The World Class Traveler

The World Class Traveler

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Tour of Dresden

Dresden is one of the cultural centers of Germany and a city so rich in history that I decided if I was going to even begin to understand this city, I would need an experienced tour guide!  And boy did I find a good one!

Jana, a local of Dresden, runs a company for private tours for 10 years now.  Discover Dresden is her company, and she offers a variety of tours.  I took two tours during my time in Dresden, the "Outer New Town", a special district in Dresden, and the "Baroque New Town".  When Jana came to meet me at my hotel, she began the tour right in the Westin lobby! As we made our way through the lobby to the backside of the hotel, I had no idea what I was about to witness!  We walked down the stairs and she took me by the Elbe River, and there was the Old Town right in front of my eyes!   I couldn't believe this picturesque view that was right in front of me.  I looked at her and said, "Jana is this for real?" Needless to say, I chose the best hotel for this area! 

As we went on the tour she explained to me about the convention center and a mosque-like building which started as a cigarette factory about 100 years ago.  Now it has been turned into an office building.  When the factory was still open it was the main source of where the cigarettes where made and produced in Dresden.

As you look at the Elbe River there is a boat coming by which she explained is like a Mississippi paddle steamer.  Here though they have the wheels on the sides of the boat and travel up and down the river for sightseeing tours or day trips.

So moving on, as we walked down the streets,  Jana explained to me that some of the buildings survived WWII and that they were abandoned during communism.  Architects and property owners have spent lots of money and time since the re-unification to bring back old glory.  A few buildings though still could use some fixing up.
We walked down little courtyards that give Dresden's Baroque New Town areas character and life.  We enjoyed passing by cute little stores and shops!
Jana took me to the new town of Dresden where in the center are two fountains that break up each side of the street. This area was built based on it being used for cars to go in many different directions, so as you see trams and cars and bicycles have many ways to go. It is said that this particular area is one of the busiest streets for cars and transportation driving by in all of Dresden.


The statutes on top of the fountains on each side have meaning.  One side is a group of women and the other side is a group of men (Need explanation)

Jana took me to a cute little museum. This museum was based on Erich Kastner, the unknown famous author, who created children's books.
Although Germans like to think that Kästner is internationally popular, the fact that he is known at all in the English-speaking world is largely due to one person... Walt Disney. Two of Erich Kästner's humorous tales for children—Emil und die Detektive and Das doppelte Lottchen—attracted Disney's attention. In the 1960s the Disney studios turned these two books into the films "Emil and the Detectives" (1964) and "The Parent Trap" (1961, 1998) respectively.

Erich Kastner, German author, poet, novelist

Augustus the Strong was responsible for several of the city's famous baroque buildings, including the Zwinger Palace.  During his reign Dresden became an important cultural center, nicknamed Florence at the Elbe. When he died in 1733 his son Augustus III decided to erect a gilded equestrian statue in honor of his illustrious father.
Goldener Reiter (Golden Rider)
Theaterplatz is a beautiful square framed by some of the city's most important landmarks such as the Zwinger Palace, the Hofkirche and the Semper Opera House.
Originally the Zwinger Palace had only three wings, the courtyard opened up towards the Elbe river. After the completion of the Semper Opera House in 1841 Gottfried Semper closed the courtyard by adding a gallery in Renaissance style.  Construction of this new wing, now know as the Semperbau, started in 1847.
Zwinger Palace

Semper Opera House
The Zwinger Palace is Dresden's most famous landmark. This baroque complex of pavilions and galleries was - like many of the city's most prominent buildings - commissioned by Augustus the Strong, elector of Saxony.

Near the Rampart pavillon is the Nymphenbad, a small enclosed courtyard with a baroque fountain featuring numerous statues of nymphs and tritons.
For almost fifty years, the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) was nothing more than a pile of rubble, the result of a 1945 bombardment. Since its reconstruction in the 1990s the majestic dome of the Frauenkirche once again dominates the cityscape of Dresden.
Inside of Frauenkirche

Dreikönigskirche (Church of the Three Magi), originally built in the fifteenth century and rebuilt in the late 1980s after it was destroyed during the Second World War.


The tour took me across the Elbe River where I learned about the Royal Palace.

For centuries the Residenzschloss - the royal palace in Dresden - served as the seat of government for the Saxon Rulers of the Wettin family.

The vast palace is located in the heart of historic Dresden and comprises a number of wings and structures that were built over a span of several centuries.
Like all landmarks in Dresden, the Royal Palace was destroyed in 1945. For more than forty years the building stood in ruins, with only the Georgenbau rebuilt between 1962 and 1969. Reconstruction of the whole Residenzschloss started in 1985 with the intention to recreate it as a cultural and museum complex. It was mostly completed in 2006, just in time for the city's 800 year anniversary.


Well as you can see, Dresden is not only an amazing place to visit, but is also very rich in history.

Procession of Princes
And remember, if you find yourself in this beautiful city, make sure to see it with "Discover Dresden Tours" and tell Jana that "Carla's Got The Travel Bug" sent you!! 


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