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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Local Tourist Office + Useful Links

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Aug 5, 2010

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    Favorite thing: The local Dresden Tourist-Information office is located at a corner of the Kulturpalast.
    Address:
    Schloßstraße 2
    01067 Dresden
    Tel: +49-351-50160160

    Business hours:
    -Jan- Mar:
    Mo-Fr: 10AM - 6PM
    Sa: 10AM - 4PM
    Su: 10AM - 2PM

    -Apr-Dec:
    Mo-Fr: 10AM - 7PM
    Sa: 10Am - 6PM
    Su: 10Am - 3PM

    USEFUL LINKS:
    Dresden City Page
    Giant Dresden pictures

    Dresden Tourist Information Office - Interior Dresden Tourist Information Office
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    Kulturpalast

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jun 30, 2010

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    Favorite thing: The Kulturpalast was build in the middle of the destroyed inner city of Dresden (bombardment of February 13, 1945) between the Altmarkt and the Neumarkt squares.

    Is was build under the Russian occupation after World War II in line with other Kulturpalast buildings in major East Block cities.

    It was designed by architect Wolfgang Hänsch in a Bauhaus style, quite different from the restored adjacent historical buildings. The opening took place in 1969.

    The building has a Main Hall, Conference Floor and Panorama, Conference Area Forum, Studio Theatre, Seminar Rooms and Foyers.

    At the South West corner the Dresden theater ticket office and the Tourist Office are located.

    On the outer West wall there is a big display called "Der Weg der roten".

    Kulturpalast - Dresden Der Weg der roten Kulturpalast - Dresden
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    The Elbe Valley – no more a World Heritage Area

    by Kakapo2 Updated Jun 26, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: -

    Update 27 June 2009 after the loss of the World Heritage listing

    Dresden is located in the Elbe valley. A 40 km long and 20 km wide stretch of this valley – between Pirna and Meißen - is called Dresdner Elbtal (Dresden’s Elbe Valley). This area got World Hertitage status by UNESCO in 2003. About 800 sites carry this title worldwide and about 30 in Germany. (The number is constantly changing, so do not challenge me on it…)

    But in June 2009 the Dresden Elbe Valley was deleted from the list of cultural landscapes due to the building of a four-lane bridge (Waldschlösschen Bridge) in the heart of the cultural landscape which meant that the property failed to keep its “outstanding universal value as inscribed”, as the UNESCO committee pointed out.

    Dresden is only the second property ever to have been removed from the World Heritage List. Oman´s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was delisted in 2007.

    The now lost World Heritage status honoured the unique ensemble of the city’s splendid architecture, its rich culture and the mostly natural landscape along the river. This includes the Baroque buildings, the art collections, the Elbe cruises, the vineyards of the Elbe valley, the Elbschlösser (castles near the city centre), Schloss Pillnitz, historic villas, restored villages and historic industrial sites.

    Surely the committee recognised the huge efforts made after the total destruction of the city in the last weeks of World War II.

    The World Heritage Area covered 19.3 square kilometres, and 18 kilometres of the Elbe Valley from Söbringen to Übigau, and is 500 metres to 3 kilometres wide.

    The Elbe Valley. Elbschl��sser in the background.
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    Dresdner Stollen

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 15, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Dresden's most famous pastry is Stollen. The size and shape of a small bread and covered in powdered sugar, it is cut in slices and served with coffee or tea. The dough is heavy and contains raisins, candied lemon peel, and a LOT of butter. Some varieties come with, for example, marzipan fillings.

    Stollen is a typical Advent and Christmas food. It is on sale in the shops and bakeries from September. The trick is, however, to leave it in a tin and let it rest till at least late November. Fresh Stollen tastes dry. It has to 'soak' well. Patience!
    Besides, Stollen simply belongs to the Christmas season, starting with the first Advent Sunday. Having it earlier is against all tradition.

    Dresdner Stollen Dresdner Stollen at a Christmas market
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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Elbschlösser (Elbe Castles) - Homes of the Rich

    by Kakapo2 Updated Oct 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: -

    On this photo you can spot several castles in the background. They are the Elbschlösser (Elbe Castles) which can all be reached from Bautzener Straße (B 6). They are only 4.5 kilometres from the very city centre, and approximately 2.5 to 3 kilometres from Pfunds Molkerei which is also in Bautzener Straße. You can get there by tram. Schloss Pillnitz is only another 5 kilometres away.

    The name Elbschlösser does not just mean any castles on the Elbe but exactly those located on the Neustadt bank of the river, not far from the very city centre, in the sururb of Radeberger Vorstadt.

    The complex comprises three castles built in a style mixture of the so-called Historism:

    Schloss Albrechtsberg
    Lingnerschloss (formerly: Villa Stockhausen)
    Schloss Eckberg (formerly: Villa Souchay)

    All three castles are surrounded by big parks. And north of the road starts Dresdner Heide which is the city's biggest recreation area.

    Schloss Albrechtsberg

    This castle was designed by the official Prussian architect Adolf Lohse and built from 1850 to 1854. (Lohse BTW was a student of Karl Friedrich Schinkel.) It looks like an Italian Renaissance villa, and in fact was designed in the style of Roman villas of the 16th century. They call this Belvedere Villa.

    The castle is made of limestone and has 100 rooms. The terrace reaches down to the river and reminds of Villa d’Este in Tivoli.

    It is named after Prince Albrecht von Preußen (1809-1872/Albrecht of Prussia). He needed a new home outside Prussia when he married his second wife Rosalie of Hohenau who was only a countess, and this was obviously not acceptable in the Prussian society. After the couple’s death their younger son Friedrich lived in the castle until his death in 1914, then his brother Wilhelm moved in. Obviously he was a gambler and had huge debts, so he sold the castle to the city of Dresden in 1925.

    The castle is part of the city’s concert and congress corporation, and used for multiple purposes. It is not only a site for wedding parties; the registry office would also marry you there officially.

    Whereas the park has public access guided tours of the castle (50 min) are only sprinkled over the year – and if, it is on selected Sundays and public holidays. In October 2008, for example, there were three tours on one Sunday only.
    They do offer tours for groups out of this roster – but not on Saturdays.
    Admission 4.50 Euro/groups 90 Euro. So do not hang your hopes too high.

    Contact:

    Phone (0351) 811 580 and 811 58-21
    Internet: http://www.schloss-albrechtsberg.de/
    (For tours click on „Führungen“ in the German version – the English version was only updated until May when I checked out October…)

    Lingnerschloss

    Prince Albrecht resided in this castle until Schloss Albrechtsberg was completed. It was designed by Adolf Lohse as well, and built from 1850 to 1852. The owner was Baron von Stockhausen (Duke of Stockhausen) who then worked for Prince Albrecht, thus the original name Villa Stockhausen. The style is a mixture of neo-classicism and neo-renaissance. It has a portico on the side of the Elbe, and like Albrechtsberg, corner towers at the entrance.

    In 1891 the sewing machine maker Bruno Naumann bought the villa, and in 1906 Karl August Lingner bought it – thus the name Lingnerschloss. Mister Lingner had arrived in Dresden in 1885 and became rich and famous by producing the mouth wash named Odol which you can still buy today. I think it still is Germany’s best-known mouthwash. Some drops into a glass of water, and your breath is fresh enough to chase away friends and enemies ;-)

    The castle has been undergoing restoration and has public access. On the website (which is mostly about funding the projects and donations) you can find out about concerts taking place in the castle, mostly chamber music at the moment.

    Website: http://www.lingnerschloss.de/

    Schloss Eckberg

    The merchant (wholesaler) Johan Daniel Souchay was the original owner of this castle east of Lingnerschloss/Villa Stockhausen, built from 1859 to 1861. So the first name was Villa Souchay. Later is was named Schloss Eckberg, just for its location at the corner of a hill (Ecke = corner, Berg = mountain).

    The architect was Christian Friedrich Arnold, a student of famous Gottfried Semper. He obviously was Dresden’s only neo-gothic expert, and accordingly he designed the castle in the English Tudor style of the 16th century. You easily recognise the two rounded towers.

    During GDR times the castle was used as a kind of youth hostel (Jugendtouristikhotel). From 1987 the interior was reconstructed true to the original, 1997 the conversion into a hotel started. Today the castle and the so-called Kavaliershaus some steps further down the hill are home to a luxury hotel.

    To give you an idea about the rates (including breakfast):
    Castle (17 rooms): suite € 295, double room € 235, single room € 175
    Kavaliershaus (65 rooms/2 suites): € 190/143/103
    (About 20 Euro cheaper at selected dates – please check the website; they write they might change the rates on weekends and require a minimum stay – which certainly means that the rates might go up…)

    The dining rooms look fantastic, and al fresco with view of Dresden, that is something special…

    Contact:
    Address: Bautzner Strasse 134, 01099 Dresden
    Phone (0351) 80990
    Internet: http://www.schloss-eckberg.de
    Email: info@schloss-eckberg.de

    No castles for kings...
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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Dresden and August(us) the Strong

    by Kakapo2 Written Sep 21, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Wherever you go in Dresden, you are permanently reminded of August (or: Augustus) the Strong. He was Dresden’s most famous sovereign, and surely the most extravagant, loved pompuous parties that could last several weeks. He lived from 1670 to 1733 (died in Warsaw), was Elector Friedrich August I of Saxony, King August II of Poland and Duke of Lithuania.

    His byname refers to his physical strength. It is said that he could break gold and silvercoins, and horseshoes, and squash metal cups (trophies, not drinking cups). Well, I think the number of 267 children he he is said to have fathered also counts to that category. He had many mistresses. The most famous one was Countess Constantia von Cosel whose name is connected to Taschenbergpalais.

    During his reign some of Dresden’s most brilliant buildings were erected, for example the Zwinger, Frauenkirche, and Schloss Pillnitz. He collected art and jewellery, a lot of which was made by the goldsmith Johann Melchior Dinglinger (whose name you might have read in context of Dinglingers Brunnen, at Neues Gewandhaus).

    August the Strong was born als Friedrich August I. in 1670. As he wasn’t the crown prince he had the freedom to travel. He got a liking for pomp at the court of famous French king Louis XIV, and in Italy he developed a sense of artistry and encountered Baroque architecture in its prime.

    The shocking death of his elder brother Johann Georg IV in 1694 forced him onto the Electoral-Saxonian throne. (Johann had made the fatal mistake of kissing his mistress who had died from smallpox on her deathbed and infected himself.) When Polish King John Sobieskis died August aimed for the Polish throne. This was possible at the time because in Poland the independent nobility chose a king; the title did not automatically go from father to son. For that purpose August had to convert to Catholicism (see more about this story in my tip about the Cathedral). This happened in 1697. He had some supporters but what helped him most were the huge bribes he paid to many people. For this purpose he sold a lot of properties and a part of the electoral treasure.

    The deal became tricky when one night in July 1697 supporters proclaimed Friedrich August I and the French Prince François de Conti King of Poland at the same time. Friedrich August invaded Poland , well prepared with a crown in his luggage. He was crowned King of Poland – as August II – in Krakow on 15 September 1697. Prince Conti arrived in Poland with his fleet at the end of the month but fled after a short battle.

    To expand his power in Poland August started the Nordic War in 1700. It lasted 21 years and August probably set a world record in not winning a single battle and losing his King’s crown in 1704 to Stanislaus Leszczynski who had been appointed by Sweden’s King Carl.

    Subsequently Carl invaded Electoral-Saxony with 23,000 troops. It is said that one evening Carl appeared in the Castle in Dresden and mentioned August’s legendary strength. Obviously August then took an iron bar and wound it around Carl’s arms and upper body, so he could not move anymore. But August let him go, and accompanied him out of the city, only to give his troops a sign to attack.

    With the help of Russia August regained the Polish crown in 1709. In the same year he ordered to build the Zwinger. It was completed in 1719 and inaugurated on the occasion of his son Friedrich August II’s wedding with Maria Josepha, daughter of Joseph I, the Emperor of Germany (exactly: Holy Roman Empire of German Nation), and King of Bohemia and Hungary. This was also a strategic wedding as August the Strong dreamed of getting on the Emperor’s throne himself. A plan that failed.

    August the Strong was not a very healthy person. He suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, and his lipometabolism did not work properly. When he died on 1 February 1733 he weighed 110 kg (measuring 1.76 m). He was enterred nearly a year later, on 25 January 1734, in the cathedral of Krakow’s castle. His internal organs were buried in an urn in a church in Warsaw. His heart was transported to Dresden in a silver capsule. There it was preserved in a chapel until the Stiftergruft (crypt) of the Royal Cathedral was completed in 1755.

    August the Strong’s statue stands in Neustadt, just on the other side of Elbe river, when you come from the castle and cross the river on Augustusbrücke. It is called “Goldener Reiter” and shows the Elector on a horse, riding to the east, towards his kingdom of Poland. (Can you believe, I did not photograph it as we got into a little rainstorm and preferred to sit it out in an ice-cream parlour, and after that I was more interested in checking out the fashion shops of Hauptstraße… ;-)

    August loved pomp and and splendid architecture.
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    Where to get Information

    by Kakapo2 Updated Sep 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: -

    I think Dresden has quite a good internet website with lots of information about their attractions.

    Contact details:

    Dresden-Werbung und Tourismus GmbH
    Phone (0351) 491 921 00
    Email: info@dresden-tourist.de
    Internet: www.dresden-tourist.de

    The Visitor Information Cente (Touristen-Information) is located in a historic limestone guardhouse on Theaterplatz, named Schinkelwache, also Altstädter Wache.

    There you also get tickets for the Semperoper.

    Open Mo – Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat/Sun 10am – 4pm.

    Theaterplatz, Cathedral - info site to the right.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Save with Day and Annual Pass for Museums

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    If you plan to visit more than two museums it is well worth to buy a day or even a year pass for all museums of the city. Those passes exclude only the museum Historisches Grünes Gewölbe and special exhibitions.

    A daypass (Tageskarte) costs 12 Euro, a family ticket 25 Euro.

    An annual pass costs 20 Euro.

    If you consider that the admission for the museum Alte Meister already costs 12 Euro, and the Porzellansammlung 6 Euro, you can see how fast it is worth to have the annual pass.

    Kunstakademie and Coselpalais.
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    Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion: Memories of a Football Game

    by Kakapo2 Updated Aug 28, 2008

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    Favorite thing: -
    Although I do not have a good photo of this, just a shot against then sun from the tower of Kreuzkirche I want to write some lines about it.

    It reminds me so much of my first Dresden visit when the city was still part of GDR, and we needed visas to be allowed into Germany’s East.

    I was there to cover an UEFA Cup game of VfB Stuttgart against Dynamo Dresden. And of course, the Stasi people controlled every step we made, every breath we took, every word we said… There was one telephone on the tribune for all journalists.

    A kind of telecom lady administered it. She sat next to us with the telephone on her lap. Our colleagues back home had to call us, registering the calls. Direct calls were not possible, everything went via the western Telekom centre. You felt like a pioneer reaching the South Pole when you had succeeded talking to your colleagues on the phone, get the information about the game through, so it could be printed in the next day’s newspapers.

    Here it reads much easier than it was, and back home the papers had to collaborate and exchange the information we had given them on the phone, as not everybody had got through in time.

    Surely it was before the times of broadband, mobile phones and all those communication miracles of nowadays. But to imagine that you could not make direct calls from one part of Germany to the other, just because they had erected a border in between, really shows how inhumane the GDR system was, and the people prisoners within their borders.

    Fondest memory: -

    The UEFA Cup game I attended was the semi-final return game, and ended 1:1. As Stuttgart had won the home game 1:0 they went through to the final against SCC Naples, then with Diego Maradona (Nice trip to Naples BTW although Stuttgart lost – but Diego cheated, and the referee did not see it ;-)

    The Dresden game was on 19 April 1989. Some months later the world changed – and Dresden’s star player Matthias Sammer signed with Stuttgart… He was ginger-haired and could get fox-devils-wild on the field, and sometimes even was sent off for his bad temper. But I remember him as a very polite, professional and good character; I always liked him and keep a good memory of him.

    The name of Dresden’s stadium has more significance to me – as I come from athletics (track and field). Rudolf Harbig was a fantastic runner, holding the world records over 400 and 800 metres in 1939 and 1941. He died in World War II, in 1944, on the East Front. Since 1950 the German Athletics Federation DLV presents an honourable athlete with the Rudolf-Harbig-Preis, handed over on the last day of the national championships.

    The stadium is where the floodlight posts are...
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    Altstadt and the older Neustadt

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    Favorite thing: If you have a look over the city from one of the towers you can see the division of Altstadt and Neustadt very well. The river Elbe divides the city into the historic Altstadt and the even more historic Neustadt – where, for this reason, you can also many restored old buildings.

    Neustadt had the name Altendresden in the Middle Age. After the city had burnt down in 1685 it was rebuilt as a then modern and meticulously planned Baroque city, and named a new city – Neustadt.

    The Altstadt lies on the left riverbank, on the wide side of a riverbend. For centuries is was protected by mighty battlements. The centre of it all was Saxony’s resident castle.

    Until today the splendidly restored buildings of the Renaissance, Baroque and 19th century dominate this part of the city, which is the main hub of tourism. They have done a great job in recreating this spectacular ensemble of magnificent buildings which have been destroyed by English bombs on 13 and 14 February 1945.

    Outstanding cultural places are located on this side of the Elbe, as are Saxony’s Parliament and the town’s administation centre.

    The main shopping areas are Altmarkt (Old Market) and Prager Straße. (But I can assure you, I found very nice clothes in Neustadt as well… ;-) The shopping streets (Albertplatz, Königstraße) are attracting more and more people, and there are lots and lots of great pubs, cafés and restaurants. It attracts artists and Bohemians and is a hub of cultural activity.

    Altmarkt/Seestra��e in the Altstadt of the city.
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    Kulturpalast - Cultural Centre and Ticket Office

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    Favorite thing: -

    This rather modern building at the northern end of Altmarkt was finished in 1969 and is used for all kinds of cultural events, from pop concerts to classic music, ballet, comedy, musicals and dance shows.

    The ticket centre is on site, and you can check what is on on their website:
    http://www.kulturpalast-dresden.de/

    If you want to attend a concert of Germany’s best pop and rock musician (haha, I know, this is a very personal rating), try Peter Maffay on 26 March and 8 April 2009 :-)

    Kulturpalast is the modern building (foreground).
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    Winter Sunset in Dresden

    by Ekaterinburg Updated Mar 17, 2008

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    Favorite thing: As I mentioned in the tip above, Dresden was at the heart of the Romantic movement in Germany at the end of the 18th century. Painters, poets, composers, philosophers and intellectuals of all sorts flocked here and the city was a hotbed of artistic activity. So what does all this have to do with the title of this tip - Winter sunset in Dresden? The connection is maybe tenuous but this city had been growing and growing upon me all day long and by the time late afternoon and sunset arrived I had fallen completely in love with it. Walking back from the Neustadt I lingered for a long time on Augustusbrucke, admiring the river views and the dramatic swathes of yellow and black piling above the spires and towers of the Old Town. I appreciate that to many people Dresden is a city overrun with tourists but if you just cross a bridge and get away from the crowds it's easy to feel the attraction that Dresden had for all those poets and painters. Standing on that bridge I had a moment of complete happines.Such moments are what travel is all about to me but they don't happen often enough.

    Thank you Dresden !

    Sunset over Dresden
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    Monument to Caspar David Friedrich

    by Ekaterinburg Updated Mar 17, 2008

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    Favorite thing: This rather odd looking monument is at the far end of the Bruhl Terrace, on the grassy sloped gardens overlooking The Elbe. The joys of wandering are many and coming across something likes this makes you feel like punching the air with excitement. Well, if you're a fan of Caspar David Friedrich, it will certainly have this affect. CDF ( 1774- 1840) is one of my favourite painters and from studying his work, I'd gleaned some impressions of the Dresden area and particularly the River Elbe. His painting of his wife Caroline, in 'Woman at the Window' shows her peering out of the window in his studio, at the bustle of masts on the river below. Twilight and dusk were favourite times of day for him to capture and now here I was in the waning light of a Dresden winter afternoon, coming across this monument to him. I could have gone to the OLd Master's Gallery to look at his paintings but walking round his Dresden, the heart of the Romantic movement in Germany, was somehow much more rewarding.

    The monument is a little bit puzzling and the only conclusion I could come to was that it was an easel and a chair. This conclusion was fairly close as it represents the painter's studio.

    Chair and easel representing CDF's studio
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    The Neue Synagogue

    by Ekaterinburg Updated Mar 17, 2008

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    Favorite thing: My trip to Dresden was a side-trip from Berlin and in Berlin also I had photographed and visited a 'Neue Synagogue' the day before. I was incredibly moved by both but this one in Dresden could not possibly be more different from its Byzantine looking counterpart in Berlin. Though much in the history of both buildings was similar, the Dresden building is a total departure in terms of architecture and form.

    The earlier synagogue built by Gottfried Semper had been burned to the ground on November 9-10, 1938, the dreaded Kristallnacht, when all over Germany buildings belonging to the Jewish people were destroyed. 63 years later, on November 9th, 2001 , this new synagogue was dedicated, close to the site of the original. Just across the street from the Bruhl Gardens and all the stately Baroque buildings in the area, this stands head and shoulders above its surroundings, by virtue of its simplicity and purity of form. It's a cubic structure with no windows, based on the Israelite temples of prayer. It's an amazing building that is completely inscrutable when you stand in front of it. Well, to the side of it because the entrance is firmly locked. Next door is a community centre built in similar style and together they present a blank facade to the passerby. This of course makes a greater statment than any decorative feature could possibly do and you walk away with the memory of past events weighing heavily on your mind.

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    Balthaser Permoser's Sculptures at the Zwinger

    by Ekaterinburg Updated Mar 17, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Of all the Baroque splendour at the Zwinger, nothing delighted me more than the statuary. Every surface that could possibly be decorated was filled with wild flights of sculptural fancy. Walking along the top of the complex, there were countlessl terraces filled with nymphs, satyrs, and allegorical figures. The ones I liked best were not the dramatic, tortured looking creatures crawling up the sides of the pillars or those representing mythical or heroic values. What I loved were the rows of plump, endearing child-like figures with softly curling hair and sturdy thighs. My alltime favourite is the main photo that goes with this tip. These two, have the most eloquent backs and the sense of companionship and complicity their leaning into each other suggests, is absolute mastery of the medium

    All of these are the work of Balthaser Permoser whose work is also featured in the Hofkirche and many other locations in Dresden.

    Sheer perfection in stone
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