Baroque architectural forms in the rebuilding which began in 1953.

Church of the Holy Cross

The Kreuzkirche (early 13th C.) is the oldest church within Dresden's town walls. It was completely destroyed in 1760 during the Seven Years War, after which it was rebuilt in its present Baroque form (by Schmidt and Exner, 1764-92). The famous Kreuzchor (choir) dates from the original church.
Address: Kreuzkirche 6, D-01067 Dresden, Germany

Cloth Hall

The new district north of the Town Hall has preserved something of the atmosphere of old Dresden with its little lanes, passages and courtyards. In this area is the restored Baroque and neo-classical Gewandhaus (by J. F. Knöbel, 1768-70), now a hotel. To the rear of the building can be found the Baroque Dinglingerbrunnen. In Weisse Gasse is the 19th C. Gänsediebbrunnen (Goose-Stealer Fountain).

Palais Marcolini

To the west of Dresden's old town, in the district of Friedrichstadt, a planned development initiated by Augustus the Strong in 1730, stands the Baroque Palais Marcolini, which dates from around that time. Much altered in the 19th and 20th centuries, it is now the District Hospital (not open to the public), but preserves some of the original interior decoration. Napoleon and Metternich met and negotiated in the Chinese Room in 1809. The east wing was occupied by Richard Wagner in 1847-49.

St Matthew's Church

Near the cemetery in Dresden stands the Matthäuskirche (1728-30), with a burial vault containing the tomb of its architect, Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann (1662-1736); there is a commemorative tablet on the church.

Public Health Museum

To the southeast of Dresden's old town is Lingnerplatz, in which (No. 2) is the monumental building (1928-30) occupied by the German Public Health Museum, an institution established to promote health education and healthy living. Among the exhibits is the famous "Glass Woman", first displayed in 1930.
Address: Lingnerplatz 1, D-01069 Dresden, Germany

Great Garden

Great GardenGreat Garden
From the front of Dresden's Public Health Museum the main avenue (Hauptallee) of the Grosser Garten runs southeast. In these gardens, laid out in the French style from 1676 onwards, is the Palais (by J. G. Starcke, 1678-83), the earliest and one of the most imposing Baroque palaces in the Electorate of Saxony. Around it are a number of Kavaliershäuschen (lodgings for members of the court) and groups of Baroque sculpture.

Church of Christ

In Dresden's eastern district of Strehlen, to the south of the Grosser Garten, can be seen the twin-towered Christuskirche (1903-05), the purest example of Art Nouveau architecture in Dresden.

Museum of Technology

In Dresden's Blasewitz district, some distance away from the Grosser Garten near the bridge over the Elbe, is the Museum of Technology. Its most important collections are in the fields of electronics and micro-electronics, computer technology and electronic data-processing, precision engineering and photography. Other interesting exhibits include musical boxes, gramophones and the early forms of "peep-show", ancestors of the cinema.

University of Technology

To the south of the old town in Dresden is the University of Technology, originally an Institute of Technical Education established in 1828 which from 1900 onwards expanded to occupy a whole district of the town.

Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church (1872-74) has onion-domed towers. It contains Russian icons over 200 years old.

New Town

Dresden's "new town" on the right bank of the Elbe suffered heavy damage in 1945.

Golden Horseman

In the Neustädter Markt in Dresden can be seen the statue of Augustus the Strong (1736) known as the Golden Horseman. He is depicted in the pose of a Caesar, wearing Roman scale armor and seated on a curvetting horse.


The Blockhaus (by Z. Longuelune; rebuilt) in Dresden's Neustadt was originally the Neustädter Wache (Guard-House; 1755).

Museum of Folk Art

In Dresden's Neustadt, now half concealed by recent buildings, is the Jägerhof (1568-1613), a Renaissance building which now houses the Folk Museum. Most of the material comes from Lusatia, the Erzgebirge and Vogtland.

Japanese Palace

The Japanisches Palais (enlarged in Baroque and neo-classical style in 1727-37 under the direction of M. D. Pöppelmann) is richly decked with chinoiserie. Originally built to house Augustus the Strong's collection of porcelain, it now contains the study collections of the Provincial Museum of Prehistory and the Museum of Ethnography.

Liberation Street

The Strasse der Befreiung runs north from the Neustädter Markt in Dresden.

Museum of Early Romantic Period

On Dresden's Strasse der Befreiung, once the home of the 19th C. painter Wilhelm von Kügelgen, is the Museum of the Early Romantic Period.
Address: Hauptstrasse 13, D-01097 Dresden, Germany

Church of the Three Kings

On Dresden's Strasse der Befreiung stands the Dreikönigskirche (by Pöppelmann and Bähr, 1732-39), completely destroyed in 1945 and now in the course of rebuilding.
The only surviving quarter of Baroque burghers' houses in Dresden is to be found in this area, particularly in Rähnitzgasse.

Museum of Military History

The Dresden Museum of Military History has exhibits detailing German military history to 1945 and the military history of the German Democratic Republic; collection of tin soldiers.
Address: Olbrichtplatz 2, D-01099 Dresden, Germany

Provincial Library

The Provincial Museum in Dresden has some two million volumes. Attached to the Library is a Museum of the Book, which displays fine examples of printing since the 16th C. and illustrates the development of printing down to the present day. Among its treasures is one of the only three surviving Maya manuscripts.
Address: Marienallee 12, D-01099 Dresden, Germany

Loschwitz and Weisser Hirsch

Blue Wonder

Between the outer districts of Blasewitz and Loschwitz in Dresden the Elbe is spanned by the Loschwitzer Brücke, popularly known as the "Blaues Wunder". This is a steel suspension bridge with a span of 141.5 m/464ft which at the time of its construction (1891-93) caused some sensation.

Dresden Cableway

From Körnerplatz in Dresden a cableway (1895: one of the oldest in Europe) runs up to the residential district of Weisser Hirsch. At the upper station is the Luisenhof restaurant (fine views).

Elbe Schlösser

Dresden has three Schlösser on the Elbe: Albrechtsberg (late neo-classical), the Ligner-Schloss (after 1850; late neo-classical) and Schloss Eckberg (1859-61; neo-Gothic).


The Schillerhaus in Dresden belonged to the Körner family (commemorative tablet on Körnerweg 6). Schiller lived here in 1785-87 while writing his play "Don Carlos".

Television Tower

Upstream from Dresden on the Elbe, in Wachwitz, rises the 252 m/827ft high Television Tower (cafe and viewing platform), from which there are far-ranging views of Meissen, the Elbe Sandstone Hills, the Eastern Erzgebirge and the Lusatian Uplands.

Pilnitz Palaces

The palaces and palace park of Pilnitz near Dresden (which can be reached by boat: Weisse Flotte, departing from the Terrassenufer) are among the finest palace complexes created during the reign of Augustus the Strong. On the banks of the Elbe stands the Wasserpalais (Water Palace), and on the opposite side of the pleasure garden (Lustgarten) is its exact counterpart, the Bergpalais (Hill Palace; by M. D. Pöppelmann and Z. Longuelune, 1722-24). Both palaces are in the clearly articulated style of Late Baroque, with a profusion of chinoiserie. The side wings (by C. T. Weinlig and Exner, 1788-91) and the New Palace (Neues Palais; by C. F. Schuricht, 1818-26) are still in Baroque style; in the Fliederhof and the Schlosswache (Guard-House) the neo-classical style takes over.
Craft Museum
In the Bergpalais is the Craft Museum (Museum für Kunsthandwerk), which is a section of Dresden's State Art Collections. Its collections include fine furniture, musical instruments, glass, pewter, Dutch and French faience and stoneware and textiles. Also of interest are the Weinling Room (c. 1800) and an exhibition on "Industrial Design in the 19th and 20th Centuries".


To north and west of the Pillnitz palaces in Dresden extends the Schlosspark, laid out in English style. Within the park are an Orangery (c. 1730), an English Pavilion (1789), a Chinese Pavilion (1804) and a famous Japanese camellia over 200 years old (in the camellia house).


Northeast of the Schlosspark in Dresden is the Weinbergkirche (by M. D. Pöppelmann, 1723-27). It has a relief of the Last Supper by J. G. Kretzschmar (1648), originally in the chapel (now demolished) of the Schloss in Dresden.

Dresden Heath

The Dresdner Heide is a popular recreation area to the northeast of Dresden, an expanse of wooded country traversed by small streams, 50 sq.km/19sq.mi in extent. In the center of the heath is the Saugarten (footpaths).


On a hill above the Elbe at Gross-sedlitz, 16km/10mi southeast of Dresden, lies one of the most perfect Baroque gardens in Saxony. It was laid out in the French style between 1719 and 1726 for Count Wackerbarth as a pleasure garden attached to one of his palaces. After the estate was acquired by Augustus the Strong in 1723 it was given its present Baroque form by the best Dresden architects of the day (M. D. Pöppelmann, Z. Longuelune and J. C. Knöffel).
Stille Musik
Of particular beauty is the Baroque staircase with curving balustrades and groups of putti known as the "Stille Musik" ("Quiet Music"). It is now established that this was designed by Pöppelmann.
During the summer months there are frequent festivals and dance displays in this beautiful natural setting.

Dresden Music Festival

The Dreseden Music Festival runs for two weeks from late May to early June and includes a wide array of events, including operas, classical concerts, recitals and dance performances.
This is considered on of Germany's largest festivals and since its inception in 1978 has focused on a different theme every year.
Regular performers include the Dresden State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic, while other participants come from around the world.
There are usually over 70 different events which take place in various impressive venues, including the Semper Opera House, the Dresden Cultural Palace, the Albrechtsburg Meissen and numerous castles, theaters and parks.


Schloss Moritzburg

14km/9mi northwest of Dresden, in a landscape reserve, is Schloss Moritzburg, an Electoral hunting lodge and pleasure palace in the ochre and white of Saxon Baroque. Here, on a low granite hill in a marshy depression in the Friedewald, Duke (later Elector) Moritz built in 1542-44 a modest hunting-box which developed into a large hunting lodge. Then, during the reign of Augustus the Strong, in 1723-36, Z. Longueline, M. D. Pöppelmann and J. C. Knöffel built the palace as we see it today. The old hunting lodge and its chapel (1661-71) were incorporated in the new structure. Celebrated sculptors like Balthasar Permoser, J. C. Kirchner and Benjamin Thomae carved the Baroque statues on the balustrades of the carriage ramp and the terrace. The decoration and furnishing of the interior (wallpaper, furniture, painting, etc.), still preserved almost complete and unaltered, were the work of the court painter Louis de Silvestre, the interior decorator Raymond Leplat and the wallpaper designer Pierre Mercier. Outstanding among the pictures are works by Lucas Cranach the Younger and A. Thiele and the "Man of Sorrows" by Permoser in the chapel.

Baroque Museum

The Baroque Museum in the Schloss Moritzburg near Dresden has a select collection of applied and decorative art of the 16th-18th centuries - sedan chairs, coaches, porcelain, furniture, wallpaper, etc. There is also a large collection of hunting trophies.

Käthe Kollwitz Memorial Museum

In the lower rooms of the Schloss Moritzburg near Dresden is a memorial museum in honor of the painter and sculptress Käthe Kollwitz, who died in Dresden in 1945, with a small collection of her works. In Käthe-Kollwitz-Platz is a memorial stone.

Pheasants' Palace

On the east side of the Moritzburg Schlosspark stands the Fasanenschlösschen, an elegant little Roccoco palace (chinoiserie) built and decorated by J. D. Schade and J. G. Hauptmann between 1769 and 1782 for Frederick Augustus III, who used it occasionally as a summer residence. The Dresden Zoological Museum now uses the rooms of the palace, with stucco ceilings and Roccoco wallpaper, to display a collection of native birds.

Game Park

The game park, in the Schloss Moritzburg near Dresden, with an area of 40 hectares/100 acres, dates from the time of Augustus the Strong. Here in large open enclosures live moufflon, red deer, fallow deer and wild pigs. There are smaller enclosures for martens, foxes, pheasants and falcons.

Stud Farm

A stud farm was established in Moritzburg near Dresden in 1828 with the object of breeding crossbreeds and heavy (draught) horses. The stud now breeds mainly crossbreeds for riding. The parades of stallions attract up to 50,000 visitors annually.

Radebeul, Germany

The main feature of interest in Radebeul, lying just northwest of Dresden in a beautiful setting is the Lössnitz landscape reserve.

Karl May Museum

The Karl May Museum which has an exhibition commemorating the popular 19th C. writer of adventure stories and Europe's largest collection of material on the life and culture of the North American Indians.
Address: Karl-May-Strasse 5, D-01445 Radebeul, Germany

Museum Hoflössnitz

The Hoflössnitz Heimatmuseum is housed in a Renaissance building of 1650.
Address: Knohllweg 37, D-01445 Radebeul, Germany

Stolpen, Germany

Situation and characteristics
Stolpen, 20km/12.5mi east of Dresden, is noted for its medieval castle and for the fine basalt formations of the hill on which the castle stands.

Burg Stolpen

The Stolpen Castle, 220m/240yds long, consists of four wards or courtyards. A signposted route takes visitors round the main features of interest. A museum on the history of the castle and the town is housed in thirteen rooms and eight cellars.
The well in the fourth courtyard is the world's deepest basalt well (82m/269ft).
Address: Schloss-strasse 10, D-01833 Stolpen, Germany

Basalt Formations

The round-topped hill on which the Stolpen Castle stands, with its striking octagonal basalt columns, is protected as a natural monument. The finest columns are to be seen on the west side of the castle; within the castle itself the columns have the appearance of organ pipes.
Address: Schloss-strasse 10, D-01833 Stolpen, Germany


A striking feature of Stolpen is the Markt, which is almost exactly square - a relic of the medieval settlement of this area. Beside the Town Hall is the Löwenapotheke (Lion Pharmacy; 1722), with a gilded coat of arms. The old Amtshaus (offices of a local government official), now occupied by a savings bank, has a fine coat of arms of the Electorate of Saxony dated 1673. In the new Amtshaus (also with the Electoral arms) Napoleon lodged in 1813.

Tharandter Wald

The Tharandter Wald (area 6,000 hectares/15,000 acres), now a landscape reserve, lies southwest of Dresden on the northern edge of the Eastern Erzgebirge, between the Wilde Weisseritz to the east and the Colmnitzbach to the southwest. It is the largest expanse of woodland within easy reach of Dresden after the Dresdner Heide, and is a very popular recreation area with the population of the city.

Hosterwitz, Germany

In Hosterwitz, near Dresden, are the fishermen's church of Maria am Wasser (St Mary by the Water; originally Late Romanesque, remodeled in Baroque style in 1774) and the Carl Maria von Weber Memorial Museum (Dresdner Strasse 44), in a little house once occupied by the composer.
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