Visitors from all over the world and day-trippers from Berlin travel to the Zwinger Palace, the foremost of Dresden’s top attractions. Famous for its outstanding baroque architecture, Zwinger Palace was built in 1709 during the reign of Augustus the Strong. It is said to be inspired by Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles, France.
Give yourself time to walk about the grounds and absorb the historic value, opulence and beauty of the palace. The two main attractions here are the magnificently ornate Crown Gate which is decorated with Greek gods; and the Nymphaeum, one of the most beautiful baroque fountains, both in Dresden and across Germany.
Entry to the main courtyard of the Zwinger Palace is free. However, the palace houses three museums which charge admission fees.
- The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Gallery)
- Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection)
- Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (historic scientific instruments)
Many visitors to Dresden tend to miss the Furstenzug. Literally meaning “Procession of Princes”, the Furstenzug depicts a mounted procession of the Wettin Dynasty, Saxony’s ruling family. There are nearly 35 portraits of members from the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904.
This large exquisite mural is 102 meters long, making the Furstenzug the world’s largest porcelain work of art. More than 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles were used to make the work weatherproof.
The Furstenzug is found along the wall of Dresden Castle, the Stables Courtyard (Stallhof) to be precise.
The Frauenkirche of Dresden is regarded as one of the finest examples of Protestant church architecture. The church was destroyed during World War II bombing, and was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany.
The most outstanding element of the church’s facade is its dome. The Frauenkirche features one of the largest stone domes in Europe. It is complete made of sandstone and weighs more than 12,000 tonnes. While it creates the illusion of being circular, the dome is actually bell-shaped, which is why the Frauenkirche is also called “Stone Bell”.
There is a lantern-like structure constructed on top of the dome. Visitors can have sweeping views of Dresden from the viewing platform here.
Another one of Dresden’s hidden treasures, the Kunsthofpassage or “Courtyard of Elements” represents residential art at its creative best. Drain pipes playing music when it rains, or a facade seemingly in motion; these are some of the unique architectural designs you can see in this passage. All it takes is some grimy courtyards in Dresden and a couple of imaginative artists.
If you are looking for Kunsthofpassage, it is located opposite the crossroads of Gorlitzer Street and Seifhennersdorfer Street.
Now while I didn’t have time to actually go into the Grunes Gewolbe, the place is truly one of a kind. Dresden is home to the largest collection of treasures in Europe, including the jewels of King Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor of India. And they are all housed in the Grunes Gewolbe. (Now that’s some ancient bling bling going on there!)
Built by Augustus the Strong in 1723, the Grunes Gewolbe of Dresden is purported to be the oldest museum in the world, beating even London’s British Museum. However, this claim is being contested by the Vatican Museums.
If you fancy a romantic stroll with your partner, or biking along serene river banks, than head for the Elbe River flowing through Dresden. The terraced slopes with their small villages. Wild geese busy cleaning their feathers or head down in the waters. Everything here creates the postcard perfect illustration of the German countryside.
The Dresden Elbe Valley stretches for 18 kilometers from Übigau Palace in the north, to the Pillnitz Palace and the Elbe River Island in the south. Known for its idyllic beauty and pristine landscape, the Elbe Valley was one of Dresden’s World Heritage Sites. But sadly, since the construction of the Waldschlosschen Bridge across the Elbe river, the Elbe Valley has since then been de-listed.