Dresden - The Baroque Pearl
Dresden is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and for centuries tourists from all over the world have come to see its beauty.
About 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of Berlin, almost halfway between Berlin and Prague, lies the “Baroque Pearl,” “Elbe’s Jewelry Box” and other names coined for the city of Dresden over the years.
Dresden is the capital of the State of Saxony, one of the important cities of eastern Germany and since the reunification of the two Germans in 1990, has developed and grown into one of the most important cities in Germany.
The University of Dresden, as well as other famous institutions, have made it a hotspot for investors. Dresden is an even bigger metropolitan centre. Many towns and villages in the vicinity receive their services from Dresden. Among the cities worth mentioning is the city of Meissen (Germany’s Porcelain Center), which lies about 20 km from Dresden, Radebeul (Karl May’s city), which lies about 10 km from Dresden.
The big changes in Dresden
Two major events have shaped the city and made it what it is today:
The first of these is the reign of King August II (also called August the Strong). The reign of this king was characterized by many revolutions, wars, but also Baroque-style construction and the acquisition of art collections. These collections of art have been the centre of attraction for tourists from all over the world who made Dresden, as early as the 18th century, one of Europe’s art and cultural centers.
The second event that shaped the city’s history is the WWII bombing on February 13, 1945, which destroyed large parts of the city. Not only the dimensions of the bombing, but also the memory of the city’s beauty before it, caused this event to be embedded in public memory. Another contributing factor was the political use of the bombing both in the immediate aftermath and in the following years.
The Best things to see in Dresden
In the period of August the Strong, some of the most important art collections and Museums in the world were erected:
- The Gallery of the Old Masters (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister) – This gallery contains paintings from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The paintings in the Dresden Gallery were collected from all over Europe. Italian painters (Raphael), Dutch and Flemish (Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Van Dyke) and also paintings from Germany, France and Spain.
- Porzellansammlung Museum – Literally porcelain collection. Inside the Zwinger Palace the King’s porcelain collection is located. As early as 1715, King August opened his porcelain collection to the public. Most of the collection features porcelain from Japan and China (some even from the Ming dynasty), which has been imported over centuries. You can also find porcelain from the King’s factory (Meissen Porcelain). There are more than 20,000 items in the original exhibition. Due to lack of space, only a portion of them is shown.
- The Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) – another of August the Strong’s initiatives. Augustus invested heavily in his art collections. This is not about jewelry but about real artworks. Gold-plated crystals, a casket covered with nacre (“mother-of-pearl”), porcelain and many, many diamonds.
Another building worth mentioning is Dresden’s opera, The Semperoper, which hosted Conductors like Strauss and Wagner. The building itself was demolished after the bombing of the city and was rebuilt several times since the 1970s.
The Bastai National Park
On the border between Germany and the Czech Republic (14 kilometres from the border) lies a national park known as “Saxon Switzerland” (Sächsische Schweiz), one of the most beautiful and unique nature reserves in Germany. Trips to Dresden originating in Prague, pass through this reserve. However, this national park is about an hour’s drive from Dresden. It is not between Berlin and Dresden. Travelling to this park will take you, at least, three hours of your trip (1-hour drive in each direction and at least 1 hour at the place itself).
In such a trip, you can find yourself sitting for seven hours (and even more) in a vehicle in one day (on the highway). As described earlier, Dresden is a special city and in some cases we even stay there overnight. Since we would like to give travelers a chance to visit at least one of the museums in Dresden, we have given up the visit to the Bastai National Park, to give you more time in Dresden.
On private tours we can offer a visit to Bastai, but we strongly recommend visiting this park when you visit the Czech Republic and Prague.
We offer the trip to Dresden between April and December. The trips leave without a minimum of participants.
If you want to secure your place on a trip, we will ask to register for a trip to Dresden in advance.