Dresden is a museum city

Dresden is a museum city

All of Dresden’s attractions pale in comparison to the main one – the city’s art gallery. Whether or not you can tell the difference between, say, a Rembrandt painting and a Titian, this museum is definitely worth putting on your itinerary for sightseeing in the Saxon capital.

New Masters Gallery in Dresden

Gallery of the New Masters (Galerie Neue Meister), has more than 2.5 thousand paintings, belonging to the period of 19-20th centuries. The gallery is known for a collection of works of Romanticism, paintings of the twentieth century and modern artists.

Dresden Armory

The Dresden Armory (Rüstkammer), also known as the Dresden Historical Museum, exhibits a world-famous collection of ceremonial armor, armor, historic textiles and portraits dating from the 16th and 18th centuries.

Dresden Zoological Museum

The Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde Dresden (Dresden Zoological Museum) is one of the largest and oldest natural history museums in Europe. The basis of its collection consists of the Kunstkammer of the Saxon Elector Augustus, and the oldest exhibits date back to 1587.

Bundeswehr Museum

The Bundeswehr Museum is a sight to behold in Dresden. The monumental building, built in classical style in the late 19th century, received a notable upgrade two years ago thanks to an American architect.

Green Vaults Museum

Have a weakness for jewelry? If you are visiting Dresden, you should not miss the Green Vaults Museum. Here you will find the richest treasury in Europe, once belonging to the royal Wettin dynasty.

Porcelain Museum in Dresden

Porcelain Museum (Porzellansammlung), founded in 1715 by the Saxon Elector Augustus the Strong, now has about 20,000 artifacts.

German Hygiene Museum

The German Hygiene Museum (Deutsches Hygiene-Museum) also known as the Human Museum was founded in 1912 by the German entrepreneur Carl August Lingner. In 2001 the museum was listed in the “Blue Book”, a list of the most important national cultural institutions in East Germany.

Numismatic Room Dresden

The Numismatic Study in Dresden is one of the largest collections in Europe and dates back to the 16th century. The total number of exhibits is around 300,000.

Albertinum Sculpture Collection

The Albertinum collection is represented by sculptures spanning a period of 5,000 years and includes a collection of antiquities that is considered one of the largest and oldest collections of antiquities from Italy.

Physics and Mathematics Salon in Dresden

The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon in Dresden has one of the most important collections of clocks and small mechanical instruments and has over 2,000 objects on display.

Dresden, or “Florence on the Elbe”, so called by the historian Johann Herder in his book because of its predominantly Baroque architecture, is ranked among the most beautiful European cities. It is so beautiful and magnificent that even the people who have lived there their whole lives have never stopped admiring it. What about the tourists who come for a short time to enjoy the beauty of the impressive ancient German city, stretched on the Elbe River.

Dresden, or “Florence on the Elbe”, so called by the historian Johann Herder in his book because of the predominance of Baroque architecture, is ranked among the most beautiful European cities.

Dresden has a stunning number of majestic castles, chic palaces, impressive cathedrals and churches, wonderful museums that present their rich collections of masterpieces to visitors, picturesque natural panoramas, green well-kept gardens and parks. Dresden as a valuable cultural and historical site is under UNESCO protection. The bombing in February 1945 by the British Air Force destroyed a lot. Even so many years after the war the city is still being restored, rebuilt, restored.

Polynesian Culture

The famous Dresden Zwinger, commissioned by Augustus the Strong in 1709-1732, is a complex of galleries and pavilions (four buildings), which attracts visitors without exception. It is its calling card and one of the most beautiful places in Dresden.

“Zwinger” in translation – “cage”, in the Middle Ages, so called the part of the fortress between the inner and outer walls. The first Dresden Zwinger was built that way. Now it has museums, the most famous of which is the Dresden Art Gallery. It contains world-famous collections of art, great masterpieces by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian, and the “Sistine Madonna” by Raphael. In addition to the gallery, the Zwinger houses museums of porcelain, sculpture, mineralogy and geology, a physics and mathematics salon, and the Armory. In the Zwinger Palace is the most famous collection of jewelry of Grünes Gewölbe (“Green Vaults”) – more than 4000 works of art.

The Albertinum Art Museum, founded by Karl Adolf and named after King Albert of Saxony, has thematic exhibitions. These are the Coin Hall (over 200,000 coins, medals and stamps); the sculptures and carved figures made of bronze and marble; the Print Hall (180,000 prints, graphics); the Art Industry with the famous collection assembled by Elector Augustus the Strong; the Gallery of Old Masters from various periods (Romanticism, Realism and Expressionism) and young artists.

In the largest in Germany, the Dresden Military History Museum one can get acquainted with military equipment: a 15th century siege gun, the oldest European cannon, the first German submarine Brandtaucher, the Soyuz-29 spaceship.

In addition to the Zwinger, Dresden has a large number of other museums: transport, ethnology, dolls, ethnography, Saxon art, hygiene, fortress Dresden and others, famous for the great variety of expositions. Every visitor to Dresden will find something to interest them, a museum in which they want to go and learn something new.


Dresden is a picturesque city in Germany and the capital of Saxony just across the border from the Czech Republic. There is hardly another city like it in the whole world. In the old part of Dresden, in a small square – palaces, the old theater, museums, cathedrals and churches. There’s a myriad of cultural treasures in them. If you want, a paddle steamer takes you leisurely up the Elbe, where the river expanses, fanciful rocks, forests and castles form an amazing scenery. The small towns around the state capital are also interesting.

The Elbe River divides the city in a U-shaped loop into the New Town on the north bank and the Old Town on the south bank.

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Video: Dresden


In written sources Drezdan village was first mentioned in 1206. In 1216 it was already known as a city. In 1455 Dresden received the right of trade on the Elbe. In 1485 it became the princely residence. In the Thirty Years War Dresden escaped the war, but its population was badly hurt by the plague. In the XVII century in Dresden there were built a lot of architectural constructions in the baroque style which had many art collections. In 1697 the Elector of Saxony, Friedrich Augustus I (Augustus the Strong) became the King of Poland. The Northern War with Sweden (1700-1722), the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and Napoleonic occupation (1806-1813) were serious tests for Saxony.

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French troops occupying Dresden surrendered in November 1813.

During the Weimar Republic, Dresden retained the title of “cultural capital” of Germany. In 1939 the city was the sixth major industrial city in the country.

The city was badly damaged by a bombing in February 1945. Nobel Prize-winning writer Gerhard Hauptmann bitterly said: “Those who have forgotten how to cry will learn again in the face of the destruction of Dresden.”

But already in the summer of 1945 the first concerts of the Dresden Philharmonic and the children’s choir (Kruezchor) at the Church of the Holy Cross, which had existed since the Middle Ages, took place. The theaters were reopened. The city keeps its traditions alive and thanks to its architectural elegance it is sometimes affectionately called the Florence on Elba. Dresden has four theaters, the State Orchestra, the Dresden State Chapel, founded in 1548, and the Dresden Philharmonic.

Dresden now

The city has two large train stations: the main station (Dresden-Hauptbahnhof) south of the Old Town and Dresden-Neustadt in the New Town.

Excursion boats on the Elbe depart from the docks below the walls of Brühl’s Terrace, on the Terrassenufer promenade. Excursions to Saxon Switzerland and Meissen are available.

The area between Am Zwingerteich (Zwinger Pond), Wallstrasse, St. Petersburgerstasse, between the main railway station and the banks of the River Elbe, is the historic center of the city. Around these streets in the Middle Ages there was a line of city fortifications.

The Zwinger was once the empty space between the inner and outer city walls. Today this is the name of the palace – a unique masterpiece of Baroque. It is distinguished by its strict and symmetrical layout. The first building of the Zwinger (1709) was a square for tournaments surrounded by wooden buildings. In 1710, Augustus the Strong commissioned the architect M. D. Peppelmann (1662-1736) to build sandstone pavilions and galleries along the ramparts (Wallpavillon). The longitudinal Crown Gate gallery (Kronentor, 1713) and the two corner pavilions on the palace side were completed for the wedding of the crown prince (1719), followed by the arc arc galleries and the Bell Pavilion (Glockenspielpavillon) by 1728.

The Crown Gate is a two-tiered triumphal arch. The copper roof of the tower is crowned with four eagles supporting the Polish crown. Sculptural figures symbolize the seasons. The gallery inside the courtyard is decorated with five fountains. Nearby is the two-story building of the Physics and Mathematics Salon with a collection of antique measuring instruments.

One of the most beautiful Baroque fountains in the world, the Nymfenbad (Nymph bath), is located between the rampart and the art gallery building.

Since 1728, the Zwinger housed valuable collections belonging to the court. In 1964, the ensemble was rebuilt after the destruction of World War II. The Meissen manufactory produced 40 porcelain bells for the Bell Pavilion. In the halls of this pavilion is now an exhibition of works of the best Dresden masters of fine art.

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Other pavilions and galleries in the Zwinger house a collection of porcelain, tin works, and paintings by old masters.

Many sights are concentrated on the Theaterplatz (Teatherplatz): the Semperoper Opera House, the restaurant “Italian Village”, the Catholic Cathedral, the north-west wing of the former palace residence, the guardhouse. After years of restoration, it regained its fame as one of the most beautiful squares in Central Europe.

The restored Semper Opera House (1871-1878) is also remarkable. It was designed by the architect Manfred Semper according to sketches and projects of his father. The first opera house, built by Semper Sr. in 1838-1841, burned down in 1869.

In 1889 a bronze equestrian monument to King Johann (sculptor I. Schilling) was erected on the Theater Square. The three-meter high base is decorated with reliefs symbolizing the talent and diligence of the Saxon people.

The west wing of the former residence of the Elector of Saxony (Residenz-schloss) opens onto the same square. It is home to the Historisches Grimes Gewolbe (Green Vaults), so called because in the 16th century the walls and ceiling were painted in green.

Between the castle and the art gallery you can see the facade of the Taschenbergpalais . Its main building was built by architect M. D. Peppelmann for Augustus the Strong in 1707-1711. Next to it according to the design of Semper was built Cholerabrunnen fountain with a tower (18 m) in neo-Gothic style. Baron Gutschmid donated money for its construction to commemorate the fact that the cholera epidemic that raged in Saxony in 1840-1841 did not affect Dresden.

The Catholic cathedral (Hofkirche) was built in Roman Baroque style by the Catholic Elector and King of Poland Augustus III in 1737 as a counterbalance to the Protestant Frauenkirche. It is the largest in Saxony, built entirely of sandstone. In niches and on balustrades there are 78 stone figures 3.5 m high representing apostles, high clergy and saints (sculptor L. Mattielli). The floor is paved with Carrara marble. The high altar with the “Ascension of Christ” is separated from the nave by marble steps and balustrade. The altar was painted by the court painter A. R. Mengs. The 4.2 m high silver crucifix and six silver candelabrums were made by the Augsburg master Johann J. I. Bauer. The church pulpit is a masterpiece of wood carving by sculptor B. Permoser.

In the crypts beneath the cathedral are 49 sarcophagi with the remains of Electors and members of the Wettin dynasty. Also buried here is the heart of Augustus the Strong, transported to Dresden in accordance with his last will. The monarch’s ashes are buried in the cathedral in Krakow, where kings of Poland are buried.

The promenade Brühl’s Terrace (Brtihlsche Terrasse) is also called the “balcony of Europe” – it offers a magnificent view of the opposite bank of the Elbe. A wide grand staircase leads to the river, built on the orders of the Russian Governor General of Saxony, Prince Repnin-Wolkonski. The inventor of Meissen porcelain, J. F. Bettger (1682-1719), worked here in 1707. The Saxon minister Count Bruhl received this piece of land as a gift from Augustus III and turned it into his pleasure garden. Only in 1814 at the insistence of Repnin-Volkonsky was the Brussels Garden opened to the public. In 1863-1868 I. Schilling created the sculpture of the garden. I. Schilling created a sculptural group of the four seasons, cast in bronze later (1908).

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At the end of the 16th century the oldest Renaissance monument in Dresden – the Moritz monument – was erected on Brühl’s Terrace near the Carolabrucke bridge, in memory of Elector Augustus’ brother Moritz, who was killed in the Battle of Sievershausen in 1553. There are also monuments to the sculptor Ernst Richel (1876) and the architect Gottfried Semper (1892) by J. Schilling.

On Augustusstrasse (Augustusstrasse) is a magnificent work of art – the frieze “Royal Procession” (Furstenzug). (Furstenzug) . It was created in 1870-1876 by the sgraffito method, which involves scratching a pattern in the upper layer of plaster, exposing the lower layer, which is of a different color from the first. It depicts 35 members of the Wettin dynasty, figures of science and art. The frieze covers the entire outer wall of the long aisle (102 m) of the castle stables. In 1906, the frieze was replaced by a glazed one consisting of 24,000 tiles of Meissen porcelain.

In the 19th century on the square of the former New Marketplace (Neumarktplatz) two monuments were erected – of King Friedrich August II and Martin Luther.

The reconstruction of the Town Hall (1905-1910) on Rathausplatz, destroyed in 1945, lasted 15 years (1950-1965). The hundred-meter tower is crowned by the “Golden Man” (1908-1910), holding in his hand a horn of plenty. It is hand-carved and gilded by R. Gur from copper sheet. In the head of the “golden man” is a lead box with a charter for the building of the city hall and a set of coins. At a height of 86 m there is an observation deck.

The Church of the Holy Cross (Kreuzkirche, XIII century) is the oldest in the city. Its facade with a tower overlooks the Old Market Square. The church has burned three times: in 1491, 1897, and 1945. The church was rebuilt according to the plans (1764-1792) by K. F. Exner and I. G. Hilfinger. F. Exner and I. G. Schmidt. The church has 3,500 seats. In 1963 a new organ was installed. Each of the five bells (together they weigh 28.45 tons) in the surviving bell tower is tuned to the notes: E, G, A, B, D.

Wide Prague Street (Pragerstrasse) connects the Old Market with the Main Railway Station.

Opposite Town Hall Square is the monument of Augustus the Strong, cast in 1732-1734 in copper designed by I. I. Vinahe and gilded by gunsmith L. Wiedemann.

One of the oldest funicular railway in Europe (1895) operates between Karnerplatz in Lošvice and the village of White Stag. Its length – 547 m, height difference – 99 m. At the top station is a large restaurant “Luisenhof” (Luisenhof) . Its location is so picturesque that it is rightly called the “balcony of Dresden” .

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Dresden Art Gallery of the Old Masters (Gemaldegalerie Alte Meiste)

The building was built in 1847-1854 by architect G. Semper (1803-1879). In the aisle of the portico there is an inscription in Russian (in 1945 it was made in chalk): “Museum checked. No mines. Checked Hanutin.

In 1955 were returned all the paintings taken out by the Soviet troops and restored in the Soviet Union.

The gallery is a treasure trove of world painting. Among the famous canvases are “Self-portrait with Saskia” by Rembrandt (1635), “Girl with a Letter” by Jan Vermeer of Delft (1659), “Sleeping Venus” by Giorgione (1508-1510).

The gallery’s greatest value is the world-famous Sistine Madonna (1515-1519) by Raphael Santi (1483-1520), brought from the monastery church of San Sisto di Piacenza. Visitors can use the autoguides in Russian. All Zwinger Museums are open: Sun-Thursday, 10.00-18.00.

Historical Museum “Green Vaults” (Historisches Griines Gewolbe)

More than 3,000 pieces of jewelry as well as amber, ivory and other treasures are on display here.

Of particular interest is the room of the famous court jeweler Augustus the Strong, I. M. Dinglinger. Visitors are fascinated by his diorama, The Court House in Delhi on the Birthday of the Great Mogul Aureng Ceb (1701-1708).

It has 137 figures, elephants, camels, made of porcelain, gold, precious stones. The master used 3000 diamonds, rubies, pearls and emeralds.

Visitors to the museum “Green Vaults” can use the autoguides in Russian.

Open: Mon, Wed-Sun 10.00-18.00.

Best time to visit

Go in July and August and bring an umbrella (it’s the warmest, but also the rainiest month in Dresden) .

Things to see

  • The marvelous 18th-century Frauenkirche church, destroyed in air raids and recently rebuilt as a symbol of the reconstruction that followed unification.
  • The rebuilt Dresden Castle, centered on a medieval tower. There is also the famous Green Vaults Museum, which holds the treasures of the Saxon monarchs.
  • The majestic Semperoper opera house, built in 1841, is one of the few surviving buildings in the city.
  • Dresden State Collection, considered one of the world’s most renowned collections.
  • See the 18th-century Hofkirche, Dresden’s Catholic cathedral, and the Crown Gate of the Zwinger ensemble.

Interesting fact

Russian President Vladimir Putin, as an officer of the KGB, worked in Dresden in the 1980s.

Mountain district Bastei

The region is located 15 km southeast of Dresden between the spa resort of Wehlen and the city of Rathen. From here you have a wonderful view over the whole of Saxon Switzerland. The fortress of Felsenburg Rahten can be reached via a bridge, which spans a deep gorge. The Theater Rahten has a seating capacity of 3,000. In the summertime it offers a very successful production of Schiller’s “Wilhelm Tell” and S. Weber’s opera “The Magic Arrow”.

The Royal Stone Fortress (Koenigstein) is worth a visit, a little higher up the river. It offers a magnificent panorama of the Elbe valley, coastal towns, roads, the surrounding mountains, forests and meadows.

Bastai can be reached by water from Dresden. Visitors to Saxony love to admire the mountain scenery from aboard the paddle steamers, floating leisurely on the Elbe. Whoever comes to Dresden must see this gem of nature.

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