The city can be explored and discovered in a comfortable and easy bicycle ride or a pleasant stroll.
By Mary Elizabeth Collins
The city of Dresden seen from the Elbe River.
When Tsar Peter the Great decided to build St. Petersburg, he wanted it to be the image and likeness of the beautiful city of Dresden.
Indeed, it would be difficult not to be captivated by the stunning beauty of its canals and impeccable urban distribution, which makes it easy to explore and discover Dresden in a pleasant bicycle ride.
Dresden is situated in the Elbe River Valley, which envelopes the city with the bucolic meadows on its banks. Dresden is a culturally sophisticated metropolis, lush and green thanks to its numerous forests, gardens and parks.
The city boasts a proud baroque past that is evident in the many palaces and buildings that dot its streets and squares. This European jewel emerged from the ashes after being virtually destroyed by Allied bombing raids during the final days of World War II.
Hofkirche: Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
A tour of Dresden should start in its historic center at the Zwinger, a large building in the heart of the city. The Zwinger was built in the late Baroque style in the early 18th century and has functioned as an orangery, exhibition gallery, and festival arena of the Dresden Court.
Today, the Zwinger is a museum complex that contains the Old Masters Picture Gallery, where visitors can admire famous works such as the "Sistine Madonna" by Raphael, and the Dresden Porcelain Collection considered one of the most important in the world.
Nearby, we find the Royal Palace, destroyed in 1945 and rebuilt in 1986 as The Palace of Arts and Sciences. It houses the Treasure Chamber with an impressive collection of stunning jewels on display.
Adjacent to the Royal Palace is the Protestant Church of Our Lady, built between 1726 and 1743. The art and essence of the 19th and 20th centuries are evident in the Albertinum Museum.
At the Semper Opera, institutions such as the State Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic, and the Dresdener Kreuzchor Choir offer all kinds of musical events. The historical relevance of Dresden dates back hundreds of years. Famous composers, such as Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner debuted several of their works in this wonderful German city.
Church of the Holy Cross
Don’t forget to visit the New Synagogue, rebuilt in 2001 in the same place where the Semper Synagogue stood before being destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.
In the area known as New Town, the traveler should engage in a pleasant stroll through the Baroque quarter, especially Königstrasse Street. Right next door at Hauptstraße, you will run into the Craftsmen’s Passageways, where—in the old days—artisans set up their businesses. Take a moment to enjoy some of the area’s charming cafes, or to delight on the excellent cuisine of its restaurants.
The New City Market measures the pulse of the metropolis and, of course, you can’t miss the Japanese palace decorated in the Asian style that was so fashionable in the 17th century.
Right: City Streets during Summer.
Right above: Dresden seen from one of its many parks on the Elbe River banks.
Right below: Albertinum, Museum of Modern Art.
Any visit to Dresden should end with a captivating visit to the Elba Palaces—right by the river—where the locals enjoy lunch al fresco when the weather is balmy. The city is surrounded by parks, including the Albrechtsberg Palace, the Lingnerschloss Palace, and the Eckberg Palace, perhaps the most charming for its English Gothic style that takes us to the Romantic period in a city that seduces everyone that visits. ■
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