Germany’s Cultural Treasure: Dresden – The Florence of the Elbe
For savvy travellers, there is no doubt that Dresden is one of Germany’s best-kept secrets and one of the top cultural treasures in Europe. This German city is home to an impressive array of cultural attractions to suit the interests of all travellers.
Grand buildings and examples of the most impressive architectural styles are everywhere in the city and speak of Dresden’s cultural and historical importance. Dresden’s architectural beauty is complemented by a very special setting: the city has been aptly called ‘The Florence of the Elbe’ thanks to its privileged location right on the banks of the River Elbe, one of Europe’s major waterways.
Due to all these reasons, the capital city of Saxony makes for an attractive travel destination, whether you are interested in a short city break, a romantic getaway, or a cultural trip to the heart of the Old Continent.
Dresden: World Heritage Site
In 2004, Dresden and the surrounding Elbe Valley were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The listed area covers 18 kilometres (11 miles), giving visitors an extraordinary opportunity to explore impressive castles, former royal residences, and the lush natural landscapes that extend to both sides of the River Elbe.
Most visitors start their journey through Dresden in the city centre. Although the city’s buildings suffered massive damage during the Second World War, a lot of work was put into rebuilding the main landmarks, and the efforts certainly paid off.
Sightseeing in Dresden
The Fürstenzug is a great starting point for any sightseeing trip, as this 334-feet long porcelain mural depicts in detail the city’s history. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Dresden was an important cultural and political referent. Many Baroque and Rococo buildings built during that period have been preserved to this day and bear witness to the city’s past grandeur.
Some examples include the Zwinger Palace (which also doubles as an art gallery), the Opera House or Semper Opera, the Frauenkirche church (great panoramic views await you from the top of the tower), and the Baroque Quarter, a picturesque neighbourhood that is a must for shopaholics.
For something different but just as impressive, head to the Großer Garten, one of Dresden’s largest and most beautiful green spaces. This city park is dotted with carefully landscaped gardens, lakes, and with one of the most prominent examples of Baroque architecture in the city, the Summer Palace.
The park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with the family or to relax after a day out sightseeing. In the evening, you can put the perfect end to a perfect day by heading to the trendy Innere Neustadt area, just across the Elbe. Here you will be rewarded with the best views of the city’s skyline and of its famous bridges.
Culture vultures will feel at home in Dresden. The city is home to dozens of top-class museums and art galleries. Don’t miss the modern art displays at the Albertinum Museum, the City Museum, or the City Gallery.
If you are visiting Dresden during the summer, chances are that you’ll come across one of the city’s renowned festivals, such as the Dixieland Jazz Festival or the Film Festival.
Other recommended attractions include the river cruises that take you along the stunning landscapes on both sides of the river, and the wine routes that extend for over 60 kilometres (37 miles) along the fertile Elbe Valley, where first-class grape varieties have been grown for more than 8 centuries. Now you know you can appreciate Germany’s Cultural Treasure: Dresden – The Florence of the Elbe.
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