We continue our quest “What to hit in Dresden in one day?”. We already visited the Zwinger and admired the Semperoper, and now we go further to hit the other sights of Dresden. Usually we go on studying of the city independently, armed with own compiled guidebook and we see that is interesting to us, very seldom using group excursions. First of all, our family has some resistant unwillingness to be with a group therefore when we take an excursion, in 95% of cases it is individual. Secondly, it is not interesting to listen to many guides, especially if the language, in which they tell, is not native for them. Undoubtedly there are pleasant exceptions only confirming this. For example, in the Munchausen museum in Dunte we had a remarkable guide speaking with strong accent, but it was unputdownable of her story. And at Penghu we in general “listened” to excursion in Chinese. 🙂 Thirdly, the story of the guide is though not always interesting to everyone involved, and they get in the away each other. The defects in group can be listed for a rather long time, but we will better return to sights of Dresden.
Despite the dislike to the group excursions, in Dresden we decided to use the city sightseeing bus Stadtrundfahrt Dresden. Such way we chose first of all because of Max who needed to have a sleep quietly. He sleeps very well in a baby carrier, but lovable Asiatic and European tourists often inadvertently awoke him, trying to touch. Such two-decker buses “City tour of...” are almost in all big European cities. It is considered that it is the fastest and cost-effective way to see as much as possible sights for little time. So it is, in Dresden during hour and a half trip we visited all ends of the city and saw all landmarks places. The price of such excursion is about 18 euro per head depending on the chosen route. At that the ticket worked till 12.00 of the next day.
The excursion was in German, but it is possible to use the audio guide in some other languages. If it is planned to make many beautiful photos, such excursion is not for you - it is possible to take a photograph something of course, but usually sights are at some distance from the road, the bus constantly moves and the set of “unnecessary” objects gets into the shot. Well or we have curve hands and successful shots are not enough for the very reason. 🙂 Approximately in 15 minutes after the beginning of the excursion we threw up attempts to photograph something and simply enjoyed the city.
We got into the bus on the Theatre Square (Theaterplatz) therefore the Semperopera and the equestrian statue of the Saxon King John (König-Johann-Denkmal) established in 1889 became the first sight which we saw.
And it is the market - place of Dresden - Altmarkt. By the way, the huge hypermarket in the very heart of the city is so called. Its size is only 130 by 100 meters. The first mentions of it there are in historical documents in far 1370. On the square tournaments were held, holidays were celebrated and, of course, there is a market here. During the bombing of Dresden, in 1945, the historical old market was completely destroyed and its restoration began only in 1953.
On Christmas Eve one of the richest and beautiful New Year's fairs of Germany - “Striezelmarkt” passes on the market - place of Dresden. Though it is possible the residents of other German cities also don't agree with this statement. 🙂 On the background Church of the Holy Cross - Kreuzkirche (we will tell about it a little later), and nearby the dome of the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) with the statue of the “Golden Hercules” (Der Goldene Rathausmann) are visible.
Hercules is the patron and the defender of Dresden therefore not coincidentally its 5-meter gold figure crowns the 100 meter tower of the New Town Hall constructed under the guidance of the architect Karl Roth. By the way, on the tower at the level of 68 meters there is one of the sightseeing platform of Dresden with which in fine weather it is visible not only the city, but also its localities. The New Town Hall is rather young building, the foundation stone was put by the last king of Saxony Frederick Augustus III on September 29, 1905, and the construction was complete in the fall of 1910.
Having left the center of Dresden, our tourist coach through the Augustus Bridge goes at the farther shore of Elbe. One of the most popular sights of Dresden - the Frauenkirche is visible far off. We will return during our foot walk to this and now we go to the New city (Neustadt) to the Japanese palace (Japanisches Palais).
The first palace constructions appeared there as early as in 1715. After that the castle was got by Frederick Augustus I, it was completely constructed and reduced to the storage of the porcelain collection. The project was designed by Matthews Daniel Poppelmann - who constructed the Zwinger. As well as the most of other buildings of Dresden, the Japanese palace suffered during the bombing of the city, but it was reconstructed, and now the Museum of Ethnology Dresden and the State Museum for Pre-History are situated here. The palace received this name because of the unusual form of the roof which reminds the Japanese architecture. Funnily, but some time the palace was called Dutch as in its walls there was a residence of the Dutch ambassador in Saxony.
We passed by the coach across Dresden, saw the Deutsches Hygiene museum, the Volkswagen Auto museum, the Elbe castles (Elbschlösser), a set of churches, the bridge “Blue Wonder” (Blaues Wunder) and many other sights which remained off-screen. Through an hour and a half we again appeared on Theatre Square and went to sight-see the Old city (Altstadt) in more detail. And we began with the Dresden Residential castle. As it isn't difficult to guess, this palace is the former residence of Saxon kings and Electors. This is one of the oldest buildings of Dresden - the first mentions in historical documents belong to 1289. The castle was again and again reconstructed and it had the modern look in 1901. Now in the building there are some museums and the greatest among them is “The green Vault” (Grünes Gewölbe) with the richest collection of jewelry in Europe. There are also the Dresden Armory with the Turkish Chamber, The Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and the Numismatic Cabinet.
During the bombing on February 13, 1945 the Residential castle was ruined down to rock bottom. The restoration of the palace began only in 1987 and partially continues thus far. The restoration of the Residential palace is planned to finish by 2015. If you go around the building, you will be caught in the Palace (Castle) (Schlossplatz) Square. From here clear seen the 100-meter Watchtower Hausmannstrum on which there is the sightseeing platform.
On West side of the Palace Square there is the visiting card of Dresden - the Catholic Church of the Royal Court Hofkirche (Katholische Hofkirche). The temple is consecrated with the name of the Holy Trinity, therefore its official name is the Dresden Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Kathedrale der heiligsten Dreifaltigkeit). The church was built in the middle of the XVIII century by Frederick Augustus II, Augustus the Strong's son. The temple is the place of disposition of the Wettin's family, the sarcophagi with bodies of governors of Saxony are located under the altar. In the royal crypt (Königsgruft) there is the heart of King Augustus the Strong though he is buried in the Cathedral of the Wawel Castle in Krakow.
Near the Hofkirkhe there is the St. George's gate (Georgentor) wherethrough it is possible to get to the palace courtyard residence. The “Elbe gates” are constructed by the Duke George the Bearded (in his honor it also received this name) in 1533 - 1535.
On East side of the Palace Square there is the Dresden Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht). After the February bombing of Dresden in 1945 the terrible fire began which almost completely destroyed some historical buildings of the city including the State parliament. After the reconstruction the Museum of Zoology, The Land department on protection of monuments of architecture and other institutes were placed in the building. Today there is the Higher Regional Court.
In front of the courthouse there is the monument to the king of Saxony, Frederick Augustus I der Gerechte. The construction of the monument upon the project of the German architect Ernst Rietschel began in 1831 and was complete 12 years later, in 1843.
Dresden Bruehl's terrace
Also near the building of the Supreme Court there is the stairs on the world famous Bruehl's terrace (Brühlsche Terrasse) which is called often “The Balcony of Europe”. The terrace is located on the shore of Elbe and has a length of 500 meters and the excellent view of the New city opens from it. The terrace was constructed as part of the fortification of the old Dresden in the XVI century. Later it was reconstructed and got the present name by which it is obliged to the Saxon minister, the count Heinrich von Bruehl. This part of the quay was presented to him by Augustus III.
The Bruehl's terrace is not only a place for slow walks on the quay. As earlier it was the part of the fortification, medieval casemates remained inside. There is now the museum here in which you can see various parts of city fortifications.
The Bruehl's terrace is a purlieu walks of the most European tourists, and one of the most beautiful views on the Palace Square opens from here.
Unfortunately the day promptly runs short, and we have no opportunity to stay at the Terrace for a few hours to take pleasure a view of Elbe and a play of street musicians therefore we go further. We will return to the palace residence where on the wall of gallery “Long Course” (Langer Gang) which is the northern wall of the livery yard “Stall Courtyard” (Stallhof) the well-known tiled mural from the Meissen porcelain - the “Procession of princes” is located. Fürstenzug was created in 1904-1907 and consists of more than 25 thousand porcelain tiles. On the mural the thousand year history of the Princely house of Wettin which governed in Saxony is represented. The length of the mural is 105 meters, and the width - 9,5.
And before going to the hotel, we decided to rise the viewing platform of the Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) to look at Dresden at a height. There we went by the Transport museum and the New market Square.
On the New market square you cannot fail to notice one of the most beautiful churches of Dresden - the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). It was constructed in 1726-1743 by order of Augustus the Strong. Its predecessor appeared on this place almost in 300 years before - in 1472-1539. During the bombing by allied troops in February, 1945 the church was ruined down to rock bottom. Due to the lack of financing the power of GDR (German Democratic Republic) decided not to restore the church, and to leave its remains as the memory to descendants. But in 1989 the initiative group headed by the world famous conductor Ludwig Guttler began fund raising on the restoration of the temple. The restoration of the Frauenkirche began after the reunification of Germany. The foundation stone of the new church was in May, 1994, but the reconstruction of the temple began only in 1996. For tourists and parishioners the church opened in 2005.
But having reached the Church of the Holy Cross (Kreuzkirche) we displeased surprised: till 2015 the restoration works are carried out to churches and it is impossible to get inside.
Therefore there is nothing for us to walk around it. The main Protestant church of Dresden Kreuzkirche is nearly 800 years. Its history begins since 1168 and it appears that it is only 118 years younger than Briesnitzer Kirche which is in the area of our hotel. It three times suffered from the fires and twice from warfare, but it was always restored again. It is recognised that it is one of the earliest constructions of the city. The church received the name in honor of the main relic - the slice of the Cross whereon Jesus was crucified was stored in the temple.
In front of the Church of the Holy Cross is the monument to the German composer Julius Ernst Ott.
At that our small excursion across Dresden was almost over. As you cautch, in Dresden there is a lot of interesting and therefore it is impossible to hit it in one day. We had a little stroll on its center and saw the most known sights. It is necessary far more time to feel and fall in love this city. We will surely return here once again to visit the well-known Hygiene museum, to watch the assembly of the car Volkswagen the Phaeton on Gläserne Manufaktur, to look at Elbe Palaces and many other things.
And at the end of our report about Dresden it would be desirable to mention the very useful, in our opinion, “the tourist map” which will save both time and money. It is called as Dresden City Card and it is in both for one person, and in “family” option. It is possible to buy the card for a period of 1 till 5 days and it affords an opportunity to use public transport, to visit free of charge all museums of the Dresden State art collection (except the Green Vault), and qualify for discounts in some cafes and restaurants. The price is very acceptable - the family card (2 adults, 4 children) costs 55 euro for two days. If you plan to visit some museums, it will pay off quickly - almost in all museums of Dresden the ticket costs about 10 euro. If you don't visit museums, its meaning, of course, is lost.
From Dresden we went to the capital of Germany - Berlin. We planned the ambitious program with a visit of the Berlin wall and the Hemp museum, photos against the Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate. We also planned to explore the Berlin zoo and to rise the radio tower, but … Mister Barack Obama, honorary the U.S. President, together with his wife Michele decided to visit Berlin too, and certainly at the same time! Having arrived in the evening in the heart of the city we found out that it is entirely blocked for cars and partially for pedestrians. The Internet said to us that the couple Obama with the official family will stay in Berlin a couple of days more, having made the declamation therefore the security arrangements are strengthened, and access in the center is limited. There is nothing for us how to go back to Poland, and a visit of Berlin to move to the next time.