Dresden, Germany Tourist Attractions
Capital of the Land of SaxonySituationDresden 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.
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
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
Opening hours: May 1 to Oct 31: 9am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-4pm; Fri: 1pm-5pm; Sat: 10:30am-4pm
Nov 1 to Apr 30: 9am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-4pm; Fri: 1pm-5pm; Sat: 10:30am-5pm
Nov 1 to Apr 30: 9am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-4pm; Fri: 1pm-5pm; Sat: 10:30am-5pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
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.
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.
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).
A flight of stairs leads to the open area known as Bruhl Terrace, often referred to as the "Balcony of Europe".
The Albertinum, built between 1884 and 1887, is a world-scale art gallery with an impressive collection.
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.
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).
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.
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
Opening hours: 10am-6pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24)
Entrance fee in EUR: Family €11.00, Adult €6.00, Concession or reduced rate €3.00, Group discounts €3.00, Child €1.50
Useful tips: Half price admission after 3pm on Fridays.
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
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.
Dresden's "new town" on the right bank of the Elbe suffered heavy damage in 1945.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Loschwitz and Weisser Hirsch
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 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".
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.
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.
The palaces of Pilnitz represent some of the finest palaces from the time of Augustus the Strong. They can be reached by boat.
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 MusikOf 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 began as a modest hunting lodge in the mid 16th C but was converted into the present day palace in the 18th C. The old lodge and its chapel can still be seen.
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
Opening hours: Mar 1 to Oct 31: 9am-6pm; Closed: Mon
Nov 1 to Feb 28: 10am-4pm; Closed: Mon
Nov 1 to Feb 28: 10am-4pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), New Year's Eve (Dec 31), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24)
Entrance fee in EUR: Family €11.00, Adult €5.00, Group of 10 or more €4.50, Students €4.00, Child 16 & under €2.00, Child 4 & under FREE
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
The Hoflössnitz Heimatmuseum is housed in a Renaissance building of 1650.
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.
Map of Dresden Attractions