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view of Brühl's Terrace at twilight
view of Brühl's Terrace at twilight
Coat of arms of Dresden

Dresden is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°2′0″N 13°44′0″E / 51.033333°N 13.733333°E / 51.033333; 13.733333
Country Germany
State Saxony
Admin. region Dresden
District Urban district
Lord Mayor Helma Orosz (CDU)
Basic statistics
Area 328.8 km2 (127.0 sq mi)
Elevation 113 m  (371 ft)
Population  512,234  (31 December 2008)[1][2][3]
 - Density 1,558 /km2 (4,035 /sq mi)
 - Urban 695,680
 - Metro 1,322,090 
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Aerial view of the city of Dresden

Dresden (Upper Sorbian: Drježdźany) is the capital city[4] of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area.[5]

Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendour. The city was completely destroyed by the controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German socialist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semperoper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche. Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has re-emerged as a cultural, educational, political and economic centre of Germany.[citation needed]

The Elbe Valley of Dresden was an internationally recognised site of cultural significance by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for five years. After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city had its status as world heritage site formally removed in June 2009, for the wilful breach of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, due to the construction of a highway bridge across the valley within 2 km of the historic centre. It thereby became the first location ever in Europe to lose this status, and the second ever in the world.[6]



Although Dresden is a relatively recent city of Slavic origin,[7] the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes ca. 7500 BC.[8] Dresden's founding and early growth is associated with the eastward expansion of Germanic peoples,[7] mining in the nearby Ore Mountains, and the establishment of the Margraviate of Meissen. Its name etymologically derives from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning people of the riverside forest. Dresden later evolved into the capital of Saxony.

Early history

The Fürstenzug — the Saxon sovereigns.
Revolutionary barricades during the May Uprising in Dresden (1848).

Around the late 12th century, a Slavic settlement called Drežďany[9] ("alluvial forest dwellers"[citation needed]) had developed on the southern bank. Another settlement existed on the northern bank, but its Slavic name is unclear. It was known as Antiqua Dresdin verifiable since 1350 and later as Altendresden.[9][10] Dietrich, Margrave of Meissen, chose Dresden as his interim residence in 1206, as documented in a record calling the place "Civitas Dresdene".

After 1270 Dresden became the capital of the margravate. It was restored to the Wettin dynasty in about 1319. From 1485 it was the seat of the dukes of Saxony, and from 1547 the electors as well.

Modern age

The Elector and ruler of Saxony Frederick Augustus I became King August the Strong of Poland in personal union. He gathered many of the best musicians,[11] architects and painters from all over Europe to Dresden. His reign marked the beginning of Dresden's emergence as a leading European city for technology and art. Dresden suffered heavy destruction in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), following its capture by Prussian forces, its subsequent re-capture, and a failed Prussian siege in 1760. Friedrich Schiller wrote his Ode to Joy (the literary base of the European anthem) for the Dresden Masonic Lodge in 1785.

The city of Dresden had a distinctive silhouette, captured in famous paintings by Bernardo Bellotto and by Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl.

Between 1806 and 1918 the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony (which was a part of the German Empire from 1871). During the Napoleonic Wars the French emperor made it a base of operations, winning there the famous Battle of Dresden on August 27, 1813. Dresden was a center of the German Revolutions in 1849 with the May Uprising, which cost human lives and damaged the historic town of Dresden.

During the 19th century the city became a major centre of economy, including motor car production, food processing, banking and the manufacture of medical equipment. The city's population quadrupled from 95,000 in 1849 to 396,000 in 1900 as a result of industrialization.[citation needed]

In the early 20th century Dresden was particularly well-known for its camera works and its cigarette factories. Between 1918 and 1934 Dresden was capital of the first Free State of Saxony. Dresden was a center of European modern art until 1933.

Military history

The Schützenkaserne (pictured during a royal military parade in 1910) is the only building of the Albertstadt that was destroyed during the Second World War.

During the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, a large military facility called Albertstadt was built.[12] It had a capacity of up to 20,000 military personnel at the beginning of the First World War. The garrison saw only limited use between 1918 and 1934 but was then reactivated in preparation for the Second World War.

Its usefulness was limited by attacks at 17 April 1945[13] on the railway network (especially towards Bohemia).[14] Soldiers had been deployed as late as March 1945 in the Albertstadt garrison.

The Albertstadt garrison became the headquarters of the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany after the war. Apart from the German army officers' school (Offizierschule des Heeres) there have been no more military units in Dresden since the army merger during German reunification and the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1992. Nowadays, the Bundeswehr operates the Military History Museum of the Federal Republic of Germany in the former Albertstadt garrison.

Second World War

Dresden, 1945 — over ninety percent of the city centre was destroyed.

Dresden in the 20th century was a leading European centre of art, classical music, culture and science until its complete destruction on February 13, 1945. Being the capital of the German state of Saxony, Dresden had not only garrisons but a whole military borough, the Albertstadt. This military complex, named after Saxon King Albert, was never targeted in the bombing of Dresden.

During the final months of World War II Dresden became a safe haven to some 600,000 refugees, including women, children, and wounded soldiers with a total population of 1.2 million. Dresden was attacked seven times between 1944 and 1945, and was completely occupied by the Red Army after German capitulation.

The bombing of Dresden by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force between 13 February and 15 February 1945, remains one of the more controversial Allied actions of the Western European theatre of war. The inner city of Dresden was largely destroyed by 800 RAF and USAAF bombers that dropped 650,000 incendiaries and 8,000 lbs of high explosives and hundreds of 4,000 lb bombs[15] in three waves of attacks. Early reports estimated 150,000 to 250,000 deaths but the German Dresden Historians' Commission in an official 2010 report published after five years of research concluded that there were up to 25,000 civilian casualties.[16]

The inhabited city centre was almost wiped out, while larger residential, industrial and military sites on the outskirts were relatively unscathed. Some of the Allies described the operation as the justified bombing of a military and industrial target.[17] In a report from the British Bomber command it stated that the military target was the Railway Marshaling yard Dresden-Friedrichstadt which housed 4,000 trucks at most per 24 hours. Prime Minister Winston Churchill tried to distance himself from the attack, even though he was heavily involved with the organization and planning of the raid. Several researchers have argued that the February attacks were disproportionate.[18] American novelist Kurt Vonnegut witnessed the raid as a POW; his novel Slaughterhouse-Five is based on that experience. In remembrance of the victims, the anniversaries of the bombing of Dresden are marked with peace demonstrations, devotions and marches.[19][20]

Post-war period

After the Second World War, Dresden became a major industrial center in the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) with a great deal of research infrastructure. Many important historic buildings were rebuilt including the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger Palace and a great many other historic buildings, although the city leaders chose to reconstruct large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons but also in order to break away from the city's past as the royal capital of Saxony and a stronghold of the German bourgeoisie. However, some of the bombed-out ruins of churches, royal buildings and palaces, such as the Gothic Sophienkirche, the Alberttheater and the Wackerbarth-Palais were razed by the Soviet and East German authorities in the 1950s and 1960s instead of being repaired. Compared to West Germany, the majority of historic buildings were saved.

From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Vladimir Putin, the future President of Russia, in Dresden. On 3 October 1989 (the so-called "battle of Dresden"), a convoy of trains carrying East German refugees from Prague passed through Dresden on its way to the Federal Republic of Germany. Local activists and residents joined in the growing civil disobedience movement spreading across the German Democratic Republic by staging demonstrations and demanding the removal of the non-democratic government.


The Dresden Frauenkirche, a few days prior to its re-consecration.

Dresden has experienced dramatic changes since the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s. The city still bears many wounds from the bombing raids of 1945, but it has undergone significant reconstruction in recent decades. Restoration of the Dresden Frauenkirche was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden's 800th anniversary, notably by privately raised funds. The urban renewal process, which includes the reconstruction of the area around the Neumarkt square on which the Frauenkirche is situated, will continue for many decades, but public and government interest remains high, and there are numerous large projects underway — both historic reconstructions and modern plans — that will continue the city's recent architectural renaissance.

Dresden remains a major cultural centre of historical memory, owing to the city's destruction in World War II. Each year on 13 February, the anniversary of the British and American fire-bombing raid that destroyed most of the city, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather to commemorate the event. Since reunification, the ceremony has taken on a more neutral and pacifist tone (after being used more politically in Cold War times). In recent years, however, white power skinheads have tried to use the event for their own political ends. In 2005, Dresden was host to the largest Neo-Nazi demonstration in the post-war history of Germany. Between five and eight thousand Neo-Nazis took part, mourning what they call the "Allied bomb-holocaust".

In 2002 torrential rains caused the Elbe to flood 9 metres (30 ft) above its normal height, i.e. even higher than the old record height from 1845, damaging many landmarks (See 2002 European flood). The destruction from this "millennium flood" is no longer visible, due to the speed of reconstruction.

The United Nations' cultural organization UNESCO declared the Dresden Elbe Valley to be a World Heritage Site in 2004.[21] After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city lost the title in June 2009,[22][23] due to the construction of the Waldschlößchenbrücke, making it only the second ever World Heritage Site to be removed from the register.[22][23] UNESCO stated in 2006 that the bridge would destroy the cultural landscape. The city council's legal moves meant to prevent the bridge from being built failed.[24][25]



View over Dresden from the south-eastern slopes

Dresden lies on both banks of the river Elbe, mostly in the Dresden Basin, with the further reaches of the eastern Ore Mountains to the south, the steep slope of the Lusatian granitic crust to the north, and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to the east at an altitude of about 113 meters. The highest point of Dresden is about 384 meters in altitude.[26]

With a pleasant location and a mild climate on the Elbe, as well as Baroque-style architecture and numerous world-renowned museums and art collections, Dresden has been called "Elbflorenz" (Florence of the Elbe). The incorporation of neighboring rural communities over the past 60 years has made Dresden the fourth largest urban district by area in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne.[27]

The nearest German cities are Chemnitz (80 km/50 miles to the southwest), Leipzig (100 km/ 62 miles to the northwest) and Berlin (200 km/ 124 miles to the north). Prague is about 150 km/ 93 miles to the south; the Polish city of Wrocław is about 200 km/ 124 miles to the east.

Greater Dresden, which includes the neighboring districts of Kamenz, Meißen, Riesa-Großenhain, Sächsische Schweiz, Weißeritzkreis and part of the district of Bautzen, has a population of around 1,250,000.[28]


63% of Dresden is green areas.

Dresden is one of the greenest cities in Europe, with 63% of the city being green areas and forests. The Dresdner Heide to the north is a forest 50 km² in size. There are four nature reserves. The additional Special Conservation Areas cover 18 km². The protected gardens, parkways, parks and old graveyards host 110 natural monuments in the city.[29] The Dresden Elbe Valley is a former world heritage site which is focused on the conservation of the cultural landscape in Dresden. One important part of that landscape is the Elbe meadows which cross the city, 20 kilometers long. Saxon Switzerland is an important nearby-location.


Winter time in Dresden.

Dresden has a cold-moderate to continental climate. The microclimate in the Elbe valley differs from that on the slopes and in the higher areas. Klotzsche, at 227 meters above sea level, hosts the Dresden weather station. The weather in Klotzsche is 1 to 3 °C (
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The average temperature in January is −0.7 °C (30.74 °F) and in July 18.1 °C (64.6 °F).[30] Summers are hotter in Dresden and winters are colder than the German average. The inner city temperature is 10.2 °C (50.4 °F) averaged over the year. The driest months are February and March, with precipitation of 40 mm (1.6 in) The wettest months are July and August, with 61 mm (2.4 in) per month.

Flood protection

Elbe Flood in March 2006: Dresden is often endangered by manageable floods while disastrous events as like in 2002 or 1845 are not likely to happen twice within hundred years

Because of its location on the banks of the Elbe, into which some water sources from the Ore Mountains flow, flood protection is important. Large areas are kept free of buildings to provide a floodplain. Two additional trenches about 50 meters wide have been built to keep the inner city free of water from the Elbe river by dissipating the water downstream through the inner city's gorge portion. Flood regulation systems like detention basins and water reservoirs are almost all outside the city area.

The Weißeritz, a normally rather small river suddenly ran directly into the main station of Dresden during the 2002 European floods.

However, many locations and areas have to be defended by walls and sheet pilings. A number of districts become waterlogged if the Elbe river is flooding some of its old bayous.

City structuring

Dresden is a spacious city. Its districts differ in their structure and appearance. Many parts still contain an old village core, while some quarters are almost completely preserved as rural settings. Other characteristic kinds of urban areas are the historic outskirts of the city, and the former suburbs with scattered housing. During the German Democratic Republic, many apartment blocks were built. The original parts of the city are almost all in the districts of Altstadt (Old town) and Neustadt (New town). Growing outside the city walls, the historic outskirts were built in the 18th century. They were planned and constructed on the orders of the Saxon monarchs, which is why the outskirts are often named after sovereigns. From the 19th century the city grew by incorporating other districts. Dresden has been divided into ten districts called "Ortsamtsbereich" and nine former boroughs ("Ortschaften") which have been incorporated.


The population of Dresden reached 100,000 inhabitants in 1852, making it the third German city to reach that number.[27] The population peaked at 649,252 in 1933 but dropped to 450,000 in 1946 as the result of World War II during which large residential areas of the city were destroyed. After large incorporations and city restoration the population grew up to 522,532 again between 1950 and 1983.[31]

Since German reunification demographic development has been very unsteady. The city has had to struggle with migration and suburbanization. The population increased to 480,000 as a consequence of several incorporations during the 1990s but it fell to 452,827 in 1998. Between 2002 and 2007 the population grew quickly by more than 28,000 inhabitants due to a stabilized economy and reurbanization. Alongside Leipzig, Dresden is one of the ten fastest-growing cities in Germany[27] while the population of the surrounding new federal states is still shrinking.[31][32]

In Dresden, about 51.3% of the population is female. Foreigners account for about 4%[33]. The mean age of the population is 43 years, which is the lowest among the urban districts in Saxony.[34]


Dresden is one of Germany's 16 political centers and the capital of Saxony. It has institutions of democratic local self-administration that are independent from the capital functions.[35] Some local affairs of Dresden receive national attention.

Dresden hosted some international summits such as the Petersburg Dialogue between Russia and Germany, the European Union's Minister of the Interior conference and the G8 labor ministers conference in recent years.

Municipality and city council

The City Council defines the basic principles of the municipality by decrees and statutes. The council gives orders to the "Bürgermeister" ("Burgomaster" or Mayor) by voting for resolutions and thus has some executive power.[36]

Currently, there is no stable governing majority on Dresden city council.[37]

The Supreme Burgomaster is directly elected by the citizens for a term of seven years. Executive functions are normally elected indirectly in Germany. However, the Supreme Burgomaster shares numerous executive rights with the city council. He/She is the executive head of the municipality, and also the ceremonial representative of the city. The main departments of the municipality are managed by seven burgomasters.[38]

Local affairs

Architecture (like the "deconstructivist" fire escape on the baroque Landhaus) is a persistent subject of controversy in Dresden

Local affairs in Dresden often center around the urban development of the city and its spaces. Architecture and the design of public places is a controversial subject. Discussions about the Waldschlößchenbrücke, a planned bridge across Elbe, received international attention because of its position across the Dresden Elbe Valley World Heritage Site. Opponents of the bridge are concerned that its construction would cause the loss of World Heritage site status.[39] The city held a public referendum in 2005 on whether to build the bridge, prior to UNESCO expressing doubts about the compatibility between bridge and heritage.

In 2006 Dresden sold its publicly subsidized housing organization, WOBA Dresden GmbH, to the US-based private investment company Fortress Investment Group. The city received 987.1 million euro and paid off its remaining loans, making it the first large city in Germany to become debt-free. Opponents of the sale were concerned about Dresden's loss of control over the subsidized housing market.[40]

The construction of a new football stadium has been in planning for several years. The start date for upgrading the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion into a single use football stadium with a capacity of 32,770 was November 2007.[41]

International relations

Removal of UNESCO World Heritage status

Dresden Elbe Valley that obtained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004 was placed on the list of endangered World Heritage sites in 2007. In 2009, Dresden had its status as UNESCO World Heritage formally removed for the destruction of world heritage through the building a controversial highway bridge across the site.

Twin towns - Sister cities

Along with its twin city Coventry, Dresden was one of the first two cities to twin with a foreign city. Similar symbolism occurred in 1988, when Dresden twinned with the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The cities became twins after World War II in an act of reconciliation, as they had suffered incisive destructions from bombings. The Coventry Blitz and Rotterdam Blitz bombardments of the German Luftwaffe are also considered to be disproportional. Dresden has had a triangular partnership with Saint Petersburg and Hamburg since 1987. Dresden has twelve twin cities.[42]

Culture and architecture

Dresden is seeking to regain the kind of cultural importance it held from the 19th century up until the 1920s when it was a centre of art, architecture and music.[citation needed] Richard Wagner had a number of his works performed for the first time in Dresden. During that period, other famous artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka, Richard Strauss, Gottfried Semper and Gret Palucca were active in the city. Dresden is also home to several important art collections, world-famous musical ensembles, and significant buildings from various architectural periods, many of which were rebuilt after the destruction of the Second World War.


The stage of the Saxon State Opera, completely rebuilt during the German Democratic Republic and reopened in 1985

The Saxon State Opera descends from the opera company of the former electors and Kings of Saxony in the Semperoper. After being completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war, it was rebuilt by the German Democratic Republic. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548.[45] The Dresden State Theatre runs a number of smaller theaters. The Dresden State Operetta is the only independent operetta in Germany.[46] The Herkuleskeule (Hercules club) is an important site in German-speaking political cabaret.

There are several choirs in Dresden, the best-known of which is the Dresdner Kreuzchor (Choir of The Holy Cross). It is a boy's choir drawn from pupils of the Kreuzschule and was founded in the 13th century.[47] The Dresdner Kapellknaben are not related to the Staatskapelle but to the former Hofkapelle, the Catholic cathedral, since 1980. The Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra is the orchestra of the city of Dresden.

Throughout the summer the outdoor concert series "Zwingerkonzerte und Mehr" is held in the Zwingerhof. Performances include dance and music.

In summer 2006, as part of Dresden's 800th anniversary celebrations, the Pet Shop Boys performed together with the Dresdner Sinfoniker (symphony orchestra) on the pedestrian mall at Prager Straße. The backdrop for the performance was a GDR-era concrete apartment block upon which a light show was displayed.

A big event each year in June is the Bunte Republik Neustadt.

Museums, presentations and collections

"Moor with emerald plate" by Balthasar Permoser in the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) which is the former royal Schatzkammer or treasury

Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which are, according to the institution's own statements place it among the most important museums presently in existence. The art collections consist of eleven museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Grünes Gewölbe are the best known.[48]

Other museums and collections owned by the Free State of Saxony in Dresden are:

  • The Deutsche Hygiene-Museum, founded for mass education in hygiene, health, human biology and medicine[49]
  • The Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte (State Museum of Prehistory)[50]
  • The Staatliche Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden (State Collection of Natural History)
  • The Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden (Museum of Ethnology)
  • The "Universitätssammlung Kunst + Technik" (Collection of Art and Technology of the Dresden University of Technology)
  • Verkehrsmuseum Dresden (Transport Museum)

The Dresden City Museum is run by the city of Dresden and focused on the city's history. The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr is in the former garrison in the Albertstadt.

The Botanischer Garten der Technischen Universität Dresden is a botanical garden maintained by the Dresden University of Technology.


Although Dresden is often said to be a Baroque city, its architecture is influenced by more than one style. Other eras of importance are the Renaissance and Historism as well as the contemporary styles of Modernism and Postmodernism.

Dresden has some 13 000 cultural monuments enlisted and eight districts under general preservation orders defined.[51]

Royal household

Bridge at the Kronentor (crowned gate) of the Zwinger Palace.

The royal buildings are among the most impressive buildings in Dresden. The Dresden Castle was once the home of the princely and royal household since 1485. The wings of the building have been renewed, built upon and restored many times. Due to this integration of styles, the castle is made up of elements of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist styles.[52]

The Zwinger Palace is across the road from the castle. It was built on the old stronghold of the city and was converted to a center for the royal art collections and a place to hold festivals. Its gate (surmounted by a golden crown) by the moat is famous.[53]

Other royal buildings and ensembles:

Sacred buildings

The Hofkirche

The Hofkirche was the church of the royal household. Augustus the Strong, who desired to be King of Poland, converted to Catholicism, as the Polish kings had to be Catholic. At that time Dresden was strictly Protestant. Augustus the Strong ordered the building of the Hofkirche, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, to establish a sign of Roman Catholic religious importance in Dresden. The church is the cathedral "Sanctissimae Trinitatis" since 1980. The crypt of the Wettin Dynasty is located within the church.[54]

In contrast to the Hofkirche, the Lutheran Frauenkirche was built almost contemporaneously by the citizens of Dresden. It is said to be the greatest cupola building in Central and Northern Europe. The city's historic Kreuzkirche was reconsecrated in 1388.[55]

There are also other churches in Dresden, for example a Russian Orthodox Church in the Südvorstadt district.

Contemporary architecture

The locally controversial UFA-Palast

Dresden has been an important site for the development of contemporary architecture for centuries, and this trend has continued into the 20th and 21st centuries.

Historicist buildings made their presence felt on the cityscape until the 1920s sampled by public buildings such as the Staatskanzlei or the City Hall. One of the youngest buildings of that era is the Hygiene Museum, which is designed in an impressively monumental style but employs plain facades and simple structures. It is often attributed, wrongly, to the Bauhaus school.

Most of the present cityscape of Dresden was built up after 1945, a mix of reconstructed or repaired old buildings and new buildings in the modern and postmodern styles. Important buildings erected between 1945 and 1990 are the Centrum-Warenhaus (a large department store) representing the international style, the Kulturpalast, and a lot of smaller and two bigger complexes of Plattenbau housing, while there is also housing dating from the era of Stalinist architecture.

The New Synagogue

After 1990 and German reunification, new styles emerged. Important contemporary buildings include the New Synagogue, a postmodern building with few windows, the Transparent Factory, the Saxon State Parliament and the New Terrace, the UFA-Kristallpalast cinema by Coop Himmelb(l)au (one of the biggest buildings of Deconstructivism in Germany), and the Saxon State Library. Daniel Libeskind and Norman Foster both modified existing buildings. Foster roofed the main railway station with translucent Teflon-coated synthetics. Libeskind changed the whole structure of the Military History Museum by placing a wedge through the historicist arsenal building.

Other buildings

The golden equestrian sculpture of King/Elector August the Strong.

Other buildings include important bridges crossing the Elbe river, the Blaues Wunder bridge and the Augustusbrücke, which is on the site of the oldest bridge in Dresden.

There are about 300 fountains and springs, many of them in parks or squares. The wells serve only a decorative function, since there is a fresh water system in Dresden. Springs and fountains are also elements in contemporary cityspaces.

The most famous sculpture in Dresden is Jean-Joseph Vinache's golden equestrian sculpture of August the Strong called the Goldener Reiter (Golden Cavalier) on the Neustädter Markt square. It shows August at the beginning of the Hauptstraße (Main street) on his way to Warsaw, where he was King of Poland in personal union. Another sculpture is the memorial of Martin Luther in front of the Frauenkirche.

Dresden-Hellerau — Germany's first garden city

The Garden City of Hellerau, at that time a suburb of Dresden, was founded in 1909. In 1911 Heinrich Tessenow built the Hellerau Festspielhaus (festival theatre) and Hellerau became a centre of modernism with international standing until the outbreak of World War I.

In 1950 Hellerau was incorporated into the city of Dresden. Today the Hellerau reform architecture is recognised as exemplary. In the 1990s the garden city of Hellerau became a conservation area.

Living quarters

Dresden's urban parts are subdivided in rather a lot of city quarters, up to around 100, among them relatively many larger villa quarters dominated by historic multiple dwelling units, especially but not only along the river, most known are Blasewitz, Loschwitz and Pillnitz. Also some Art Nouveau living quarters and two bigger quarters typical for communist architecture - but much renovated - can be found. The villa town of Radebeul joins the Dresden city tram system, which is due to the lack of an underground system rather expanded.

Cinemas and cinematics

There are several small cinemas presenting cult films and low-budget or low-profile films chosen for their cultural value. Dresden also has a couple of multiplex cinemas, of which the Rundkino is the oldest.

Dresden has been a centre for the production of animated films and optical cinematic techniques. The Dresden Filmfest hosts a competition for short films which is among the best-endowed competitions in Europe.[citation needed]


Dresden is home to Dynamo Dresden which had a tradition in UEFA club competitions up to the early 1990s. Dynamo Dresden won eight titles in the DDR-Oberliga. Currently the club is a founding member of the 3rd Liga after some seasons in the Fußball-Bundesliga and 2. Fußball-Bundesliga.

In the early 20th century, the city was represented by Dresdner SC, who were one of Germany's most successful clubs in football. Their best days coming during World War II, when they were twice German Champions, and twice Cup winners. Dresdner SC is a multisport club. While its football team plays in the sixth-tier Landesliga Sachsen, its volleyball section has a team in the women's Bundesliga. Dresden has a third football team SC Borea Dresden. ESC Dresdner Eislöwen is an Ice hockey club which is playing in the 2nd Bundesliga again. Dresden Monarchs are an American football team in the German Football League.

Major sport facilities in Dresden are the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion, the Heinz-Steyer-Stadion and the Freiberger Arena (Ice hockey).



The longest trams in Dresden set a record in length

The Bundesautobahn 4 (European route E40) crosses Dresden in the northwest from west to east. The Bundesautobahn 17 leaves the A4 in a south-eastern direction. In Dresden it begins to cross the Ore Mountains towards Prague. The Bundesautobahn 13 leaves from the three-point interchange "Dresden-Nord" and goes to Berlin. The A13 and the A17 are on the European route E55. Several Bundesstraße roads crossing or running through Dresden.

There are two main inter-city transit hubs in the railway network in Dresden: Dresden Hauptbahnhof and Dresden-Neustadt railway station. The most important railway lines run to Berlin, Prague, Leipzig and Chemnitz. A commuter train system (Dresden S-Bahn) operates on three lines alongside the long-distance routes.

Dresden Airport is the international airport of Dresden, located at the north-western outskirts of the town. Its infrastructure has been improved with new terminals and a motorway access route.


Dresden has a large tramway network operated by the Dresden Transport Authority. Because the geological bedrock does not allow the building of underground railways, the tramway is an important form of public transport. The Transport Authority operates twelve lines on a 200 km network.[56] Many of the new low-floor vehicles are up to 45 metres long and produced by Bombardier Transportation in Bautzen. While many of the system's lines are on reserved track (often sown with grass to avoid noise), many tracks still run on the streets, especially in the inner city.

The CarGoTram is a tram that supplies Volkswagen's Transparent Factory, crossing the city. The transparent factory is located not far from the city centre next to the city's largest park.[57]

Public utilities

The Sächsische Staatskanzlei (Saxon State Office) is the institution assisting the Minister-President in a similar way to the German Chancellery

Dresden is the capital of a German Land (federal state). It is home to the Landtag of Saxony[58] and the ministries of the Saxon Government. The controlling Constitutional Court of Saxony is in Leipzig. The highest Saxon court in civil and criminal law, the Higher Regional Court of Saxony, has its home in Dresden.[59]

Most of the Saxon state authorities are located in Dresden. Dresden is home to the Regional Commission of the Dresden Regierungsbezirk, which is a controlling authority for the Saxon Government. It has jurisdiction over eight rural districts, two urban districts and the city of Dresden.

Like many cities in Germany, Dresden is also home to a local court, has a trade corporation and a Chamber of Industry and Trade and many subsidiaries of federal agencies (such as the Federal Labour Office or the Federal Agency for Technical Relief). It also hosts some subdepartments of the German Customs and the eastern Federal Waterways Directorate.

Dresden is also home to a military subdistrict command but no longer has large military units as it did in the past. Dresden is the traditional location for army officer schooling in Germany, today carried out in the Offizierschule des Heeres.


Factories of AMD
The International Congress Centre Dresden

In 1990 Dresden — an important industrial centre of the German Democratic Republic — had to struggle with the economic collapse of the Soviet Union and the other export markets in Eastern Europe. The German Democratic Republic had been the richest eastern bloc country but was faced with competition from the Federal Republic of Germany after reunification. After 1990 a completely new law and currency system was introduced in the wake of the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and eastern Germany's infrastructure was largely rebuilt with funds from the Federal Republic of Germany. Dresden as a major urban centre has developed much faster and more consistently than most other regions in the former German Democratic Republic, but the city still faces many social and economic problems stemming from the collapse of the former system, including high unemployment levels.

Until famous enterprises like Dresdner Bank left Dresden in the communist era to avoid nationalisation, Dresden was one of the most important German cities. The period of the GDR until 1990 was characterised by low economic growth in comparison to western German cities. The enterprises and production sites broke down almost completely as they entered the social market economy. Since then the economy of Dresden has been recovering.

The unemployment rate fluctuates between 13% and 15% and is still relatively high.[60] Nevertheless, Dresden has developed faster than the average for Eastern Germany and has raised its GDP per capita to 31,100 euro, equal to the GDP per capita of some poor West German communities (the average of the 50 biggest cities is around 35,000 euro).[61]

The economy of Dresden involves extensive public funding. Thanks to extensive public funding of technology, the proportion of highly-qualified workers is around 20%.[62] Dresden is ranked among the best ten cities in Germany to live in.[62]


Three major sectors dominate Dresden's economy:

The semiconductor industry was built up in 1969. Major enterprises today are AMD's spin-off GlobalFoundries, Infineon Technologies , ZMD and Toppan Photomasks. Their factories attract many suppliers of material and cleanroom technology enterprises to Dresden.

The pharmaceutical sector came up at the end of the 19th century. The Sächsisches Serumwerk Dresden (Saxon Serum Plant, Dresden), owned by GlaxoSmithKline, is a world leader in vaccine production. Another traditional pharmaceuticals producer is Arzneimittelwerke Dresden (Pharmaceutical Works, Dresden).

A third (traditional) branch is that of mechanical and electrical engineering. Major employers are the Volkswagen Transparent Factory, EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke (Elbe Aircraft Works), Siemens and Linde-KCA-Dresden.

Tourism is another sector of the economy enjoying high revenue and many employees. There are 87 hotels in Dresden, a noted site for heritage tourism.


The media in Dresden include two major newspapers: the Sächsische Zeitung (Saxonian Newspaper, circulation around 300,000) and the Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (Dresden's Latest News, circulation around 50,000). Dresden has a broadcasting centre belonging to the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. The Dresdner Druck- und Verlagshaus (Dresden printing plant and publishing house) produces part of Spiegel's print run, among other newspapers and magazines.

Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden

Education and science


Dresden is home to a number of renowned universities, but among German cities it is a more recent location for academic education.

Other universities include the "Hochschule für Kirchenmusik", a school specialising in church music, the "Evangelische Hochschule für Sozialarbeit", an education institution for social work. The "Dresden International University" is a private postgraduate university, founded a few years ago in cooperation with the Dresden University of Technology.

Research institutes

Dresden also hosts many research institutes, some of which have gained an international standing. The domains of most importance are micro- and nanoelectronics, transport and infrastructure systems, material and photonic technology, and bio-engineering. The institutes are well connected among one other as well as with the academic education institutions.

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

The Max Planck Society focuses on fundamental research. In Dresden there are three Max Planck Institutes (MPI); the "MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics", the "MPI for Chemical Physics of Solids" and the "MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems"

The Fraunhofer Society hosts institutes of applied research that also offer mission-oriented research to enterprises. With eleven institutions or parts of institutes, Dresden is the largest location of the Fraunhofer Society worldwide.[65] The Fraunhofer Society has become an important factor in locatino decisions and is seen as a useful part of the "knowledge infrastructure".

The Leibniz-Gemeinschaft operates a research centre in Rossendorf, which is the largest complex of research facilities in Dresden, a short distance outside the urban areas. It still focuses on nuclear medicine. The "Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research"[66] and the "Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research"[67] are both in the material and high-technology domain, while the "Leibniz Institute for Ecological and Regional Development" is focused on more fundamental research into urban planning.

Higher secondary education

Dresden has 21 Gymnasien which prepare for a tertiary education. Five are private. The "Sächsisches Landesgymnasium für Musik" with a focus on music is supported by the State of Saxony, rather than by the city. There are some Berufliche Gymnasien which combine vocational education and secondary education and a Abendgymnasium which prepares higher education of adults avocational.[68]



  • Dresden: Tuesday, 13 February 1945 by Frederick Taylor, 2005; ISBN 0-7475-7084-1
  • Dresden and the Heavy Bombers: An RAF Navigator's Perspective by Frank Musgrove, 2005; ISBN 1-84415-194-8
  • Return to Dresden by Maria Ritter, 2004; ISBN 1-57806-596-8
  • Dresden: Heute/Today by Dieter Zumpe, 2003; ISBN 3-7913-2860-3
  • Destruction of Dresden by David Irving, 1972; ISBN 0-345-23032-9
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, 1970; ISBN 0-586-03328-9
  • "Disguised Visibilities: Dresden/"Dresden" by Mark Jarzombek in Memory and Architecture, Ed. By Eleni Bastea, (University of Mexico Press, 2004).
  • Preserve and Rebuild: Dresden during the Transformations of 1989-1990. Architecture, Citizens Initiatives and Local Identities by Victoria Knebel, 2007; ISBN 978-3-631-55954-3
  • La tutela del patrimonio culturale in caso di conflitto Fabio Maniscalco (editor), 2002; ISBN 88-87835-18-7


  1. ^ State Office for statistics of the Free State of Saxony. "Population of Saxon cities and communities (tentative)". Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  2. ^ quoting Federal Statistics Office. "Principal Agglomerations (of Germany)". Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  3. ^ Region Dresden. "Statistical data of the Dresden Region". Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  4. ^ Designated by article 2 of the Saxon Constitution
  5. ^ Region Sachsendreieck: Map of the Sachsendreieck (Saxon triangle)
  6. ^ "Bridge takes Dresden off Unesco world heritage list | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  7. ^ a b "Prehistoric times". Retrieved April 24, 2007.
  8. ^ Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam: Man-animal relationships in the Early Neolithic of Dresden (Saxony, Germany)
  9. ^ a b Fritz Löffler, Das alte Dresden, Leipzig 1982, p.20
  10. ^ Geschichtlicher Hintergrund des Jubiläums “600 Jahre Stadtrecht Altendresden” (German)
  11. ^ Dresden in the Time of Zelenka and Hasse
  12. ^ Rüdiger Nern, Erich Sachße, Bert Wawrzinek. Die Dresdner Albertstadt. Dresden, 1994; Albertstadt – sämtliche Militärbauten in Dresden. Dresden, 1880
  13. ^ Air Force Historical Studies Office: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN including a list of all bombings
  14. ^ Bergander, Götz. Dresden im Luftkrieg: Vorgeschichte-Zerstörung-Folgen, p. 251 ff. Verlag Böhlau 1994, ISBN 3412101931
  15. ^ The bombing of Dresden by the British and US forces is largely overlooked by historians. However, many perceive the actions of the RAF in particular to be as a direct retaliation for the destruction brought upon the ancient city of Coventry, whose medieval center was destroyed in earlier raids by the Luftwaffe. The bombing raid destroyed the 500 year old Cathedral along with almost all of the ancient centre of the city."BBC ON THIS DAY | 14 | 1945: Thousands of bombs destroy Dresden". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  16. ^ BBC: Up to 25,000 died in Dresden's WWII bombing - report, 18 March 2010
  17. ^ name="USAFHSO_Analysis">Air Force Historical Studies Office: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN including a list of all bombings
  18. ^ Addison, Paul & Crang, Jeremy A. (eds.). Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden. Pimlico, 2006. ISBN 1-8441-3928-X. Chapter 9 p.194
  19. ^ "On Dresden Anniversary, Massive Protest Against Neo-Nazi March | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 14.02.2009".,,4030017,00.html?maca=en-DKpartner_yg_infomix_en-2315-xml-mrss. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  20. ^ "Geh Denken - Startseite". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  21. ^ Dresden Elbe Valley, UNESCO World Heritage Register. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  22. ^ a b Dresden loses UNESCO world heritage status, Deutsche Welle, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  23. ^ a b Bridge takes Dresden off Unesco world heritage list, The Guardian, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  24. ^ (German) Weltkulturerbe: Unesco-Titel in Gefahr, Focus, 14 March 2007; accessed 15 May 2007
  25. ^ Dresden is deleted from UNESCO’s World Heritage List, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 04 July 2009.
  26. ^ Location, area, geographical data
  27. ^ a b c List of cities in Germany with more than 100,000 inhabitants
  28. ^ Regionales Entwicklungskonzept Dresden: Map of Greater Dresden
  29. ^ Dresden: Dresden—a Green city
  30. ^ Deutscher Wetterdienst: Average of the period from 1961 to 1990
  31. ^ a b Dresden: Einwohnerzahl
  32. ^ Statistical office of the Free State of Saxony: Population and area of Saxony from 1815 on
  33. ^ Dresden: Population
  34. ^ Statistical office of the Free State of Saxony: Sachsen sind im Durchschnitt 45 Jahre alt - Dresdner am jüngsten, Hoyerswerdaer am ältesten (german)
  35. ^ Gemeindeordnung für den Freistaat Sachsen (SächsGemO), §2
  36. ^ City Council
  37. ^ Dresden: City Council
  38. ^
  39. ^ UNESCO: World Heritage Committee threatens to remove Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany) from World Heritage List
  40. ^ Dresden: Selling of the WOBA Dresden GmbH (German)
  41. ^ Sport1
  42. ^ "Dresden - Partner Cities". © 2008 Landeshauptstadt Dresden. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  43. ^ "Official portal of City of Skopje - Skopje Sister Cities". © 2006-2009 City of Skopje. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  44. ^ Staff, Hamburg und seine Städtepartnerschaften (Hamburg sister cities), Hamburg's official website [1],, retrieved 2008-08-05  (German)
  45. ^ Semperoper: History of the Sächsische Staatskapelle
  46. ^ Staatsoperette Dresden
  47. ^ Kreuzchor
  48. ^ Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: Museums
  49. ^ Deutsches Hygiene-Museum: Deutsches Hygiene-Museum – The Museum of Man
  50. ^ State Museum of Prehistory
  51. ^ Dresden: Monument preservation
  52. ^ Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: The History of the Royal Palace
  53. ^ Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: History of the Zwinger and Semperbau
  54. ^ Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen: Kathedrale Ss. Trinitatis in Dresden
  55. ^ Evangelisch-Lutherische Kreuzkirchgemeinde Dresden: History of the Church of the Holy Cross
  56. ^ Dresden Transport Authority: Profile
  57. ^ Dresden Transport Authority: CarGoTram
  58. ^ Sächsischer Landtag
  59. ^ Oberlandesgericht Dresden
  60. ^ Bundesagentur für Arbeit: Data and time series of the German labour market
  61. ^ State Office for Statistics of the Free State of Saxony: Regional GDPs of 2004
  62. ^ a b Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (organisation of an employer association): [2]
  63. ^ Technische Universität Dresden: Profile of the TU Dresden
  64. ^ University of Applied Sciences Dresden: press notice to the 2006 matriculation
  65. ^ Fraunhofer Society: Institutes
  66. ^ IPF
  67. ^ IFW
  68. ^ Official Dresden City Webpage

External links


Important institutions

Tourism and business

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Dresden's most famous landmark, the Frauenkirche in winter.
Dresden's most famous landmark, the Frauenkirche in winter.

Dresden [1] is the capital of the German federal state of Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen). Located on the Elbe River, it is an industrial, governmental, and cultural center, known worldwide for the Bruehl's Terrace and its historic landmarks in the Old Town (Altstadt).

The Semper Opera.
The Semper Opera.

Dresden became a city in 1206 and recently celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006.

It was home to many Saxon princes and kings, the most famous of them being August der Starke (Augustus the Strong), whose kingdom included Poland as well. They apertained to the family of the Wettiner and were closely related to many other European royal families. Many buildings date from their reign and especially the rich art collections are testimony of their extreme wealth. The "Madonna Sixtina" was for instance bought by the son of August the Strong. The last Saxon king abdicated in 1918.

The historical center of Dresden was 75% destroyed in a terrible bombing on February 13 and 14, 1945 by allied forces. The date is deeply marked in the history of the city and is still remembered each year in processions and ceremonies. The destruction of the priceless art treasures that made the city world famous was and is felt as a wound to the soul of the people. More than 30,000 people died in the bombing - the exact number is unknown - as the city was full of refugees and many burnt completely in the firestorm.

The ruin of the now rebuilt Frauenkirche acted as a call for peace among the different nations of the world.

The historical center is nowadays largely restored to its former glory, however some parts are still under reconstruction.

Dresden December 2003
Dresden December 2003

Dresden has about ten million tourists a year, most of them from Germany. The Zwinger was rebuilt in 1964, the Semper Opera house in 1985, and the now most famous landmark of Dresden, the Frauenkirche, in 2005. When asked what they like most about their city, Dresden citizens will reply Old Town (which is quite compact, even though it has a lot of well-known attractions and museums of worldwide meaning), Dresden-Neustadt (an alternative central quarter) and the surroundings like the wine town Radebeul, the climbing area Saxon Switzerland, lots of castles, and most of the city landscape of about 80 quarters.

The level of international tourism is growing, especially from the US and China. Dresden is a stop between Prague and Berlin. Architecturally, Blasewitz is the most interesting living quarter, despite it being a hilly landscape.

The city can look a bit gloomy, as most of the pre-war buildings are still black and burnt, but this also is one of the attractions of the city, as there is no place in Europe where evidence of WW2 is so visible.

Get in

By plane

Dresden-Klotzsche Airport [2] is located north of the city and can be reached by bus (line 77 and 97) and tram line 7 (change for the bus at tram station Karl-Marx-Straße). Even faster is the connection with local train lines (S-Bahn).

Flights leave to nearly all important German cities and a few European destinations, like Moskau, Zurich and Vienna. The emergence of low-frills airlines Germanwings [3] and Air Berlin [4] has led to reduced fares to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich. Lufthansa [5] operates to most domestic destinations. Air Berlin [6] also offers flights to and from Rome and Barcelona.

By train

Dresden is served by two big train stations, one on the northern side of the Elbe, Dresden Neustadt, and one on the southern side of the Elbe, Dresden Hauptbahnhof or main train station. Be sure to check if your train is really leaving/going to Dresden Hauptbahnhof or to Dresden Neustadt.

The main train station is situated at the southern end of Dresden's main shopping street, Prager Straße, and in short walking distance from most central attractions in Old Town. It is very well connected with the local bus and tram network and can be reached very quickly from nearly everywhere, also at night time. Trains to nearby towns, such as Meissen and Pirna run till around midnight. Regular trains leave the main train station for the rest of Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) and to Prague and Budapest.

The other big train station called Dresden-Neustadt is located just north of the New Town and also offers very good train connections, as most trains run through there, too. Some trains even terminate there and not at the main train station. Dresden-Neustadt is also easily accessible by tram or car.

By car

Dresden can be reached without problems by car from the rest of Germany. It is well connected with the German highway system and a new Autobahn to Prague has been finished recently except there is a part that still requires a detour of about 10-20 km. Expect a delay on your time schedule.

Get around


In the center, especially in the historic part in Old Town (Altstadt), everything is easily accessible by foot. Note that the city center is not the geographical center of the city.

By bus and tram

There is a combined system of tram (called Straßenbahn), bus and even train, but no subway. It works very well and connects all points of interest, but can be a little busy at peak times. Most lines even run at night time, of course with less capacity at night. This allows you to go out to most places or restaurants without the necessity to use a car, including to far flung places like Pillnitz. See Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe [7].

Best is to get yourself a Day Ticket or for families, a Family Day Ticket. It allows you to ride on all trams, buses, most ferries and trains (except InterCitys and ICEs). It is relatively cheap and valid until the next day at 4:00AM. You can also get a ticket limited to an hour and some others, but Day Tickets are good if you are traveling around and not sure where you will be going and what you will be doing.

As with most places in Germany, the public transit operates on the honor system: you are assumed to have a ticket, and there are a few inspectors out spot checking. The exception is on the buses after 8PM, when the drivers are required to see all tickets.

By car

The street network is very good and many roads have been refurbished recently, especially in the city center. As in all bigger towns it can be a bit crowded during rush hours. There are many parking lots in downtown Dresden and it should not be a problem to find a place to park, despite on Saturdays when everyone goes to town for shopping. A number of automatic signs have been created, showing you the available number of free parking spaces, before entering the parking lots. Shops are open from around 10:00AM to 8:00 PM and you will see a lot of tourists and locals going shopping in the city center. Please beware of them when driving and note that this is the time with the fewest available parking spots. Car drivers might seem to be a little more aggressive than in other countries, but are usually more friendly if you don't have a local registration number.

By bicycle

Bikes are the fastest thing in rush hour traffic if going a short to medium distance and if you're in good condition and not afraid of traffic and pedestrians. Bikes are also good for longer distances as they can be carried (with a separate ticket) in trams. There are many designated cycle paths (marked red on pavements, or with a white bike symbol on a blue background) and it is most times very easy to find a place to park your bike. But as anywhere else, always use a good lock! Much of the older streets of Dresden (particularly in the northern, Neustadt area) still have a cobblestone surface: not the most comfortable riding surface! Also, cobblestone is relatively slippery, compared to asphalt or concrete: care should be taken when riding in wet conditions.

Alternative transport

Dresden has a lot of biketaxis [8], mostly operating around the Old Town. They offer the typical (short distance) taxi service as well as guided city tours. Since 2007 there are also horse carriages that offer touristic sightseeing.

One can also make use of the many bus tour operators. Tickets for these tours can be bought around the old town from various points.


Dresden is a very beautiful, lightspirited city, especially in summer, when you can appreciate the serene setting of the historic center. Although Dresden is larger than Munich when measured by area, the historic center is quite compact and walkable. Be sure to check out these places while in Dresden.

  • Zwinger Palace [9].
    The baroque palace features a nympheum, many sculptures of Permoser, a bell pavilion and famous art collections. Do not miss the "Alte Meister" - you'll find the famous Madonna Sistina of Rafael there including the well known angels. There is also a very nice museum on the arms of Saxon kings, the "Rüstkammer". Entry is free to the palace but some collections like the porcelain exhibition have an entry fee.
  • Semperoper [10] The building is well worth visiting, as it is one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. The acoustics and the orchestra, the Staatskapelle, are marvelous. Its history saw many operas of Wagner and Strauss having their first nights there. Nowadays productions are of lower quality and follow the German "Regietheater" fashion. Make sure to inquire about the production in advance, or you might have unpleasant surprises. Make sure to also book tickets in advance. Some last-minute tickets are available from the box office shortly before the performance starts. Seats which do not have a good view are very cheap, and you can sit on benches behind the seats, right at the top of the auditorium, for free. When there is no rehearsal or performance, the opera offers an interesting tour behind the scenes (7 euro, €3.50 reduced and a €2 photography pass, but they don't check if you have it).
Semper Opera stage
Semper Opera stage
  • Frauenkirche[11] The reconstructed Church of Our Lady was completely destroyed during WWII, and has now been reopened. The City of Coventry, which was raided by the Luftwaffe in WWII, donated the golden cross for the dome of the church. Check out some ruins in the basement. Do not miss the tower visit and bring good shoes to climb in (otherwise you will not be admitted in!).
  • Fürstenzug This biggest porcelain painting of the world shows (almost) all Saxon princesses and kings on their horses and splendid parade uniforms. It leads to the "Stallhof" - the last preserved tournament place contained in a European castle. In Winter, Fürstenzug is the location of a very romantic Christmas market with a big fireplace.
  • Albertinum Museum [12]. The collections of "Neue Meister" feature a wonderful collection ranging from romantic painters (Caspar David Friedrich etc.) up to Rotloff and Van Gogh.
  • Gläserne Manufaktur [13] Lennestr. 1, 01069 Dresden, Mon-Sun 8AM-8PM, tel. 018-05-89-6268, The transparent factory is the site where Volkswagen builds its luxury sedan Phaeton. There is a tour (English language) offered by Volkswagen (4 euro, €2 reduced).
  • Schloss und Grünes Gewölbe [14]. The Green Vault is Europe's most splendid treasure chamber museum. You can see the biggest green diamond and the court of Aurengzeb and its precious crown jewels.
  • Staatliche Kunstsammlungen This website provides a comprehensive overview of all important museums in Dresden: [15]
  • Kassematten under the Brühlsche Terrasse (the terrace at the Elbe river) are the remains of the old fort. Gives you a glimse of what a fort in a medieval European town was like.
  • Schwebebahn Dresden - a unique aerial tramway.
  • Museum of Mineralogy[16] One of Dresden's most important museums.
  • Dresden History Museum[17]
  • Neue Synagoge, Hasenberg 2.  edit
  • Elbe valley This used to be on the UNESCO World Heritage List, until the government decided to build a four-lane highway Waldschlösschen Bridge through the heart of it [18]. So now it is known as "one of only two un-UNESCO'd sites in the world" still a tourist attraction.
The golden statue of King August the Great in the Neustadt
The golden statue of King August the Great in the Neustadt
  • Dresden Neustadt -- Very nice, lively part of the town. From heavy alternative style in the 90s it has become more and more "pseudo-exclusive" and expensive. But still you can still find some of the older ways. Check out the Bunte Republik Neustadt festival in June. But you shouldn't leave your bicycle unattended without a good lock, as there can be a serious risk of damage to your bicycle as well as your car, especially on weekend nights.
  • Elbwiesen (River Banks): Go to the (mostly) green river banks, especially in hot summer evenings/nights for a very nice view of the old parts and lot of people playing sports, having barbecues and parties. There are often big concerts and a huge movie screen offers "outdoor cinema."
A frontal view of Großer Garden
A frontal view of Großer Garden
  • Großer Garten (Big Garden): Recommended for relaxing and sports (rollerblades are very common). It is Dresden's "green lung" and can be reached easily by tram. You can also go on a ride on a miniature train through the park.
  • Kunsthofpassage [19] It is a passage in the middle of Neustadt where you may find two different buildings, many little stores and some bars.
  • Erich-Kästner-Museum[20] Architectural concept museum.
  • Military Historic Museum Has many items and machines regarding military in history. A must for the interested. Easily accessible with tram lines 7 and 8 and bus line 91 at stop "Stauffenbergallee". It is free of charge.
  • The Artists' Court A nice complex of inner courtyards artistically decorated. The complex offers art galleries as well as coffee shops.
  • Weber Museum[21] Dedicated to the Dresdner most famous composer.
  • German Hygene Museum[22] Near the Big Garden. A comprehensive museum dedicated to hygene in various times and cultures.
  • Pfunds Molkerei[23] is a milk store which is in the Guinness Book as the most beautiful milk store in the world, which is decorated with 247.90 square meters of handmade tiles.
  • Japanisches Palais [24], on the north bank of the Elbe between Augusbrücke and Marienbrücke. The palace was bombed out, and in its partially restored state holds several small museums, including the museum of natural history of the region, museum of prehistory and a display of assorted exotic garments (ethnological collection).
  • Kuegelgenhaus - Museum of Dresdener Romantic Art[25]
  • Kunsthaus Dresden[26] An exhibition hall for contemporary art.
  • Leonhardi Museum[27] A private art collection of DDR art including works by the collector himself.
  • City Gallery of Dresden[28] Art from the 16th Century to the present day.


Dresden is host to a number of worldwide known events, often unique or the biggest of their kind:

  • The Striezelmarkt is Germany's oldest Christmas market. It takes place from the last days of November until Christmas. Actually located at the Altmarkt, all kinds of shops and Glühwein Buden (mobile cafes selling mulled wine - delicious!) now stretch through the whole city center during this period.
  • The Dixieland Festival [29] is Europe's biggest Jazz Festival. It normally takes place within the second week of May (from May 10-14 in 2006) and attracts bands and visitors from all over Europe, America and the world. A great deal of the music is played on the top decks of paddleboats in front of the Old Stadt.
  • The Filmnächte take place from June to August at the banks of the Elbe, just across the castle on the other side of the river. A huge movie screen offers cinema in a beautiful setting and there are also many concerts with popular stars. Again, it is the biggest event of its kind in Europe!
One of the many paddle steamers operating on the river Elbe
One of the many paddle steamers operating on the river Elbe

Go on a tour through town or visit one of the many events.

Stroll around the Großer Garten (Great Garden). Only a few minutes from the city center, this beautiful big garden with a little castle in its middle is used by many locals to relax, walk around, go rollerblading or rowing in small boats on the Carolasee.

Go on a tour with one of the old paddle-steamers [30]. It is a really great experience. Best start your tour from the main pier at the castle and go down to Meissen or up to Pillnitz or the Saxon Switzerland.

An evening out in the Semper Opera is an unforgettable experience, but be sure to book in advance.

A view of the Saxon Switzerland mountains
A view of the Saxon Switzerland mountains

The city is also home to many good sport clubs. Examples are the Dresden Monarchs (American Football - German Football League) [31], Dynamo Dresden (Soccer) [32], Dresdner Eislöwen (Ice Hockey - Second National League) and the Dresdner SC (Volleyball women - First National League) [33]

Shop in the main shopping area, downtown Dresden.
Shop in the main shopping area, downtown Dresden.

The main shopping district in Dresden extends from Ferdinandplatz to the west of Sankt-Petersburger Straße northwest to about Wilsdruffer Straße (search for Altmarkt). At the south end (Ferdinandplatz) is a cinema, a couple of restaurants, and a huge Karstadt department store (which also sells groceries). On the north end is a covered mall.

In the Äußere Neustadt area (north/east of Albertplatz), many small shops provide books, vinyl records and clothing.

The Innere Neustadt (between Albertplatz and Elbe, mainly Haupstraße and Königstraße) is rather on a medium-to-fancy level.


Within the historic center and especially around the Frauenkirche are a number of restaurants, serving many different tastes. Be aware, most of these are overpriced, and the quality is often low. On the north bank of the Elbe River is the Neustadt, which accounts for most of the trendy pubs, bars and clubs, and the majority of the restaurants in the city. You will generally have better luck finding decent food for a reasonable price north of Albertplatz in Neustadt.

The eastern part of the city, toward the Blaues Wunder, has a lower density of restaurants than Neustadt, and they tend to also serve as cafés, and the food is generally tasteful and cheap.

When in Germany make sure to try a specialty that is not regarded particularly as German at first sight. Today, doner kebab is typically served as a kind of sandwich in pita (flat bread). This type of doner kebab has been available in Istanbul since about 1960. The doner kebab with salad and sauce served in pita, which is predominant in Germany and the rest of the world, was invented in Berlin Kreuzberg in the early 1970s, because the original preparation was not appealing enough to the German taste. Therefore, as the "modern" kebab is very dissimilar to the traditional dish except by name, it can be argued that the kebab as most people know it is a "traditional" German dish. When in Dresden you can probably get the best kebabs at Babos [34] and at Dürum Kebap Haus [35] (Rothenburger Straße 41 - 01099 Dresden or Prager-Straße 32 - 01069 Dresden). A typical dish including a large drink should be around 5-6€.

The next step above doner kebab is generally Italian. There are a certain number of ethnic restaurants scattered through the city, and if you go out to the eastern part of town, you will find lots of charming cafés and Volkshäuser that serve good food.

  • Afro-Hütte , Lausitzer 35, Phone [0]351 / 26212, Deutsches Essen, 5-10 Euro/ person,
  • Anita , Mühlenstrasse 67, Phone [0]351 / 24493, Italian food, 10-15 Euro/ person,
  • Antica , Hohenzollerndamm 64, Phone [0]351 / 9652, Deutsches Essen, Less than €30, Open Mon-Sat from 10AM - 11 PM,
  • Athen, Schönhauser 94, Phone [0]351 / 1635, Greek cuisine, more than €5 for a snack
  • Britzer , Fasanenstrasse 17, Phone [0]351 / 20680, Deutsches Essen, voted best deli in town Open Mon-Sat from 7PM - 12 PM
  • Brühlsche Terrasse This terrace is adjacent to the river Elbe and various restaurants are to be found there - especially in summer time this a wonderful place to be. The view and the drinks are very pleasant.
  • Engelbrecht , Damaschkestrasse 87, Phone [0]351 / 5211, Deutsches Essen, more than €5 for a snack
  • Golden Tweenis, Alter markt 85, Phone [0]351 / 27228, Deutsches Essen, more than €20
  • Havana, Alexanderplatz 109, Phone [0]351 / 20535, Serves international food, for 5-10 Euro/ person, Open Mon-Sun from 12PM - 11 PM
  • India King, Sophienstrasse 45, Phone [0]351 / 11301, Expensive Indian restaurant
  • Italienisches Dörfchen One of the most stylish places in town - the baroque pavilion features various restaurants decorated with old paintings and furniture. The prices are higher than elsewhere, but still affordable. Go for the cakes!
  • Little Africa, Mehringdamm 93, Phone [0]351 / 25344, Serves international food and gets a relatively young crowd, Open Mon-Sun from 5PM - 11 PM
  • Maredo , Fasanenstrasse 17, Phone [0]351 / 7922, Serves international food, light fare for €10/person,
  • Merz , Kochstrasse 85, Phone [0]351 / 908, Deutsches Essen, light fare for 10-15 Euro/ person, Open Mon-Sun from 10AM - 12 AM,
  • Mona , Blissestrasse 25, Phone [0]351 / 6914, Deutsches Essen, Where the locals go. Open Mon-Sat from 10AM - 11 PM
  • Münzgasse If you come as the tourist this is the place to go - lying directly beside the Frauenkirche. The little street is full of restaurants, from glamorous and expensive (for instance the Coselpalais) to the cheaper ones.
  • Petit , Rheinstrasse 59, Phone [0]351 / 9010, French cuisine, More than €5 for a snack. Open Mon-Sun from 5PM - 11 PM
  • Roter Ochs, Lindenweg 15, Phone [0]351 / 27587, Deutsches Essen, Large meals for €15, Open Mon-Sun from 10AM - 12 AM,
  • Saigon, Grossgörschenstrasse 103, Phone [0]351 / 21650, Thai food, weekdays lunch time is half price Open Mon-Sun from 4PM - 11 PM
  • Schützenhaus This little farmhouse-restaurant is not so easy to find. It lies behind the "Herzogin Garten" (which is a ruin) and behind the opera-house. The large Biergarden is a very relaxing place, has good food and good prices and is very pleasant. If you are vegetarian try the adjacent "Brennessel".
  • Die Scheune "The barn" is a restaurant with a large Biergarden in an alternative style - do not be shocked by the punks in front - they are decor. In warm summer nights you will have trouble to find a free place. Good prices.
  • Raskolnikoff The formerly very alternative restaurant now features sand on the floors, a red lamp in front of the door and a very nice garden with a fountain. Again - in summer it is difficult to get in. Food and prices are good. Böhmischestrasse, close to the Lutherkirche.
  • Vecchia Napoli, Alaunstrasse 33, phone 0351/8029055, [36]. A good Italian restaurant, with a wood fired pizza oven. You can get a pizza or pasta, or a full multicourse meal. Generally very busy, and the food is excellent. €15-40
  • Rosengarten, Carusufer 12, on the north bank of the Elbe at the edge of the park just east of Albertbrücke. A café bordering one of the public rose gardens of Dresden's riverside park, with plenty of outside seating in nice weather. The food is acceptable, but nothing special. The view is gorgeous. Worth a stop for a hot chocolate or an ice cream.
  • Brauhaus am Waldschlösschen, Am Brauhaus 8b, [37]. Traditional German cuisine with a taste of beer brewed on place. Located on a hill with a splendid view over Elbe riverside from the outside garden. The food is recommended for those wishing to experience what the German cuisine should taste like.
  • Amarena Capanna, Louisenstraße 30/Ecke Alaunstraße, on the southwest corner of this intersection, phone 0351-4969984. An Italian restaurant with a fake tropical hut and palm trees inside. €8-20
  • Devil's Kitchen, Alauenstraße [38], nice selection on burgers and other fast food with vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Alimentari , Knaackstrasse 85, Phone [0]351 / 22708, Italian food, generally gets a young crowd, Open Mon-Sat from 11AM - 11 PM,
  • Blaues Wunder, Gustav-Adolf-Strasse 11, Phone [0]351 / 20993, Italian food, More than €5 for a snack. Open Mon-Sun from 6PM - 12 AM,
  • Cafe Toscana, Schillerplatz 7 in the Blasewitz quarter, right by the Blaues Wunder bridge, phone 0351-3100744. This is a very pleasant café that includes a pastry shop and a restaurant. The cakes are gorgeous and will make you understand why the cafe is famous. The decor is fairly new, given the very long history of the place (it was called after Louise von Toscana, the run-away princess that divorced the Saxon king). The terrace however is very beautiful overlooking the river and the famous bridge "Das blaue Wunder". Generally it's full of locals, on Saturday afternoons, who come and admire the local old women chat; they're famous as the "Muttchens" . €8-20
  • Historisches Fischhaus, Fischhausstraße 14, on the road into the Albertpark to the northeast of the city, phone (0351) 89 91 00. [39] There has been a fish house here since the 16th century (specifically 1573), long enough for the road to be named for it.
  • Fischer's , Görlitzer 81, Phone [0]351 / 30434, deutsches Essen, 20-40 Euro/ person, without wine. Open Mon-Sun from 10AM - 11 PM,
  • Hellas7, Stollbergstr. 95, Phone [0]351 / 31992, Greek cuisine, More than €10/person, Open Mon-Sun from 10AM - 12 AM,
  • Pow , Exerzierstrasse 7, Phone [0]351 / 19102, Serves international food, More than €50/person, open Mon-Sat from 7PM - 12 AM
  • Volkshaus Laubegast, Laubegaster Ufer 22, right on the river, phone (0351) 2509377. A simple local eatery and café. The food tends to be things stereotypically German (schnitzel, sausages, and the like), and is generally good. Their fried potatos are excellent, though their green vegetables are overcooked. Has a nice view of the Elbe and outside seating. €10-20
  • Wiener Cafe Haus Richards, Schandauer Straße 94, phone 0351 2508614. An inward looking café with small, curtained windows, heavy wooden tables, and upholstered armchairs for seating. They have pictures of Mozart on the walls and his music playing in the background. A charming spot to stop for a snack. €5-15


The Neustadt is a very popular destination, especially for younger people. It has a high number of bars and clubs, with many different styles. Especially the area around Alberplatz is filled with places to go.

The area around the Frauenkirche and Dresden Castle is very popular with tourists. Some fine restaurants are located there.

The Weiße Gasse is just around the corner of the Altmarkt near the shopping center and the historical town. Good alternative, if you do not want to go to the Neustadt.

Bar Peanuts Brühlsche Terrasse, Dresden 01067, 351-864-2838, Located on the Brühlsche Terrasse, this small, cozy bar is located at the corner of the Hilton overlooking the Elbe. Peanut shells are scattered on the floor and as the name suggests, peanuts are the central theme. Cocktails and beer are the main draws here, along with the spectacular view.

Blue Note [40] Görlitzer Straße 2, Dresden 01099, 351 801-42-75, This is the Dresden Jazz point. In the web page you may find the schedule of concerts. There is always very good music. This is a place to sit and enjoy good music. The scotsch bar has very good drinks to enjoy during the concert.

Blumenau [41] Louisenstrasse 67, Dresden 01099, 351-31-51, This popular nightspot is considered one of the best in the city for its ambience, friendly service, and broad drink selection.

Bärenzwinger [42] Brühlscher Garten, Dresden 01067, 351-495-1409, This popular student club is a good choice for its full schedule of nightly activities, including readings, live music, and discussions.

Café 100 [43] Alaunstrasse 100, Dresden 01099, 351-801-7729, This full-service nightspot features a café, wine bar, and pub.

Café Europa [44] Königsbrücker Strasse 68, Dresden 01067, 351-389-923, This pleasant café and bar is a great choice for a pre-dinner cocktail or late-night snack. The café closes only one hour a day, so stop by any time. In addition to great drinks, the menu also features a full breakfast menu, which young locals and visitors appreciate after a late night on the town.

Café Hieronymous Louisenstrasse 10, Dresden 01099, 351-801-1739, This bar is a great place to relax with a nice local beer or a glass of wine. Live music is featured frequently. The crowd here is young, and the service is friendly.

Mona Lisa Louisenstrasse 77, Dresden 01099, 351-803-3151, This city center nightspot features a Mexican theme and a full menu, along with plenty of beers and well-mixed drinks.

Paulaner's Am Taschenberg 3, Dresden 01067, 351-491-2893, Fax 351-496-0175, This popular beer hall sells a selection of well-brewed local and regional favorites. A full menu is offered, and outside seating is available.

Planwirtschaft [45] Louisenstrasse 20, Dresden 01099, 351-801-3187, This quaint bar and restaurant is in a refurbished wine cellar. The drinks menu is extensive and served by an energetic staff.

Riesa efau [46] Adlergasse 14, Dresden 01067, 351-866-0222, Fax 351-866-0211, The pub is managed by a local events group and features a wide selection of drinks along with a regular slate of activities and entertainment. Good menu of regional beers and mixed drinks, as well as non-alcoholic drinks and coffees. Live music is frequently featured.



Youth Hostels - IYHF:

  • Jugendgästehaus Dresden, Maternistr. 22, (next to "World Trade Center" - train-stop "Freiberger Straße"); Tel. +49-351-492620, [47]. Starts at €19. Located a few minutes by foot from the historic city centre, opposite the World Trade Center.
  • Rudi Arndt, Hübnerstr. 11, Tel. +49-351-4710667, [48]. Only 900 meters form the Hauptbahnhof in the quiet Swiss Quarter. Includes two dining rooms, two seminar rooms, a club room, terrace and cellar bar. Prices starts at €15.

Youth Hostels - Private:

  • A&O Hostel, Strehlener Str. 10, Tel +49 (0)351469271 - 5900, [49]. Near the main train station, so it is very easy to get there and the prices are usually atractive.
  • Lollis Homestay, Görlitzer Str. 34, Tel. +49-351-8108458, [50]. Member of the I-hostels network [51]. This homey hostel offers a well equipped kitchen, nice rooms, and free (old) bike rental! The bikes come in handy because it's in the north area of the Neustadt. Very highly recommended!
  • Mondpalast, Louisenstraße 77, Tel. +49-351-5634050, [52]. Very clean and bright rooms starting at cheep 10 bed dorm rooms up to ensuite doubles with balcony and TV. Offers a lounge and bar, as well as a self service kitchen.
  • Ibis, [53] three of them in a row on Prager Straße, near the Hauptbahnhof. In addition to the standard rooms, the hotel offers studios for up to three persons and apartments for up to four persons.
  • Mercure, [54] Hamburger Strasse 64/68 01157, (+49)351/42520, Fax (+49)351/4252420. The Mercure Hotel Dresden Elbpromenade is on the outskirts of Dresden. It has 103 rooms boasting contemporary design and Wifi access, which is also available in the public areas.
  • Art'otel Dresden, Ostra-Allee 33, [55]. Contemporary art gallery hotel with restaurant and bar as well as a healthclub and free wi-fi access.
  • Luxushotel Suitess", *****L, A Member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, An der Frauenkirche, Tel 49-351-41727-0; Fax +49-351-41727-160 [56] Experience the gourmet terrace with its breath taking view to dome of the church of our lady "Frauenkirche".
  • Kempinski Taschenberg Palais, Taschenberg 3, Tel 49-351-4912-0; Fax +49-351-4912-812 [57]. One of the finest adresses in Dresden.
  • Hilton An der Frauenkirche 5; 01067 Dresden; Tel 49-351-86420; Fax 49-351-8642725. Next to Frauenkirche. Try to get a room with view on the Elbe river.

Stay safe

Dresden is very safe in general. You can also walk around the city center and most other parts late at night without having any worries. Simply enjoy the city. Unless you belong to an ethnic minority, especially in light of recent events (a Muslim woman was stabbed in a German court in Dresden after suing the perpetrator previously for calling her a terrorist).


Local telephone code is 0351. There are some Internet Cafés in the city center. One is at the Altmarkt, next to Subway and another is at the back of the "Altmarktgallerie" shopping center at the Altmarkt.


If you need medical attention, go to the Universitätsklinikum, Fetscherstraße 74, 01307 Dresden; Tel 49-351-458-2036. It's inexpensive (compared to others in the city), easy to get to (Augsburger Str. stop from the 12 or 6 tram line) and the doctors are well-trained and, most importantly, speak English well.

  • Bautzen, beautiful old city in the east (approx. 45 minutes with car via Autobahn and 1 hour by train)
  • Erzgebirge hiking and craftwork (Christmas)
  • Glashutte is the center of eastern German watch manufacturing, with various watch factories and a nice watch museum [58]. It is about 1 hour from Dresden by train, and part of the journey is beautiful, following a river through the mountains.
  • Königstein Fortress[59] One of the largest and best preserved late medeival fortresses in Europe. The fortress is situated about 30 km from Dresden and can be reached by almost all means of transportation. A trip on the river Elbe in one of the historic paddle-steamers of "Sächsische Dampfschifffahrt" is also highly recommended.
  • Leipzig is little more than one hour away by train
  • Meissen - medieval cathedral and castle and home to the first European porcelain factory.
  • Moritzburg - Beautiful castle that was once used when the kings went hunting
  • Pillnitz - the old garden and summer castle of the former Saxon kings. Follow the road along the Elbe eastwards or take a city bus to get there. Beautiful atmosphere. You might have pay in order to get in (around €2), but this issue is not yet fully resolved, as there are many people against it.
  • Prague is about two hours away
  • Radebeul - City west of Dresden with the world famous Karl May Museum and the four floor GDR museum.
  • Radeberg - a small town a short S-Bahn ride away from Dresden. Home of the Radeberger Brewery. They offer tours throughought the day for €6, including tasting at the end. [60] Phone ++49 3528 454 880.
  • Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz) upstream along the river Elbe is a national park for hiking and rock-climbing ([61] is available in English while [62] is the official site)
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DRESDEN, a city of Germany, capital of the kingdom of Saxony, 71 m. E.S.E. from Leipzig and iii m. S. from Berlin by railway. It lies at an altitude of 402 ft. above the Baltic, in a broad and pleasant valley on both banks of the Elbe. The prospect of the city with its cupolas, towers, spires and the copper green roofs of its palaces, as seen from the distance, is one of striking beauty. On the left bank of the river are the Altstadt (old town) with four old suburbs and numerous new suburbs, and the Friedrichstadt (separated from the Altstadt by a long railway viaduct); on the right, the Neustadt (new town), Antonstadt, and the modern military suburb Alberstadt. Five fine bridges connect the Altstadt and Neustadt. The beautiful central bridge - the Alte or Augustusbriicke - with 16 arches, built in 17 2 7-1731, and 1420 ft. long, has been demolished (1906) and replaced by a wider structure. Up-stream are the two modern Albert and Konigin Carola bridges, and, down-stream, the Marien and the Eisenbahn (railway) bridges. The streets of the Alstadt are mostly narrow and somewhat gloomy, those of the Neustadt more spacious and regular.

On account of its delightful situation and the many objects of interest it contains, Dresden is often called "German Florence," a name first applied to it by the poet Herder. The richness of its art treasures, the educational advantages it offers, and its attractive surroundings render it a favourite resort of people with private means. There are a large number of foreign residents, notably Austro-Hungarians and Russians, and also a considerable colony of English and Americans, the latter amounting to about 150o. The population of the city on the i st of December 1905 was 516,996, of whom 358,776 lived on the left bank (Altstadt) and 158,220 on the right (Neustadt). The royal house belongs to the Roman Catholic confession, but the bulk of the inhabitants are Lutheran Protestants.

Dresden is the residence of the king, the seat of government for the kingdom of Saxony, and the headquarters of the XII. (Saxon) Army Corps. Within two decades (1880-1900) the capital almost at a single bound advanced into the front rank of German commercial and industrial towns; but while gaining in prosperity it has lost much of its medieval aspect. Old buildings in the heart of the Altstadt have been swept away, and their place occupied by modern business houses and new streets. Among the public squares in the Altstadt must be mentioned the magnificent Theaterplatz, with a fine equestrian statue of King John, by Schilling; the Altmarkt, with a monument commemorative of the war of 1870-71; the Neumarkt, with a bronze statue of King Frederick Augustus II.,by E. J. Hahnel; the Postplatz, adorned by a Gothic fountain, by Semper; and the Bismarckplatz in the Anglo-American quarter. In the Neustadt are the market square, with a bronze equestrian statue of Augustus the Strong; the Kaiser Wilhelmplatz; and the Aibertplatz. The continuous Schloss-, Seeand Prager-Strasse, and the Wilsdrufferand K6nig Johann-Strasse are the main streets in the Altstadt, and the Hauptstrasse in the Neustadt.

The most imposing churches include the Roman Catholic Hofkirche, b. ilt (1739-1751) by C. Chiaveri, in rococo style, with a tower 300 ft. high. It contains a fine organ by Silbermann and pictures by Raphael Mengs and other artists, the outside being adorned with 59 statues by Mattielli. On the Neumarkt is the Frauenkirche, with a stone cupola rising to the height of 311 ft.; close to the Altmarkt, the Kreuzkirche, rebuilt after destruction by fire in 1897, also with a lofty tower surmounted by a cupola; and near the Postplatz the Sophienkirche, with twin spires. In the Neustadt is the Dreikonigskirche (dating from the 18th century) with a high pinnacled tower. Among more modern churches may be mentioned: in the Altstadt, the Johanneskirche, with a richly decorated interior; the Lukaskirche; and the Trinitatiskirche; and in the Neustadt, the Martin Luther-Kirche and the new garrison church. Apart from the chapels in the royal palaces, Dresden contains in all 32 churches, viz. 21 Evangelical, 6 Roman Catholic, a Reformed, a Russian, an English(erected byGilbert Scott) with a graceful spire, a Scottish (Presbyterian), and an American (Episcopal) church, the last a handsome building, with a pretty parsonage attached.

Of secular buildings, the most noteworthy are grouped in the Altstadt near the river. The royal palace, built in 1530-1535 by Duke George (and thus - called Georgenschloss), was thoroughly restored, and in some measure rebuilt between 1890 and 1902, in German Renaissance style, and is now an exceedingly handsome structure. The Georgentor has been widened, and through it, and beneath the royal apartments, vehicular traffic from the centre of the town is directed to the Augustusbriicke. The whole is surmounted by a lofty tower-387 ft. - the highest in Dresden. The interior is splendidly decorated. In the palace chapel are pictures by Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin, Guido Reni and Annibale Caracci. The adjoining Prinzen-Palais on the Taschenberg, built in 1715, has a fine chapel, in which are various works of S. Torelli; it has also a library of 20,000 volumes. The Zwinger, begun in 1711, and built in the rococo style, forms an enclosure, within which is a statue of King Frederick Augustus I. It was intended to be the vestibule to a palace, but now contains a number of collections of great value. Until 1846 it was open at the north side; but this space has since been occupied by the museum, a beautiful Renaissance building, the exterior of which is adorned by statues of Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Dante, Goethe and other artists and poets by Rietschel and Hahnel, and it contains the famous picture gallery. The Briihl palace, built in 1737 by Count Briihl, the minister of Augustus II., has been in some measure demolished to make room for the new Standehaus (diet house), with its main facade facing the Hofkirche; before the main entrance there is an equestrian statue (1906) of King Albert. Close by is the Briihl Terrace, approached by a fine flight of steps, on which are groups, by Schilling, representing Morning, Evening, Day and Night. The terrace commands a view of the Elbe and the distant heights of Loschwitz and the Weisser Hirsch, but the prospect has of late years become somewhat marred, owing to the extension of the town up the river and to the two new up-stream bridges. The Japanese palace in the Neustadt, built in 1715 as a summer residence for Augustus II., receives its name from certain oriental figures with which it is decorated; it is sometimes called the Augusteum and contains the royal library. Among other buildings of note is the Hof theatre, a magnificent edifice in the Renaissance style, built after the designs of Semper, to replace the theatre burnt in 1869, and completed in 1878. A new town hall of huge dimensions, also in German Renaissance, with an octagon tower 400 ft. in height, stands on the former southern ramparts of the inner town, close to the Kreuzkirche. In the Altstadt the most striking of the newer edifices is the Kunstakademie, constructed from designs by K. Lipsius in the Italian Renaissance style, 1890-1894. The Albertinum, formerly the arsenal, built in 1 5591563, was rebuilt 1884-1889, and fitted up as a museum of oriental and classical antiquities, and as the depository of the state archives. On the right bank of the Elbe in Neustadt stand the fine buildings of the ministries of war, of finance, justice, the interior and education. The public monuments of Dresden also include the Moritz Monument, a relief dedicated by the elector Augustus to his brother Maurice, a statue of Weber the composer by Rietschel, a bronze statue of Theodor Korner by Hahne', the Rietschel monument on the Briihl Terrace by Schilling, a bust of Gutzkow, and a statue of Bismarck on the promenade. In the suburbs which encircle the old town are to be noted the vast central Hauptbahnhof (1893-1898) occupying the site of the old Bohmischer railway station, the new premises of the municipal hospital and the Ausstellungs-Halle (exhibition buildings).

The chief pleasure-ground of Dresden is the Grosser Garten, in which there are a summer theatre, the Reitschel museum, and a chateau containing a museum of antiquities. The latter is composed chiefly of objects removed from the churches in consequence of the Reformation. Near the château is the zoological garden, formed in 1860, and excellently arranged. A little to the south of Dresden, on the left bank of the Elbe, is the village Racknitz, in which is Moreau's monument, erected on the spot where he was mortally wounded in 1813. The mountains of Saxon Switzerland are seen from this neighbourhood.

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Dresden owes a large part of its fame to its extensive artistic, literary and scientific collections. Of these the most valuable is its splendid picture gallery, founded by Augustus I. and increased by his successors at great cost. It is in the museum, and contains about 2500 pictures, being especially rich in specimens of the Italian, Dutch and Flemish schools. The gem of the collection is Raphael's "Madonna di San Sisto," for which a room is set apart. There is also a special room for the "Madonna" of the younger Holbein. Other paintings with which the name of the gallery is generally associated are Correggio's "La Notte" and "Mary Magdalene"; Titian's "Tribute Money" and "Venus"; "The Adoration" and "The Marriage in Cana," by Paul Veronese; Andrea del Sarto's "Abraham's Sacrifice"; Rembrandt's "Portrait of Himself with his Wife sitting on his Knee"; "The Judgment of Paris" and "The Boar Hunt," by Rubens; Van Dyck's "Charles I., his Queen, and their Children." Of modern painters, this magnificent collection contains masterpieces by Defregger, Vautier, Makart, Munkacsy, Fritz von Uhde, Bocklin, Hans Thoma; portraits by Leon Pohle, Delaroche and Sargent; landscapes by Andreas and Oswald Achenbach and allegorical works by Sascha Schneider. In separate compartments there are a number of crayon portraits, most of them by Rosalba Carriera, and views of Dresden by Canaletto and other artists. Besides the picture gallery the museum includes a magnificent collection of engravings and drawings. There are upwards of 400,000 specimens, arranged in twelve classes, so as to mark the great epochs in the history of art. A collection of casts, likewise in the museum, is designed to display the progress of plastic art from the time of the Egyptians and Assyrians to modern ages. This collection was begun by Raphael Mengs, who secured casts of the most valuable antiques in Italy, l 'some of which no longer exist.

The Japanese palace contains a public library of more than 400,000 volumes, with about 3000 MSS. and 20,000 maps. It is especially rich in the ancient classics, and in works bearing on literary history and the history of Germany, Poland and France. There are also a valuable cabinet of coins and a collection of ancient works of art. A collection of porcelain in the "Museum Johanneum" (which once contained the picture gallery) is made up of specimens of Chinese, Japanese, East Indian, Sevres and Meissen manufacture, carefully arranged in chronological order. There is in the same building an excellent Historical Museum. In the Griine Gewolbe (Green Vault) of the Royal Palace, so called from the character of its original decorations, there is an unequalled collection of precious stones, pearls and works of art in gold, silver, amber and ivory. The objects, which are about 3000 in number, are arranged in eight rooms. They include the regalia of Augustus II. as king of Poland; the electoral sword of Saxony; a group by Dinglinger, in gold and enamel, representing the court of the grand mogul Aurungzebe, and consisting of 132 figures upon a plate of silver 4 ft. 4 in. square; the largest onyx known, 63 in. by 24 in.; a pearl representing the dwarf of Charles II. of Spain; and a green brilliant weighing 40 carats. The royal palace also has a gallery of arms consisting of more than 2000 weapons of artistic or historical value. In the Zwinger are the zoological and mineralogical museums and a collection of instruments used in mathematical and physical science. Among other collections is that of the Korner museum with numerous reminiscences of the Goethe-Schiller epoch, and of the wars of liberation (1813-15), and containing valuable manuscripts and relics. Founded by Hofrath Dr Emil Peschel, it has passed into the possession of the city.


Dresden is the seat of a number of well-known scientific associations. The educational institutions are numerous and of a high order, including a technical high school (with about 1100 students), which enjoys the privilege of conferring the degrees of doctor of engineering, doctor of technical sciences, &c., a veterinary college, a political-economic institution (Gehestiftung), with library, a school of architects, a royal and four municipal gymnasia, numerous lower grade and popular schools, the royal conservatorium for music and drama, and a celebrated academy of painting. Dresden has several important hospitals, asylums and other charitable institutions.

Music and the Theatres

Besides the two royal theatres, Dresden possesses several minor theatres and music halls. The pride of place in the world of music is held by the orchestra attached to the court theatre. Founded by Augustus II., it has become famous throughout the world, owing to the masters who have from time to time been associated with it - such as Pair, Weber, Reissiger and Wagner. Symphony and popular concerts are held throughout the year in various public halls, and, during the winter, concerts of church music are frequently given in the Protestant Kreuzand Frauen-Kirchen, and on Sundays in the Roman Catholic church.

Communications and Industries

Dresden lies at the centre of an extensive railway system, which places it in communication with the chief cities of northern and central Germany as well as with Austria and the East. Here cross the grand trunk lines Berlin-Vienna, Chemnitz-Gorlitz-Breslau. It is connected by two lines of railway with Leipzig and by local lines with neighbouring smaller towns. The navigation on the Elbe has of recent years largely developed, and, in addition to trade by river with Bohemia and Magdeburg-Hamburg, there is a considerable pleasure-boat traffic during the summer months. The communications within the city are maintained by an excellent system of electric trams, which bring the more distant suburbs into easy connexion with the business centre. A considerable business is done on the exchange, chiefly in local industrial shares, and the financial institutions number some fifty banks, among them branches of the Reichs Bank and of the Deutsche Bank. Among the more notable industries may be mentioned the manufacture of china (see Ceramics), of gold and silver ornaments, cigarettes, chocolate, coloured postcards, perfumery, straw-plaiting, artificial flowers, agricultural machinery, paper, photographic and other scientific instruments. There are several great breweries; corn trade is carried on, and an extensive business is done in books and objects of art.


The environs of the city are delightful. To the north are the vine-clad hills of the LOssnitz commanding views of the valley of the Elbe from Dresden to Meissen; behind them, on an island in a lake, is the castle of Moritzburg, the hunting box of the king of Saxony. On the right bank of the Elbe, 3 m. above the city, lies the village of Loschwitz, where Schiller, in the summer of 1786, wrote the greater part of his Don Carlos: above it on the fringe of the Dresdner Heide, the climatic health resort Weisser-Hirsch; farther up the river towards Pirna the royal summer palace Pillnitz; to the south the Plauensche Grund, and still farther the Rabenauer Grund.


Dresden (Old Slav Drezga, forest, Drezgajan, forestdwellers), which is known to have existed in 1206, is of Slavonic origin, and was originally founded on the right bank of the Elbe, on the site of the present Neustadt, which is thus actually the old town. It became the capital of Henry the Illustrious, margrave of Meissen, in 1270, but belonged for some time after his death, first to Wenceslaus of Bohemia, and next to the margrave of Brandenburg. Early in the 14th century it was restored to the margrave of Meissen. On the division of Saxony in 1485 it fell to the Albertine line, which has since held it. Having been burned almost to the ground in 1491, it was rebuilt; and in the 16th century the fortifications were begunand gradually extended. John George II., in the 17th century, formed the Grosser Garten, and otherwise greatly improved the town; but it was in the first half of the 18th century, under Augustus I. and Augustus II., who were kings of Poland as well as electors of Saxony, that Dresden assumed something like its present appearance. The Neustadt, which had been burned down in the 17th century, was founded anew by Augustus I.; he also founded Friedrichstadt. The town suffered severely during the Seven Years' War, being bombarded in 1760. Some damage was also inflicted on it in 1813, when Napoleon made it the centre of his operations; one of the buttresses and two arches of the old bridge were then blown up. The dismantling of the fortifications had been begun by the French in ,810, and was gradually completed after 1817, the space occupied by them being appropriated to gardens and promenades. Many buildings were completed or founded by King Anthony, from whom Antonstadt derives its name. Dresden again suffered severely during the revolution of 1849, but all traces of the disturbances which then took place were soon effaced. In 1866 it was occupied by the Prussians, who did not finally evacuate it until the spring of the following year. Since that time numerous improvements have been carried out.

See Lindau, Geschichte der Hauptand Residenzstadt Dresden (2 vols., Dresden, 1884-1885); Prblss, Geschichte des Hoftheaters in Dresden (Dresden, 1877); Schumann, Fuhrer durch die konigl. Sammlungen zu Dresden (1903); Woerl, Rarer durch Dresden; Daniel, Deutschland (1894).

Battle Of Dresden. The battle of Dresden, the last of the great victories of Napoleon, was fought on the 26th and 27th of August 1813. The intervention of Austria in the War of Liberation, and the consequent advance of the Allies under the Austrian field-marshal Prince Schwarzenberg from Prague upon Dresden, recalled Napoleon from Silesia, where he was engaged against the Prussians and Russians under Blucher. Only by a narrow margin of time, indeed, was he able to bring back sufficient troops for the first day's battle. He detached a column under Vandamme to the mountains to interpose between Schwarzenberg and Prague (see Napoleonic Campaigns); the rest of the army pressed on by forced marches for Dresden, around which a position for the whole army had been chosen and fortified, though at the moment this was held by less than 20,000 men under Gouvion St Cyr, who retired thither from the mountains, leaving a garrison in Konigstein, and had repeatedly sent reports to the emperor as to the allied masses gathering to the southward. The battle of the first day began late in the afternoon, for Schwarzenberg waited as long as possible for the corps of Klenau, which formed his extreme left wing on the Freiberg road. At last, about 6 P.M. he decided to wait no longer, and six heavy columns of attack advanced against the suburbs defended by St Cyr and now also by the leading troops of the main army. Three hundred guns covered the assault, and Dresden was set on fire in places by the cannonade, while the French columns marched unceasingly over the bridges and through the Altstadt. On the right the Russians under Wittgenstein advanced from Striesen, the Prussians under Kleist through the Grosser Garten, whilst Prussians under Prince Augustus and Austrians under Colloredo moved upon the Moczinski redoubt, which was the scene of the most desperate fighting, and was repeatedly taken and retaken. The attack to the westward was carried out by the other Austrian corps; Klenau, however, was still far distant. In the end, the French defences remained unshaken. Ney led a counter-attack against the Allies' left, the Moczinski redoubt was definitely recaptured from Colloredo, and the Prussians were driven out of the Grosser Garten. The coup of the Allies had failed, for every hour saw the arrival of fresh forces on the side of Napoleon, and at length the Austrian leader drew off his men to the heights again. He was prepared to fight another battle on the morrow - indeed he could scarcely have avoided it had he wished to do so, for behind him lay the mountain defiles, towards which Vandamme was marching with all speed.

Napoleon's plan for the 27th was, as usual, simple in its outline. As at Friedland, a ravine separated a part of the hostile line of battle from the rest. The villages west of the Plauen ravine and even Lobda were occupied in the early morning by General Metzko with the leading division of Klenau's corps from Freiberg, and upon Metzko Napoleon intended first to throw the weight of his attack, giving to Victor's infantry and the cavalry of Murat, king of Naples, the task of overwhelming the isolated Austrians. The centre, aided by the defences of the Dresden suburbs, could hold its own, as the events of the 26th had shown, the left, now under Ney, with whom served Kellermann's cavalry and the Young Guard, was to attack Wittgenstein's Russians on the Pirna road. Thus, for once, Napoleon decided to attack both flanks of the enemy. His motives in so doing have been much discussed by the critics; Vandamme's movements, it may be suggested, contributed to the French emperor's plan, which if carried out would open the Pirna road. Still, the left attack may have had a purely tactical object, for in that quarter was the main body of the Prussians and Russians, and Napoleon's method was always to concentrate the fury of the attack on the heaviest masses of the enemy, i.e. the best target for his own artillery. A very heavy rainstorm during the night seriously affected the movements of troops on the following day, but all to Napoleon's advantage, for his more mobile artillery, reinforced by every horse available in and about Dresden, was still able to move where the Allied guns sank in mud. Further, if the cavalry had to walk, or at most trot, through the fields the opposing infantry was almost always unable to fire their muskets. "You cannot fire; surrender," said Murat to an Austrian battalion in the battle. "Never," they replied; "you cannot charge us." On the appearance of Murat's horse artillery, however, they had to surrender at once. Under such conditions, Metzko, unsupported either by Klenau or the main army beyond the ravine, was an easy victim. Victor from Lobda drove in the advanced posts and assaulted the line of villages Wolfnitz-TOltschen; Metzko had to retire to the higher ground S. W. of the first line, and Murat, with an overwhelming cavalry force from Cotta and Burgstadl, outflanked his left, broke up whole battalions, and finally, with the assistance of the renewed frontal attack of Victor's infantry, annihilated the division. The Austrian corps of Gyulai arrived too late to save it. A few formed bodies escaped across the ravine, but Metzko and threefourths of his men were killed or taken prisoners.

Meanwhile Ney on the other flank, with his left on the Pillnitz road and his right on the Grosser Garten, had opened his attack. The Russians offered a strenuous resistance, defending Seidnitz, Gross Dobritz and Reick with their usual steadiness, and Ney was so far advanced that several generals at the Allied headquarters suggested a counter-attack of the centre by way of Strehlen, so as to cut off the French left from Dresden. This plan was adopted, but, owing to various misunderstandings, failed of execution. Thus the Allied centre remained inactive all day, cannonaded by the Dresden redoubts. One incident only, but that of great importance, took place here. The tsar, the king of Prussia, Schwarzenberg and a very large headquarter staff watched the fighting from a hill near Racknitz and offered an easy mark to the French guns. In default of formed bodies to fire at, the latter had for a moment ceased fire; Napoleon, riding by, half carelessly told them to reopen, and one of their first shots, directed at 2000 yards range against the mass of officers on the sky-line, mortally wounded General Moreau, who was standing by the emperor Alexander. A council of war followed. The Allied sovereigns were for continuing the fight; Schwarzenberg, however, knowing the exhaustion of his troops decided to retreat. As at Bautzen, the French cavalry was unable to make any effective pursuit.

The forces engaged were 96,000 French, Saxons, &c., and 200,000 Austrians, Russians and Prussians. The French losses were about zo,000, or a little over zo%, those of the Allies 38,000 killed, wounded and prisoners (the latter 23,000) or z9%. They lost also 15 colours and 26 guns.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Proper noun




  1. The capital city of the German Federal State of Saxony.
  2. A village in Kent County, Ontario, Canada.





Dresden (uncountable)

  1. A variety of china, originally manufactured in the city, but manufactured in Meissen from the 18th century.



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Proper noun

Dresden (n)

  1. Dresden (capital city of Saxony)

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