Dresden (Germany) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. Dresden sights with descriptions, maps and guidebooks.
City of Dresden (Germany)
Dresden is a city in eastern Germany, the capital of the federal state of Saxony. It is one of the most important cultural centers of the country and one of its largest cities, often called the “Florence on the Elbe. Dresden is a beautiful city, a pearl of Baroque, the center of art on a European scale, almost destroyed during the Second World War and carefully restored again.
The city of Dresden lies on both banks of the Elbe river at the foot of the Ore Mountains. The highest peak in the vicinity has a height of 384 meters. The nature is a hilly plain, covered with forests and agricultural land. Interestingly, Dresden itself is a very green city. Parks and other greenery occupy 60% of its area. The climate is temperate with some maritime influence. Summers are warm, winters are cool but mild, with average temperatures around zero. For the year falls more than 600 mm of precipitation.
Winter in Dresden
Things to do (Dresden):
€110 per excursion.
Walking in Dresden
Explore the Altstadt and learn about Dresden’s history
- The city’s population is over half a million people.
- The area is 328 km 2 . Dresden is one of the largest cities in Germany, second only to Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne.
- The official language is German.
- Currency is euro.
- Visa is Schengen.
- The time is Central European UTC +1, +2 in winter.
- The main shopping street of Dresden is Prager Straße, which begins from the main railway station, stretches to Wiener Straße and ends at the old market square. Many stores, cafes and restaurants are located in the historic core of the city. Dresden’s Old Town offers a wide range of shopping and entertainment options. Several large shopping centers can be found in this area. Among them are the Altmarkt-Galerie at Webergasse 1, the Karstadt and the Centrum-Galerie.
- Christmas Market Dresden is one of the most beautiful in Germany. It begins at the end of November and lasts almost until Christmas.
The foundation and development of Dresden is connected to the migration of Germanic tribes to the east. At the end of the 12th century on the southern bank of the Elbe River was a Slavic settlement. The first mention of the city dates back to 1206. Already in 1270 Dresden became the capital of the Margraviate of Meissen. It performed this function until 1422 until the unification of the Margraviate and Saxony.
Panorama of the old city
In the 15th and 16th centuries Dresden played an important role in the region. But still the city had its heyday in the 17th century under the king of Saxony, King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Augustus the Strong. During his reign the city not only became one of the cultural centers of Europe, but also acquired a remarkable baroque image.
In the 18th century Saxony was in constant struggle with other principalities and Prussia itself. During the Seven Years’ War Dresden was occupied by the troops of King Frederick II of Prussia. Prussian troops did more damage to the city. In 1813, a major battle between Napoleon’s troops and the united army of Bohemia took place in the vicinity of the city. After the Napoleonic wars Dresden’s importance diminished dramatically, although its cultural role in Europe was still high.
The devastation of World War II
In February 1945, the historic center of Dresden was almost completely destroyed in a bombing raid by American and British aircraft. It took over 40 years to rebuild Dresden. And even today one can still find the scars left by World War II. After the war, Dresden became one of the main cities of the GDR. Today it is one of the most important cultural, tourist, industrial and educational centers of East Germany.
How to get there
Dresden is located near the German-Czech border 100 km from Leipzig, 200 km from Berlin and 150 km from Prague. The city is easily accessible by air, train, bus and car.
Dresden has its own airport, which is located north of the center. From the airport to the city you can take bus 77 or 97, streetcar 7 or take the line S2 S-Bahn. Although it is worth dropping out that Leipzig airport offers a greater number of international departures.
Dresden is a major railway hub. The city has two train stations at once: Neustadt on the north bank of the Elbe and Hauptbahnhof (the main station) on the south. There are regular connections to Leipzig, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Budapest, Wroclaw and other major cities.
Dresden is well connected to the rest of Germany via the autobahn system. The highway also connects the city with the Czech capital of Prague.
There are quite a few bus routes to Dresden. From Berlin you can get by bus for 7 euros.
To move around the city you can use public transport: streetcars and buses. In general, the historic center is quite compact, so it is convenient to explore the city on foot.
Dresden is an amazingly beautiful and balanced city, which offers the tourist wonderful architecture and sights, numerous museums and art treasures, beautiful urban and natural scenery, walking along the Elbe and in the numerous parks.
Strolls along the embankment of the Elbe
Dresden’s Old Town lies on the left bank of the Elbe. It is characterised by beautiful Baroque and Renaissance architecture from the 17th and 19th centuries. Despite the destruction during World War II, the historic city center was carefully restored and retains its charm.
Dresden’s main sights
You should not miss these sights and must see them.
The Frauenkirche is one of the symbols of Dresden, a beautiful Protestant Baroque church built in the 18th century. This landmark was almost completely destroyed in February 1945 and only rebuilt in the 1990s of the 20th century. The church is located on one of the main squares of the city – Neumarkt (New Market). The square appeared in the middle of the 16th century. During the Renaissance period it acquired features typical of that period. After the destruction of the Seven Years’ War Neumarkt was rebuilt in Baroque style. Now the square is almost restored to its historical appearance.
The Opera House is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The Dresden Opera is one of the most famous theaters in Germany. It was built in the first half of the 18th century. Restored after the war in 1985.
The Zwinger is a masterpiece of German Late Baroque, built in the early 18th century. The structure was originally conceived as a greenhouse and a venue for celebrations. Today it is one of the most famous exhibition halls in Germany. It has an art gallery, a collection of porcelain, a museum of mathematics and physics.
Royal Palace is one of the most beautiful structures of Dresden, built in the 15th century as a residence of Saxon princes and kings. The first historic building was damaged in a fire in 1701 and was reconstructed under Augustus the Strong. The palace contained more than 500 rooms. After reconstruction there is a museum here.
Next door to the palace is a 101-meter long painting “Procession of Princes,” lined with porcelain and depicting the Princes of Saxony. More than 24,000 porcelain tiles were used to cover the image.
The cathedral is the largest religious building in Saxony and one of the most recent Baroque buildings in the historic center of Dresden. This Protestant church was built in the mid-18th century. The niches and balustrades are decorated with 78 stone figures. Forty-nine Saxon princes are buried in the crypt.
The Old Market or Altmarkt has been the heart of Dresden’s historic center almost since the founding of the city. It is a large rectangular square that has long been the site of all major city events: fairs, tournaments and celebrations.
The Kreuzkirche is one of the oldest churches in Dresden, with a history stretching back seven centuries. If you climb the tower you can enjoy a stunning view of the Elbe Valley and the old city.
The Brühl’s Terrace is a historic promenade on the Elbe with the oldest Renaissance structures, underneath which are fragments of the Dresden fortress. Here you can look at the old brick city gates, see relics of medieval fortifications and the old bridge. It is also home to one of Dresden’s largest and most interesting museums, the Albertinum.
Neustadt and its sights
Neustadt is a historic district on the right bank of the Elbe. The district developed as a separate settlement independent of the left bank historical center. After a major fire in 1685 it was rebuilt in Baroque style and became part of the city.
The Golden Rider is an 18th-century sculpture depicting Augustus the Strong, under whom Dresden became one of the most important cities in Europe.
In the center of the Neustadt district is the old Jewish cemetery from the 18th century.
Church of the Epiphany
The Church of the Epiphany is one of the main religious buildings in Neustadt. It was built in the 1830s. The 100-meter neo-baroque tower was added 100 years later.
Neustadt is the realization of Augustus the Strong’s dream of an ideal royal city. There are many beautiful baroque buildings and palaces. It is a place with a large concentration of craft stores and cozy cafes. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, you are likely to find it only here.
€95 per excursion
Nuremberg through the ages
Hear the history of the most interesting places in the Old Town and get valuable tips from a local
€110 per excursion.
On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin
For 3 hours, immerse yourself in the history of the capital and see its key attractions
Saxony and its capital
Saxony’s first locomotive
Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen, Free State of Saxony) is one of Germany’s 16 federal states, bordered by Thuringia, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt, the Czech Republic and Poland. The capital of the state is the city of Dresden.
Rich history of the country began in 929, when the German King Henry I the Builder ordered the construction of a fortress on the border land, where the Slavic tribes lived. Then were founded the city of Meissen, the bishopric and the land of Meissen brand. Ruled by the margrave of the Wettin family, the country was rich due to the extraction of silver and other ores in the mountains Erzgebige, constantly expanding its territory. It must be said that Saxony in those days was called a very different land (now the territory of the federal state of Lower Saxony).
The lands of the electorate of Saxony and the title of elector of Mayzen rulers of Wettin received in the 15th century in recognition of services to the Kaiser (Holy Roman Emperor). Since that time, the rich and strong country also became one of the largest German lands! Over many centuries Saxony has repeatedly undergone internecine strife and partition, devastating wars, religious reforms, devastation and further reconstruction, periods of industrial and cultural prosperity.
Modern Saxony is a culturally, socially and economically advanced federal state. The advanced industrial, scientific and cultural centers of Saxony are Dresden, Chemnitz (Chemnitz), Leipzig. The universities of Dresden and Leipzig and the medical university center named after Karl Karuss are known throughout Europe, also in Saxony dozens of advanced research centers were opened – Max Planck, Frauenhofer, Leibniz, Helmholtz. The main areas of industry are microelectronics, nanotechnology, new materials.
Tourism But Saxony is just as famous and interesting for its traditions, cultural and historical heritage and natural beauties – not for nothing dozens of millions of tourists from all over the world come here every year, according to statistics.
The Nutcracker also comes from Saxony.
Popular among tourists, apart from Dresden and Leipzig, are the old Saxon towns of Freiberg, Torgau, Plauen, Meissen, Bautzen, Görlitz, Chemnitz, Zwickau, numerous ancient castles and fortresses, as well as folk craft centers in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), the Saxon Switzerland National Park, the parks Kromlau and Bad Muskau. Learn more about attractions in Dresden and Saxony
Are you an outdoorsy type of person? Hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails winding through the most beautiful mountains and forests: The Mahlerweg Artists’ Course, the Dichterweg Poets’ Course, the Saxon Wine Route through the vineyards on the Elbe, the Silver Route through the former silver mining areas and the Elberadweg with its superb bicycle routes stretching for 30 kilometers into the city. Along the Elbe, you can bike to Basteig, Meissen, Torgau and beyond, even to Hamburg.
Saxon castles and fortresses a special pride – the old castles and fortresses, there are more than forty in Saxony, and in each you can go on a tour and not just admire the facade. Families with children will especially enjoy the castles, each regularly holds themed and costume tours, knights’ parties and medieval fairs.
The most popular castles and fortresses that you can drive to and see in a day:
– Moritzburg hunting castle on an island, – Königstein castle, the largest in Europe, – Stolpen castle on a basalt plateau, – Weesenstein medieval castle in the mountains, – Albrechtsburg Gothic castle in the first capital of Meissen.
Not far from Dresden – you can drive and see everything in one day – no less ancient and impressive castles Augustusburg, Hartenfels, Ramenau, Kribstein, Rochlitz. A distinctive feature of the Saxon castles is the “purity” of style, pure Gothic and Renaissance, untouched original walls and towers of the 14-15 centuries. If there were any reconstructions, it was a long time ago, and unlike many German “water-castles”, there is no “neo-” style here.
Rest and recuperation in Saxony
Well-known climatic resorts of Saxony – the most popular among them Luft-Resorts Bad Schandau, Bad Elster, Bad Schlema – offer pools with natural mineral thermal water, cold and hot thermal, radon baths, mud baths in combination with the healing mountain air of Saxon Switzerland.
Saxon Switzerland is a special pride of Saxony!
This natural park with its sandstone mountains, coniferous forests, picturesque valleys, numerous hiking trails and perfectly equipped campsites is a great place for an active vacation. Along the valley Kiernichtal (along the river Kiernitch) from the town of Bad Schandau in the depth of the mountain range runs a special tourist streetcar. You can get off at any stop and walk up the mountain on comfortably furnished trails with distance guides to the next point of interest or to the observation platform on the rock. So, dear visitors to Dresden, if you have already reached Saxony – be sure to visit these beautiful places.
The Zwinger, the Dresden Art Gallery, the Green Vaults – these names are known around the world. In Dresden you need to visit for a few days, otherwise you will not understand the city. One must take a leisurely stroll, looking at the details, peering into secret corners and soaking up its special atmosphere. Of course, first of all Dresden is known for its unique architectural appearance, not for nothing it is called German Florence. It is a city of museums, international music festivals, beautiful monuments and parks. Adults and children, connoisseurs of art and culture, antique technology and modern German cars, lovers of delicious food, elite wines and fresh beer, cyclists and rock climbers – all will find something to do and see in the city and its surroundings.
Dresden in numbers and facts
1206 – first mentioned in chronicles
328 sq. km – area of Dresden, 4th largest in Germany
557,000 inhabitants, average age 47
48 museums and galleries
34 theaters and stages
13,000 cultural monuments in the city
11,000,000 visitors a year, 4,400,000 overnight stays
2.5 days – average duration of a tourist stay in Dresden
44 public transport lines, including 2 funiculars and 3 ferries
30 km of Elbe river inside the city, 11 bridges
14 universities and 40,000 students from 70 countries
12 Fraunhofer research institutes, 5 Leibniz-Gemeinschaft institutes, 3 Max-Planck-Gesellschaft institutes
5th place in Germany in terms of scientific and technical discoveries
Main industries: microelectronics (annual revenues 13 billion euros), nanotechnology, biotechnology, new materials