Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is Germany’s most important Protestant church. It dominates the Dresden skyline with its incredible baroque architecture. Built after the plans of George Bähr between 1726 and 1743 the church was almost totally destroyed on 13 February 1945. Through donations received from all over the world the church has been restored true to the original plans and is a fascinating study in restoration as well as being an awesome historical site. The Frauenkirche offers a variety of concerts.
Semperoper (Semper Opera House)
The impressive Semperoper (Semper Opera House) is one of Saxony’s landmarks. The architect, Gottfried Semper, built the original opera house as a court theater in 1841, which burnt down in 1869. In the style of the Italian high renaissance, this master builder designed the second opera house, which was dedicated in 1878. The house was completely destroyed in World War II and reopened in 1985 after extensive reconstruction. The ticket office and a tourist information can be found in the Old Town Guard house near the Semperoper. Named after its architect, the Schinkelwache is reminiscent of a Greek temple.
The Zwinger (Zwinger Dresden) with its splendid Baroque architecture was created between 1710 and 1732 by architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and sculptor Balthasar Permoser. The Zwinger courtyard is very impressive, like a palace garden with a number of fountains and flower gardens. The Zwinger houses some brilliant museums such as the Old Masters Picture Gallery (with the most famous painting Raffael’s Sistine Madonna), Armoury (Rüstkammer), Porcelain Collection, Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon and the Zoological Museum.
Residenzschloss (Royal Palace)
The Residenzschloss (Royal Palace) with its Neorenaissance façade lies in the center of the old city diagonally across from the Semperoper and the Zwinger. It was built in the 16th century, but was expanded and rebuilt several times in various architectural genres. In February 1945, the castle was completely burnt out. The reconstruction as a museum complex for the State Art Collections began in 1985 and is to be completed soon.
Dresden State Art Collection › Residenzschloss
Hofkirche (Court Chapel)
Next to the the Schlossplatz with the Residenzschloss with its beautiful view there is the Hofkirche. The Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri designed the church in the Romanesque style of the late baroque period. The foundation stone was laid in 1739 with construction completed in 1754, whereafter the church became the coronation and burial place for generations of Saxon kings. The interior contains the last organ built by master craftsman Silbermann as well as an altar and pietà made of Meißner porcelain.
Fürstenzug (Procession of Dukes) – Dresden’s famous porcelain mural is made of 23,000 tiles of Meißen china. The frieze is 102 metres long and 7 metres high, making it the largest porcelain picture in the world. It was first painted between 1872 and 1876 by the artist Wilhelm Walther. Since the picture rapidly deteriorated, it was replaced with about 23,000 Meißen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907. Designed as a memorial to the Wettiner royal family, the mural depicts all the Saxon rulers between 1123 and 1904. Only the last Saxon king is missing: Friedrich August III.
Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross)
The Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross), built in the late Baroque and early classicistic style between 1764 ans 1800 is the home of the Kreuzchor. The Kreuzchor is one of the oldest and most renowned boys’ choir in the world. Its tradition reaches back more than 700 years.
Brühlsche Terrasse (Brühl’s Terrace)
Once the private garden of the Count of Brühl, this large open plaza offers the city’s best view of the River Elbe. Under the terrace are trenches, battlements and other remnants of the city’s original fortifications. The ensemble of the Brühlsche Terrasse includes the Albertinum, the Ständehaus and the Secundogenitur (home of the second son of the electors and kings).
Between Albertinum and Carola Bridge a new synagogue has been built to replace the old one destroyed in the Kristallnacht, the night of progroms of 1938. The contemporary architecture is based on the form of the first Israelite temples and contrasts beautifully with Dresden’s rebuilt baroque city center. The gradual twisting of the building serves to turn the direction for prayer to the East. The boundary wall incorporates the last remaining fragments of the old synagogue.
The gold-plated statue of the Goldener Reiter (Golden Rider – August the Strong) is found just across the Augustus Bridge, on the new town side of the river. On the way to the Äußere Neustadt, the lively pub and nightlife district of Dresden you pass the new Kunsthandwerker (Arts and Crafts) Passage in Hauptstraße with some very old town houses, beautifully restored. It is worth taking a look down the neighboring streets with lots of small shops, galleries and delicious restaurants.
In the Gläserne Manufaktur – a transparent manufactory – customers can see how the different parts of the premium class car “Phaeton” will be assembled (only on working days). The whole car is completed in precise and exclusively manual assembly work there.