Dresden and the Elbe Valley
by, 04-10-2013 at 03:11 PM (4005 Views)
One of the must-sees in Germany is Dresden, often dubbed the “Florence of the Elbe“. Situated in the beautiful Elbe valley, which has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, it has its rightful place in history. Since reunification its main buildings have been restored to their former glory.
Dresden is internationally recognized to be a highlight for art and culture, the city’s many museums offer unique and incomparable exhibitions and collections, counting amongst Europe’s most important sights since the 18th century. Complemented by grand buildings such as the ‘Zwinger’, the Royal Castle, the rebuilt Frauenkirche and the Semper Opera House – to name but a few- Dresden comes together as a harmonious monument of art, a city without equal.
The proud heritage of Dresden is demonstrated in its more than 40 museums, many of which are world-famous and unique. The Old Masters Gallery with the Sistine Madonna, the Green Vaults – Europe’s most magnificent treasure chamber, the incomparable porcelain collection of August the Strong and the Salon of Mathematics & Physics with its matchless collection of historic watches are a must on your Dresden visit!
The Semper Opera is justly famed for its legendary acoustics, the sumptuous interior and its continuous world class repertoire.
The Frauenkirche, Dresden
This splendid Lutheran church is the symbol of the city. After being completely destroyed during the Allied bombing of 13 February 1945, the church was rebuilt exactly as it was and reconsecrated on 30 October 2005. The cross on top was made by an English artist, Alan Smith. In addition to services, concerts are held here. Many of these concerts are free. A visit to a concert in the reconstructed Frauenkirche will be forever remembered.
Many of the 30 museums enjoy world renown. The Residential Palace, for example, hosts the Grünes Gewölbe (green vault), which displays the most opulent treasures, examples of the master craftsmanship of jewellers and goldsmiths. It is unrivaled in Europe. The Neustadt on the opposite bank of the river Elbe has become a trendy quarter with its elegant shops and cosy pubs where people love to stroll and while away the hours.
The Military History Museum, Dresden
Located in a former arsenal, this museum reveals different aspects of the military world. I really like the modernity of the site, which re-opened in 2011 after being completely overhauled by the famous American architect Daniel Libeskind. The museum contains hundreds of thousands of objects, ranging from a simple soldier’s medal to the Soyuz 29 capsule, in which the first German cosmonaut, Sigmund Jähn, flew in 1978.
On the route to Dresden you should not miss Meißen, the famous Meißen porcelain factory.
The porcelain town of Meissen is more than 1000 years old and the quintessence for lover of finest tableware from all over the world. It was in Meißen, a few kilometres from Dresden, that Europe’s first porcelain factory was opened in 1710, benefiting from the nearby kaolin deposits. All across the continent, royal factories attempted to equal the quality of the objects produced in the Meißen workshops, known as "hard-paste" porcelain. But to no avail! Three hundred years later, each piece made on the premises can still be identified by the mark of the two crossed blue swords.
The Elbe Valley around Dresden with its natural river landscape and green vineyards is full of historic locations and delightful parks with splendid palaces.
Picturesque Castles, bridges and vineyards dot the hills beside the Elbe River during an upstream tour with Germany’s oldest paddle steamers - destination Pillnitz Castle and park. The largest European park in Chinoise style also impresses with the world´s oldest camellia in its very own high-tech greenhouse.
Schloss & Park Pillnitz - Dresden’s Royal Palace is situated at the center of the Altstadt (old town). The Castle was rebuilt in a neo-renaissance style at the beginning of the 20th Century, previously it was the axis of power for the Saxon Electors and Kings.
From the vantage point of the Hausmann’s Tower one can enjoy magnificent views over the rooftops of Dresden. The castle itself houses a number of exhibitions, the most visited is without doubt the breathtaking treasure chamber of August the Strong, now recreated in the Green Vault and considered Europe’s foremost treasure chamber museum.
The Moritzburg Hunting Lodge exhibits the world´s largest and most significant collection of hunting trophies, it also houses the legendary Feather room. You may use the nostalgic narrow-gauge railway to get there. Equestrians will also find an excursion to the 180 years old Saxon county stud farm very worthwhile.
The huge diversity of museums and places of interest in Dresden is certainly matched by worthwhile destinations in the surrounding area. Ancient towns, quaint wine growing villages, extensive forests and the incomparable rocky landscape follow each other.
A trip on a steamship is without equal, glide along following the gentle bends of the mighty river Elbe and take in the exquisite panorama. Saxony has been a renowned wine growing region for over 600 years, visitors are most welcome in these traditional vineyards.
The Elbe sandstone mountains with their bizarre rock formations is a natural phenomena and certainly worth a visit, it is known as the Sächsische Schweiz.
The place to stay in style in Dresden is the superb Bülow Palais http://www.buelow-palais.com/5-star-...el-in-dresden/ The Bülow Palais is more than a hotel, it is a haven in the heart of the city. Owned by the Bülow family, this hotel, located in a district with beautiful Baroque architecture, is simultaneously discreet and elegant. Hotel Buelow Palais & Residence is ideally situated in the exclusive Konigsstrasse of Dresden. Visitors can venture to Hofkirche or at the Saxon State Chamber that houses the office of the Minister-President of Saxony.
When we were there in Dresden, our reservation was relocated because President Obama was visiting and he and his entire staff and security people took over the entire hotel.