THE DOME OF THE FRAUENKIRCHE!
When you arrive in the city of Dresden, you will be impressed by its marvellous skyline, dotted with towers and domes. It is not for nothing that the city is known as Florence on the Elbe.
Of all the buildings, the Frauenkirche or Frauenkirche dome undoubtedly stands out because of the history of splendour, decadence and rebirth that surrounds it. Without a doubt, it is the most iconic point of this city.
Located on the beautiful Neumarkt square and surrounded by colourful buildings and restaurant terraces, this baroque Lutheran church stands out in the city skyline with its 91.23m height and unique baroque beauty.
It was built in the 18th century by the architect George Bahr (1726-1743) and, on its completion, became the highest dome north of the Alps. An outstanding work of genius for its time.
The church was almost completely destroyed during the Allied bombing raids, which took place during the carnival days of 13-15 February 1945. By this time, the city had tripled its population of civilians seeking refuge in a city that was NOT strategic and who were fleeing the horrors and brutality of the eastern advance of Soviet troops.
The building was abandoned in ruins and used as a symbol and memorial to the horrors of war during the 40 years of the German Democratic Republic´s rule. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, and given the pain that the ruins of the Frauenkirche and the memory of their relatives who died in the bombing, it was decided to rebuild the symbol of the city between 1994 and 2005, when it was reopened to the public after the reconstruction was completed.
This monument is well worth a visit given the symbolism described above and will not disappoint the traveller who gets to know it and climbs up to its imposing dome to enjoy the best views of the city, from the river to the wonderful Saxon landscapes, without forgetting the beautiful historic centre of the city. The ascent to the tower is by lift to the dome, and the final part is on foot. There are very few stairs.
The price is 8 euros.
Timetable for climbing the tower: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 12.30pm. The interior of the Frauenkirche is free of charge and well worth a visit.
Address: Neumarktplatz, 01067 Dresden, Germany.
BRATWURST, OF COURSE!
If we imagine a Spaniard eating his paella, an Argentinean for his barbecue, a Peruvian for his ceviche and a Mexican for his tacos. Our image of a German would be having a sausage and drinking a beer.
We can find sausages or some of their variants in any type of gastronomy in the world. But without a doubt, German sausages are the ones that are most famous and recognised around the world, so we must not miss the opportunity to taste them here.
The term wurst means sausage in German, and there are many varieties, but the most popular in Dresden is the classic and delicious bratwurst.
The popular bratwurst is basically minced beef and pork seasoned with spices. They are usually grilled or barbecued and are accompanied by mustard. Mmmmm delicious!!!
You will notice that we have never talked about bread, and be aware that, in Germany, they make fantastic bread, with seeds, cereals and hundreds of varieties. The Germans traditionally eat their wurst or sausages on a plate and not between buns, as we are used to in the western hot dog culture.
This is a very traditional dish in its gastronomy, and it is rare to find a restaurant that does not have it on its menu. As we have already mentioned, it is usually served on a plate with a side dish which is usually based on the tuber, in this case, kartofel or, in other words, potato in its many varieties. The most popular is fried, although it can also be accompanied by kartofelsalad, i.e. potato salad or boiled potato. It is less common but also very possible to have wurst with sauerkraut, i.e. fermented cabbage.
In a city like Dresden, there are many street stalls where for 3 euros, you can enjoy a delicious bratwurst with hot dog bread. We recommend the one on Mzgasse next to the stairs of the Bruhl Terrace, which has tables on the street and is a perfect place to watch the movement of the city.
Address: Müzgasse 10, 01067 Dresden, Germany.
BACK TO THE PAST, THE ELBE FLEA MARKET
In these times in which it sometimes seems that any time in the past was better, in which retro, old or vintage is in fashion, a flea market can be paradise, and in Dresden, we would return to a country that no longer exists, the German Democratic Republic. Are you up for it?
Germans are a very recycling-conscious society. They rarely throw anything away; they first leave it on the doorstep in case a neighbour might find it useful. They take care of an appliance, and if it breaks down, they don´t think about buying another one. They repair it! Second-hand shops and markets abound, and they don´t hesitate to find that record, book or piece of clothing for a few euros to give it a second chance, even if it used to belong to another soul.
Dresden´s flea market is one of those places little known to tourists, but it is a very fa-mous and popular place among locals. There is no better way to experience the local culture, customs and way of life than at a flea market, and if it´s a throwback to the past, the experience is vital.
From GDR flags and old political propaganda to old record phones, analogue cameras, charcoal irons, leather suitcases and restored furniture, you´ll find everything here. Prices are not fixed, so bargaining is recommended. The place is a real mess, but if you are interested in antique objects, it is definitely a must on your trip to Dresden.
It is located in the area known as "Neue Hallstadt", north of the river Elbe. Although this market is not located in the monumental area of the city, the walk from the centre takes no more than twenty minutes and, once inside, curiosity will lead you to search, rummage and surely find that treasure you were looking for and which, moreover, is already part of the history of Germany.
If you don´t want to or can´t make the beautiful walk along the banks of the Elbe to this market, you can always take a taxi for less than 5 euros to the following address, Stetzcher Strasse 2.
SEARCH! BARGAIN! AND IF YOU FIND YOUR TREASURE, TAKE IT TO HIM!
THE BRÜHL TERRACE FEEL LIKE STENDHAL
Stendhal used to say that so much beauty is difficult to assimilate; he was referring to his trip through Italy, and although he could have said it here, he would not be wrong at all.
Everyone wants to take that souvenir, that instant, that photograph of the monument or group of monuments in which to get the most likes on our social network, to be the envy of our friends, and to leave a record of our visit to a certain place. In Dresden, there are many varied places where you can take the perfect photo, especially considering that it is one of the most beautiful and photogenic cities in northern Europe.
Europamundo recommends the monumental view of the historic centre from this won-derful Brühl terrace.
From the top of this terrace and on the stairs on the western side overlooking the palace square, you get a snapshot that captures the very essence of Dresden´s monumental en-semble. An unmissable photo that captures the monumentality and historical splendour of the city. On our right side, we see the historic Augustus Bridge over the Elbe, in front of us the imposing view of the baroque hofkirche with its 86m high tower; on the left side of the photo, the Dresden royal palace with its slender tower, and in the background the view of the majestic Semperoper and the elegant beauty of the Zwinger. You can´t get more beauty and monumentality together in a single click. The most outstanding and beautiful buildings of the city together trying to stand out from each other.
This terrace, which stretches along the banks of the Elbe and adjoins the old town, is nowadays a meeting place for locals and tourists alike, although it was originally a pri-vate gift from the Elector of Saxony to Count Heinrich von Brühl, who had already had a palace here since 1737. The reason for this gift? In gratitude for the innovative intro-duction of an excise tax, a forerunner of today´s VAT. Thank you very much, Mr Brühl!
The Brühl Terrace is not only a breathtaking view of the city´s monuments; it is a prom-enade that itself is home to many monuments, including the Hofgärtnerhaus ("royal gardener´s house"), the dolphin fountain, the monument to Gottfried Semper (architect of the city opera), the Saxon Ständehaus (meeting house), the barenzwinger or ungfernbastei which is the bastion of the old fortification of Dresden.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAIRY IN THE WORLD
There is no doubt that Dresden is a city full of spectacular monuments and it is not only the Frauenkirche, the Semperoper or its magnificent museums that make it stand out. There is a place outside the historic centre with an incredible decoration, which is not one of the most visited monuments but stands out in the list of the most picturesque places in the city: a Dairy!
This dairy is considered to be the most beautiful in the world, owned by the Pfund brothers. A beautiful business in which walls, ceilings and floors are completely covered with exuberant decoration of colourful tiles, it was listed in the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of Records.
The shop was founded in 1892 on the initiative of the merchant Paul Gustav Pfund, who decided to turn the shop into a museum lavishly decorated in neo-renaissance style, with images of angels, animals and flowers making it a very special place.
Although products such as milk and cheese can be bought there, just as in the old days, today it is the beauty of the place that attracts both locals and tourists alike who want to take a photo of this original place.
The dairy miraculously survived the February 1945 bombing that devastated the city of Dresden. And it also made it through the period of East German socialism when, in 1972, the business was nationalised and there were plans to replace the precious wall ornaments with plastic panels, but fortunately for us, they never materialised.
With the reunification of Germany, the business was handed back to a great-grandson of the founder, who then refurbished the dairy, and the premises were gradually restored to their former glory. Fortunately, most of the tiles could be restored and only a small part of the 5% had to be replaced.
The shop reopened to the public in 1995. Today, 120 types of cheese and milk are of-fered there. In addition, customers can buy souvenirs such as replicas of the tiles. On the upper floor of the shop there is a restaurant where you can enjoy the products. You can get there by bus 11, and on the way...
Shall we have a glass of fresh milk?
Address: Bautznerstrasse. 79, 01099 Dresden, Germany.
CYCLING ALONG THE BANKS OF THE ELBE RIVER
The play by the legendary Fernando Fernán Gómez said that bicycles are for the sum-mer, in this case and given the beauty of the place, we recommend them for the whole year. May the winter cold not deprive us of this experience.
For this beautiful adventure, the first thing you will need, logically, is a bicycle and a lot of desire to enjoy yourself. There are many bike rentals in the city, but in this case we will recommend one in particular, not because it is the best or the cheapest (they are all more or less similar in quality and price) but because it is the most central, inside the Hilton Hotel on Topferstrasse 3. We will be able to enjoy a bicycle all day and enjoy the freedom of pedalling and feeling the wind in our face for only 11 euros.
Our suggested walk is a real treat for the senses as you can, if you wish, walk along the 13 km of the Elbe valley from the historic centre to Pillnitz Castle.
The banks of the river running through the valley are impeccably equipped with cycle paths, allowing you to cycle without the hassle of motor vehicles. The Elbe Valley is a beautiful landscape dotted with greenery, parks, terraces, biergartens and palaces. It was designed in the 18th and 19th century and stretches from Übigau Palace to Pillnitz Pal-ace.
It should be noted that one of the few cases in history of losing the privilege of Unesco World Heritage Site was here, due to the construction of a bridge that broke with the harmony of the surroundings. The Waldschloschen Bridge, as it is called, was inaugu-rated in 2009, when the short-lived honour of World Heritage Site was withdrawn. It lasted only three years from 2006 to 2009. It was brief but intense.
We will cross the Albert Bridge, the aforementioned waldschloschen, and we will be thrilled by the sight of the dense and lush hills, full of vineyards. Palaces and castles will appear on the heights, such as Eckberg Castle, which is now a hotel, Ligner Castle, which has a fantastic restaurant and terrace, with incredible views over the river and the entire historic city, and Albrechtsberg Palace, built for Prince Albert of Prussia, where concerts and exhibitions are now held.
While we see mansions, palaces, castles and vineyards, we will watch life go by through the wonderful green lung of the Elbe Valley.
PEDAL! FEEL! AND LIVE DRESDEN! YOU WON´T FORGET IT!
PARADE OF THE ELECTING PRINCES AND A MODEST GUEST
If there is one monument that will leave you open-mouthed, it will surely be this impos-ing mural that you will find on your way between Theaterplatz and the Frauenkirche. Given its size, it´s impossible to miss it on Augustusstrasse.
This mural is a beautiful, grandiloquent work of art, on a gigantic scale and as if it were out of time. It is not for nothing that it is the largest porcelain mosaic in the world, as it is of incredible dimensions, 102 metres long and more than 9 metres high, giving a sur-face area of almost 1,000 square metres, which has been covered with more than 24,000 porcelain tiles from Meissen.
However, the mural of the Parade of the Princes is not a baroque work, but rather a much later one, which is why we say that it is out of time. Its beginnings date back to 1589, when this wall was painted for the first time. However, between 1872 and 1876 the painting was completely altered by the artist W. Walther, who had already painted the same parade scene. However, this did not withstand the damage of time, so it was finally decided to install these striking yellow and black tiles between 1904 and 1907.
The mural can be found on the north façade of the former Royal Palace in Dresden. Specifically, it is in the area where the former stables were located. And precisely be-cause it is in the former stables, the mural depicts the Saxon monarchs parading on horseback, accompanied by figures from their court. In total we can enjoy 93 figures, on a larger scale than the real one, and as a curiosity we will tell you that among all these monarchs is also included the illustrator of the set, Wilhem Walther, who did not want to miss the opportunity to pass on to posterity. In other words, in this grandiose parade we can distinguish all the members of the royalty of the House of Wettin, whose pres-ence in Dresden dates back to the 12th century and lasted until 1906, plus the "modest" author.
The charm of the work is enormous, especially for its dimensions and monumentality, it will leave you almost hypnotised. As a curiosity, it was a real miracle that it withstood the aerial bombardments that destroyed a large part of the city in 1945, shortly before the end of the Second World War. In fact, of the thousands of tiles that make up the work, only about 200 had to be replaced when it was restored. So let´s enjoy it because it is one of the few remaining original works in the city.
Address: Augusstrasse 1, 01067 Dresden. Germany.
FOR THE DRESDEN BAROQUE!
The fact that a city is known as the Florence on the Elbe makes it clear that this is no ordinary city. We will take you on a tour of the indispensable Dresden.
We will take a baroque tour, as this is the predominant style in the city due to the fact that its greatest times of splendour were the 18th and 19th centuries. Especially during the reign of Augustus the Strong.
The first stop is the Theaterplatz, with its equestrian sculpture of King John of Saxony, where the eye will not be able to take in all the buildings and beauty. But almost cer-tainly the first to dazzle you will be the Semperoper, considered one of the jewels of neo-baroque theatre architecture, named after its architect, Gottfried Semper, where some of the most outstanding operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss were premiered.
At the side of the square we find the Zwinger, to which we go to access its inner court-yard and beautiful gardens. This baroque building, which was built in the time of Au-gustus the Strong, has a strong Versailles influence and houses a wonderful museum with works by Raphael, Rubens, Van Eyck, Tintoreto, Titian, Dürer and so many other great artists.
We leave the Zwinger Gardens along Sophienstrasse and head towards the Hofkirche, the Catholic cathedral of a city where evangelical worship predominates. This enormous baroque church, in which the tower reaches 86m and the central nave 52m, gives us an idea of its dimensions. It was built in 1755 by order of Frederick Augustus II. We will go round the side of the apse in chiaveriestrasse to reach the palace square, a frequent haunt of musicians and street performers. From here the stairs lead up to the popular Brühl terrace and the entrance to the royal palace.
We continue along Augustusstrasse where on our right we will see the Dresden royal palace. A building of various styles ranging from Romanesque to Baroque, it was the residence of the prince electors and kings of Saxony from 1547 to 1918. On our way we will enjoy a beautiful and grandiloquent mural of the prince electors of Saxony, a review of the history of the city in 102 m of mural.
Via the Töpferstasse you will reach the Frauenkirche, the city´s true icon. This Lutheran church is a symbol not only of the splendour of the past but also of the horror of the war. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2005.
We hope you enjoyed the tour, that you got to know the basics to be able to say, I was in Dresden!
A COFFEE AND A PIECE OF CAKE AT THEATREPLATZ
Who doesn´t fancy a delicious coffee and a nice piece of cake? This tradition, so deli-cious and widespread in Northern Europe, is a must try, as you know, where you go, do as you please.
In this case Europamundo suggests one of the most elegant and emblematic cafés in the city, the Schinkelwache café, which for many reasons we consider the ideal place to take a break... and watch life go by.
Located on the monumental and famous Theaterplatz, it is an ideal place if you decide to sit on its terrace, you will have a much more than pleasant view of this immense and beautiful square, an obligatory stop for hundreds of groups of tourists who come to the city. It is also a bustling spot, and if there is any exceptional activity in the city, it will take place here, whether it be markets, fairs, concerts, or popular activity.
It is not uncommon to find a string and wind quartet playing beautiful and popular mel-odies of classical music, easily recognisable even to the most hard of hearing, on this square just a few metres from the Schinkelwache café. Without detracting from the mu-sical tradition of Vienna or Salzburg, one of the most renowned musical meccas in cen-tral Europe is Dresden, which has one of the most important cultural traditions in Ger-many. It was here that Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Wagner and Robert Schumann, among others, spent long periods of time.
In a café as elegant as the Schinkelwache, we recommend you try one of the many cakes, pastries and struedel that will delight the sweet-toothed. The apfel struedel, black forest, harlekintorte or strawberry tart are not to be missed.
To make such a calorie-packed pleasure more digestible, we recommend you order a good coffee. Luckily, unlike in other places in Northern Europe, where coffee means black water, it´s delicious here. Try their creamy cappuccino.
The Schinkelwache café is elegantly decorated, with a dim, cosy light where you can enjoy the peace, quiet and tranquillity that prevails in these parts of Europe. Keep in mind that here things work slowly but surely. And remember, where you go, do as you please.
Address: Teatherplatz 2, 01067 Dresden. Germany.
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