Dresden is the base of the oldest and largest fleet of steamships in the world
The city located in the valley of the river Elba is the capital of the German federal state Saxonia. Dresden is a beautiful city only 20 km away with an invisible border from the Czech Republic. The face of the current city is bright, although the past still hovers like a heavy black cloud over the city. Such a striking impression is left by everything that continued to live in Dresden after the great tragedies that happened in this city.
Dresden can be toured by a double-decker tourist bus that takes tourists to the most attractive locations in the city. It is possible to go on a tour in a convoy, rent a Trabant cabriolet independently, fly with a balloon (weather permitting) or tour the city on foot with a local guide. The wide promenade is called the “Terrace of Europe” and from there you can see the river and the life around the river. On one side, there is road traffic, and on the other, lively river navigation functions. Dresden is the base of the oldest and largest fleet of steamships in the world, and some claim that it is older than the one on the Mississippi River. Every day from March to October (and around the Christmas holidays) steamboats take tourists along the rivers Elba and Laba.
The city center is full of contrasts and Dresden’s past is 800 years long. It is written in every stone and brick of the city’s beautiful buildings.
The Golden Age of Dresden (according to historians) is the period during the reign of the controversial King August the Strong who was the king of Saxony and Poland in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, August the Strong. He got the nickname “Mighty” because of his incredible physical strength (it was said that he bent horseshoes with his bare hands) and because he had 390 sons and daughters (born from relationships with numerous mistresses – as the legend says). His wife looked after the only recognized child in the castle in Dresden, and the king traveled the Old Continent and had a crazy time. By the end of his reign in 1733, Augustus had built one of the most impressive cities in Germany, i.e. a city with palaces and churches that had never existed in that part of the world before. He built buildings modeled after those in Italy and France.
Today, Dresden is a jewel of baroque architecture thanks to King Augustus
August the Mighty built the Taschenberg Palace to meet Mistress Anna Konstanz (a woman who belonged to another man). The palace was completed in 1715, but then their love affair was already over. Today, the Kempinski Hotel is here.
The Residenzschlos is the oldest building in Dresden and is now a state museum. It was built in the 13th century, but it was constantly extended over the years. Visitors are enchanted by the largest treasury of treasures in Europe known as the “Green Vault”. In the vault there is a fascinating collection of precious stones, gold, jewelry, numerous ornaments located in 10 gallery rooms. The silver and amber rooms are particularly interesting.
The Church of the Virgin Mary is one of the symbols of Dresden. Johan Sebastina Bach personally opened the church in 1726. The church can accommodate 3,500 believers at the same time. It was destroyed in the course of two days in February during the bombing. It is interesting that the contractors cleaned the original material and incorporated every last brick and stone into the walls of the church (recognizable by their darker color).
The work of the famous architect Mateus Daniel is the Zwinger Palace from 1711. It was an integral part of the defensive wall and the gardens were all the way to the banks of the river Elbe. Art lovers can see various galleries and, among others, the Gallery of Old Masters (where the works of Rubens, Raphael, Botticcelli, etc. are preserved). The magnificent building of the opera “Die Semperoper” was built in the style of the Italian high renaissance. The building is named after the architect Gottfried Semper. Expensive tickets are sold out weeks in advance.
In February (February 13 and 14) 1945, Dresden was hit by a heavy bombardment by the Allied forces. 25,000 inhabitants died and about 80% of the buildings in the historic center were razed to the ground. Such a brutal attack has remained a puzzle for historians because the attack made no sense from a military point of view. Such a terrible bombing was demanded by the Red Army (according to some) and according to others, the city was destroyed by American and English bombers because it was already known that it would be in the Russian zone. It was bombed with napalm bombs and they say it burned for 7 days and 7 nights. And then the Soviet tanks entered “as liberators”.
Things have changed very positively (and the days of communism are in the past) after the unification of East and West Germany in 1990. The transformation of the city in the last few decades is fascinating and incredible. City authorities invest in aesthetics and infrastructure. The buildings today are modern and cheerfully colored instead of the depressing concrete constructions from socialist realism.
Visitors can see numerous cafes, shops, restaurants, street musicians, a relaxed atmosphere while walking through the streets of beautiful Dresden.
Tip: visit the nearby Meissen porcelain factory. You can visit the workshop where the most expensive porcelain in the world is made. Just one coffee cup can cost 1,000 Euros. Fans of cars and mechanics can visit the modern car factory Volkswagen (where mechanics manually assemble Volkswagen’s most luxurious models as well as some chassis parts for Bentley).