The City of Dresden
Dresden is a charming city with a unique blend of art and culture, bustling, creative urban districts and a fascinating alternative scene.
The city has been given many attributes, such as “Florence on the river Elbe” because of its art treasures, or “Athens for artists” in reference to the antique collections in the Zwinger. Elector August the Strong wanted to turn his residence into a centre “Venice on the Elbe” in the mid-eighteenth century. These characterizations are no exaggeration. Just stand on the northern banks of the Elbe and look across to the Old Town, and you will be enchanted by the beautiful panorama. The city has experienced both: splendid eras and times of tragedy. It was a magnificent centre of European politics, culture and economic development during the 18th century, only to become a synonym for apocalyptic destruction just two centuries later. The reconstruction of the Frauenkirche church stands as a symbol for the latter part of the city’s history. And where else could you walk leisurely from Raffaels Sistine Madonna to one of the most fascinating auto plants in the world – The Volkswagen transparent factory right in the heart of the city.
Similar conclusions, perhaps in more modern words, are made today by visitors who explore the city with an attentive eye and are receptive to the uniquely harmonious blend of art, culture and natural beauty. Celebrated orchestras- like the Saxony Staatskapelle, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Kreuzchor boys’ choir – all testify to this, as do world-famed collections of paintings, porcelain and Germany’s oldest art academy.
A green city
With 63 percent of its area covered by woods and green spaces, Dresden can be considered one of the greenest cities in Europe. The heathland of the of the “Dresdner Heide” embraces the city in the north, while the Grosser Garten park spreads out extensively at its very heart. The blue-green ribbon of the Elbe river lined by broad meadows and gentle vineyards, winds its way through the city.
The residence of the Saxon electors and kings has brought forth important architectural gems since the 16th century. Yet the fame of Dresden’s architecture is founded on its Baroque buildings, like the Zwinger and George Bähr’s Frauenkirche church. The Classicist years represented a second important zenith in the city’s development with Schinkel’s guardhouse on the Theaterplatz square, along with the art gallery and opera house by Gottfried Semper, which were created in the style of Historicism. But innovative architecture also has a place in this city. Hans Erlwein created a series of pioneering municipal buildings, the district of Hellerau was the first “garden town” in Germany and the central train station was recently renovated using a design by Sir Norman Foster.
For more information in regard to sights, culture and events please see our Convenience page.