Besides gold treasures, paintings and classical sculptures, Dresden is home to sights such as the Church of Our Lady, the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger, the Blue Wonder and the Green Vault. The city on the Elbe is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany and is full of Baroque art treasures, almost all of which were rebuilt after the destruction in World War II.
The city owes the astonishing wealth of the State Art Collection primarily to Elector Augustus the Strong, whose passion for collecting at the beginning of the 18th century turned Dresden into a magnificent metropolis. The unimaginably precious treasures in today’s Florence on the Elbe are so diverse that they had to be spread over various historic buildings in the city.
All these magnificent attractions have become famous beyond the country’s borders and attract hundreds of thousands of tourists and art lovers every year.
Tip 1: Frauenkirche
The Frauenkirche Dresden is the city’s landmark and visible focal point, but also a memorial against the war. The Evangelical Lutheran church is a symbol of Dresden’s city history. Impressively, the church of the Baroque period characterizes Dresden’s Neumarkt. Its architecture is so unique and charming that this unique Dresden building is counted among the most beautiful church buildings in Europe.
The reconstruction of the church after 1990 became a symbol of a new beginning in the city. With international support the church was completed and in October 2005 it was consecrated again. In the beginning, the Dresdeners considered this church as a tourist church, but after not too long, many Dresdeners discovered this church for themselves. This was not only because of the impressive history and architecture, but also because of the numerous concerts that have become a part of the church on different occasions.
The Bach Days, for example, have become established and take place regularly. Organ concerts have also become an important part of the concert schedule, to which organists from well-known churches throughout Germany are invited.
Tip 2: Zwinger
The Dresden Zwinger is a unique baroque synthesis of the arts, created by the brilliant master builder Daniel Pöppelmann and the sculptor Balthasar Permoser. It was commissioned by the Elector Friedrich August I, better known as August the Strong.
The world-famous Zwinger is one of the most magnificent Baroque buildings in Germany. With its pavilions and galleries, the “Crown Gate”, the “Nymph Bath” and last but not least the garden in the Zwinger courtyard, it is an oasis for every visitor to Dresden.
The name Zwinger refers to the original position of the complex, between the inner and outer castle walls. But even in the time of Augustus the Strong, the Zwinger had by no means the function of a fortification.
Tip 3: Semperoper
The Dresden Semper Opera House was originally built in 1841 and is now one of the most beautiful and renowned opera houses in the world. It is the centerpiece of Dresden’s cultural life and makes our beautiful city one of the most popular destinations for city breaks in Europe. For every Dresden trip, the Semper Opera House is a “must see”. The Semper Opera House is known and famous for its top-class performances. Domestic and foreign artists contribute significantly to the success of the Semper Opera. The Semper Opera House is also home to the “Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden”, which has been one of the most important orchestras in the world for more than 400 years.
Here in the Semperoper, numerous operas were premiered, such as Richard Wagner’s “Rienzi”, “The Flying Dutchman or the “Tannhäuser”. With these pieces, opera history was written here.
Tip 4: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
The Old Masters Picture Gallery in the Dresden Zwinger is considered the largest and most famous of these collections. It has its roots in the “Kunstkammer”(Chamber of Art), which was founded by Elector August of Saxony in 1560.
The international fame of the Old Masters Picture Gallery is based on numerous masterpieces, among which the “Sistine Madonna”, painted by Raphaelo Santi around 1513 for the monastery of San Sisto in Piacenza, is at the forefront.
World-famous paintings such as Giorgione’s “Slumbering Venus” and Cranach’s “St. Catherine’s Altar” are also included.
The collection in the Zwinger represents an enormous range of European painting from late Gothic to Rococo, documented by works by Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, van Eyck, Holbein, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Murillo, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Raeburn and Graff.
Today the collection is located in the gallery building at the Zwinger, which was rebuilt after the Second World War.
Tip 5: Brühl’s Terrace
The Brühl Terrace stretches along the Elbe between Carola Bridge and Augustus Bridge on the remains of the former fortifications of Dresden. It reaches a length of about 500m, is between 20m and 200m wide and up to 10m high.
The name goes back to Count Heinrich von Brühl, who was one of the closest confidants of Friedrich August II, the son of Elector Augustus the Strong. In 1740, the latter donated the site to the count, who was one of the most influential and powerful men in Saxony at the time.
For a long time, the Brühl Terrace was accessible only from the back and reserved exclusively for the nobility. It was not until the construction of the large open staircase with 41 steps in the west of the “Balcony of Europe” around 1814 that the terrace became accessible to the public.
The current appearance was created towards the end of the 19th century. The stairway to the grand staircase is lined with the statue groups “Four Times of Day” by Johann Schilling. Immediately following is the New Estates House with access from the Palace Square. Next to it is the neo-baroque, two-story building with the name Sekundogenitur (“House of the Second Born”).
This is followed by a stairway to the Brühl Terrace from Münzgasse. The Academy of Fine Arts then follows with its dome, visible from afar, on which the golden goddess of fate “Fama” is enthroned. Next to it is the mighty Albertinum, which houses various exhibitions.