Altstadt (Old Town), Dresden
Dresden was known as the Florence of the North or the Venice of the River Elbe even before the allied bombings at the end of World War II destroyed most of this once magnificent Baroque city. Thus, Dresden has managed to restore some of its former glory.
The old part of the city of Dresden's and its historical core is situated on the Elbe's left bank, at the tip of a charming river curve. The city is well-fortified, which means it was sheltered for decades and so was free to developed rich social life and an air of magnificence.
Even nowadays the stunning Renaissance's structures, baroque and nineteenth century style shape the Elbe facade and are the key feature in the face of the city of Dresden. This city is ancient and powerful and tourists that arrive at the city's old sectors often feel as though they have travelled through time. But the city is much more than an archeological masterpiece. It also holds many cultural assets and is known for its prestige, fabulous monuments and classical taste.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Dresden on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 51° 3' 12.92" N 13° 44' 5.43" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Altstadt.
Favorite thing: This picture shows a part of the Altstadt of Dresden. It´s near from the Altmarkt. On the right hand side is the Kulturpalast (terrible archtecture from GDR-Times). The two tower in the backround are the "Hausmannsturm" and the "Tower from the Schlosskirche".
Fondest memory: I walked around the lake looking for the perfect angle never meaning to go further but as I did I found myself heading towards the Zwinger itself and found it basking in warm hues. I found myself in the Zwinger, on the upper levels of the Zwinger snapping away in no time. From that vantage point I noticed the Frauenkirche starting to glow and reasoned it wasn’t too far either. I made my way over there and found it in a light I’d never seen before, warm and glorious. I snapped away and made my way back via the river to the place I was let off. As I got close I saw D’s mother searching frantically for me and soon she was reprimanding me not so much for taking so long but for not bringing my jacket. She didn’t realize that wearing a hat and many layers of thermals I was certainly much warmer than her! Back at the car she calmed down and surprisingly my wife was not upset. She knew me well and could tell by my smiling face I had gotten what I wanted. She slyly asked if I’d gotten some good photos. She knew I had but I still said yes, oh, and thank you. After seeing the photos that night, she said thank you too. I had finally captured her city, something to help keep it in her heart when apart.
Favorite thing: Here you can see a pic of the Stallhof in Altstadt of Dresden. It´s a must to make a tour through the old part of Dresden. The most Buildings which were destroyed during the 2nd worldwar are rebuild like the Stallhof. I love this old Architecture and I was suprised to found such a little sunclock in the wall. The stallhof is very beautiful at christmas time too because inside the Stallhof you will find the Historic Christmas Market.
Catching cities in their best light is a passion for me. Dresden is a beautiful place any time of day but it's particularly so when the sun is setting, when red hues of light make things even more stunning. It's fun also to find different vantage points to get such photos like this small lake behind the Zwinger.
Fondest memory: My latest trip had been going so well I actually forgot about wanting to get some good new photos of Dresden, especially the Frauenkirche, which I’d not had a chance to see much less capture in good light since its being completed. It was after all my wife’s only chance of the year to see her family and it was Christmas. We’d had fun at the Christmas markets, visited some breweries, and generally just enjoyed “being home.” But when the opportunity arose to head into down on a nice day we did just that though we had some errands to attend to as well. On our way to town to bring D’s mother to work we took advantage of a gorgeous morning and some incredible frost on the trees and snapped some photos on small deserted roads parallel to the highway to Dresden. Once there we had little time before having to pick up Mom again and the weather wasn’t as nice as up in the higher elevations of our ride in. But once we picked her up and headed for lunch things began to clear and on our way home my wife surprised me by asking if I wanted to stop to take some photos. I happily said yes and was let off by a small lake behind the Zwinger which seemed quite atmospheric in the quickly setting winter sun. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Favorite thing: Explore the old town with the famous sights: Zwinger, Semper Opera, cathedral, castle, Frauenkirche (under reconstruction). These museums are a must: picture gallery “old masters” and “new masters”, Grünes Gewölbe (jewellery collection). Try to get tickets for the opera. Do a steam boat trip. Take the funicular up to the café Luisenhof and enjoy the view of the city.
Every one of us saw films about knights and their traditions. One of typical knights’ time traditional was tournament. Dresden can proud with exclusive court of tournaments what saved from ancient times. This place is in the palace territory in the old part of Dresden.
Fondest memory: The gallery in the photo is the part of the court and probably there stood knights’ funs.
At some time during your day in Dresden, you will most probably need to find a Toilet. Attractions are good for the use of a FREE TOILET, but if your caught in-between, then you may be in trouble.
I don't think to look downwards for Toilets, but this is what you will have to do in the Altmarkt [old town square] Look for the concrete wall, and a very small blue WC sign, and head downstairs!
You may have to pay too!
Get some nice impressions of Dresden and visit our page GermanPlaces
See a slideshow with lots of pictures we have taken in the 'Altstadt' like Zwinger, Semper Opera, Stallhof and more and read our tips what's to do there.
Have fun ;-)
Walk through the 'Altstadt' (Old town). Along the riverbanks of the Elbe-river, there are many monumental buildings like the 'Statliche Akademia', Palaces from former Sachsian kings, Dom-church, Opera and the Zwinger-palacecomplex. Underground are the mysterious 'Grüne Gewölbe' (Green Catacombs). The innercity is - despite the enormous fires after the WW II-bombing - magnificently restored. NOt so much during Sovjet times, but in an amazing tempo after the Iron Curtain fell.
Fondest memory: Kathrin, my 'East German' girlfriend that I met in Hungary. Now she lives somewhat closer, near Frankfurt am Main in the Taunus.
Dresden's baroque old town has been wiped out in World War II. The DDR regime planned to build a new socialist city, hence had no interest in conservation or rebuilding except for a few monuments like the Zwinger. With the rebuilding of Frauenkirche the big project started: rebuilding the baroque old town, especially the quarters around Neumarkt. After the church, the townhouses are now rebuilt block by block, to be turned into expensive hotels, apartments and offices. There are still huge gaps, whole blocks are empty. Works will take several years to be completed.
I am not exactly sure what to think about all this. On the one hand, the look of the centre was a shame, and something had to be done. On the other hand, these buildings cannot be called baroque. The art historian's eye recognizes them immediately as no exact reconstructions but postmodern fantasies. The outline and general structure of the buildings are rebuilt but shapes are simplified, proportions of roofs and windows often don't match, and the details and ornaments are missing. Behind the facades there are modern concrete buildings. It all looks very new and fake (ok it looked new in 1730, too).
Have a closer look and make up your own mind...
...see Dresdens historic center. it has one advantage: all of the well known and famous buildings or places are in walking distance. So it depends on the amount of time and condition that you bring along whether we walk the city within one, one and a half or two hours (recommended).
Although we suggest the Taschenbergpalais as a starting point you may choose any other starting point (e.g. your hotel).
Fondest memory: ALL the places of the historic Old Town are a must, with Semper Opera and zwinger and the river Elbe...
More details? http://www.visit-dresden.com
a city tour by tram that starts from Post Square at 10.30, 12.00, 1.30 p.m. and 3.00 p.m. every day or bu bus and the Elbe ferry.
Fondest memory: Visiting Zwinger and seeing the Old Masters in Semper Gallery.
Fondest memory: walking downtown in Altmarkt and in Prague Street (on the picture) and admiring the beautiful fountains and architecture.