Probably the most beautiful rebuilt city in Germany
Dresden is one of the most remarkable cities in Germany. It has stunning royal architecture from its history as the former capital of the German kingdom of Saxony (before unification, Germany was a patchwork of German kingdoms, city-states, etc.). If one wishes to discover ancient and inspiring German architecture, then Dresden is one of the places to start.
Germany also has the tallest church in the world – Ulm Minster. It has an incredible history and managed to survive the bombings of war – unlike the surrounding town. Germany is also home to some of the most impressive Roman ruins – especially Roman ruins north of the Alps – such as the famous Porta Nigra in the historic Roman city of Trier in western Germany.
Dresden – Germany’s historic city risen from the ashes
Dresden has a long history and was the royal residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony. For centuries, these elites have provided the city with cultural and artistic splendour. It seemed to end abruptly with the devastating bombings of World War II. The bombardments left the city completely destroyed and razed to the ground.
- Allied bombings: Completely destroyed the city
- Communist East Germany: The largely neglected city
But after the war, the Germans set out to rebuild the historical parts of their beloved city so that they would not lose their heritage. But much of this work would have to wait for reunification and an end to communist neglect.
Fortunately, many of the city’s other treasures also managed to survive the war and today one can see vast collections of art and antiquities like royal garments on display in its world-class museums.
- Location: State of Saxony, on the Elbe near the Czech Republic.
- Museums: Dresden has many great museums
- Reconstruction: Especially after German reunification
The reconstruction of Dresden is considered one of the greatest successes of post-war reconstruction. Today it is one of Germany’s most visited cities with millions flocking to see its lovingly reconstructed historic buildings. Dresden is one of the largest Baroque cities in Europe. The city is unaware of its destruction due to Allied bombing and Cold War-era neglect. It is now a city of gleaming palaces, blooming gardens and the beautifully reconstructed Frauenkirche.
Much of the reconstruction took place only relatively recently, with the most important building, the Frauenkirche church, only having been rebuilt between 1994 and 2005.
The Frauenkirche (meaning “Church of Our Lady”) is a Lutheran (originally Catholic) church. It is one of the most remarkable sites in Dresden and has one of the largest domes in Europe. The building was built in the 18th century but destroyed by the Allies during the war.
- Rebuilt: Between 1994 and 2005
- Original stones: It was rebuilt with around 4,000 original stones
For 50 years the ruins remained a war memorial until the reunified German government decided to rebuild it. Reconstruction began in 1994 and the church was rededicated in 2005. It was rebuilt with approximately 4,000 original stones.
Today the church is open to the public and admission is free. You can also buy tickets to go up to the dome.
- Admission: Free
- Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-12:00 & 13:00-18:00
Dresden Royal Palace and Museums
After the Frauenkirche, the most rewarding thing to see is the royal palace and museums of Dresden. It is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and one of the richest on the continent. It was the elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong, who decided in 1723 that his royal collections should be open to the public. He then set out to transform his private treasure chambers into a public museum.
Inside Dresden’s Royal Square, one will find the Dresden State Art Collection which is filled with opulent court clothing, Augustus the Strong’s personal garden tools, works of art priceless and other elements of Saxony’s royal past. The collections include masterpieces of gold, jewellery, ivory and silver from the 14th to 18th centuries.
- Preservation: Treasures were moved for safekeeping during the war
- Address: Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden
Like other buildings in the city, parts of the palace like the Green Vault were mostly destroyed during the war and had to be rebuilt. In addition to the many treasures of the Green Vault, there are other attractions.
- Turkish room: Founded in 1614, has one of the largest collections in the Ottoman Empire
- Dresden Armory: Displays weapons and armor
- Print cabinet: Shows Graphic Art, Drawings, Pastels By 15th Century European Artists
Colin’s Barn The “House of the Hobbit” that got a little carried away
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