After a full day spent exploring palaces and gardens in Potsdam and the Capital of Germany, Jesse and I made our way to Dresden. Dresden is a large city and the capital of Saxon that has a complex history.
It was the home to several kings and was a renowned center for art, music and architecture. Dresden was however destroyed more than once during war-time, most notably during World War II. Dresden was bombed by American and British forces at the very end of WWII (Feb 13-15, Mar 2, and Apr 17 of 1945), in attacks that are regarded as amongst the most controversial in modern warfare. These bombing and the subsequent firestorm lead to reported deaths somewhere between 35,000 and 135,000 and completely destroyed the city. Dresden was largely rebuilt with many of the prominent buildings replicas of the originals, while others were left for 50 years as reminders of the bombings including Frauenkirche before finally being rebuilt.
Today Dresden is (according to an artist we recently met from Dresden) finally beginning to bloom and is establishing itself as a capital for art and culture once more.
Our time in Dresden was short. We found parking just behind the Dresden Castle, where there was a formal event going on. We didn’t blend in too well with the gowns and tuxedos, so instead we set out on a walking tour though the city. We started by walking south down to the Dresden Kreuzkirche, a very large evangelical church with over 3000 seats, making it the largest in this region of Germany. This church was quite nestled in with buildings around it, so it was difficult to photograph.
We walked around it and then continued north to the Martin Luther Memorial that was built in 1958 and the Frauenkirche. Along our route and in this square, we walked through shopping areas and past many restaurants with outdoor seating. We found ourselves at the Dresden 1900 Museumsgastronomie. It was pretty chilly, at nearly 10 pm in the fall, but we asked to sit outside with the views of Frauenkirche. The restaurant was certainly unique, down to the uniforms and interior, which took us back in time. I tried their specialty drink, Schaffnersprudel, and we shared the Quarkkeulchen for dessert – small pancake-like dessert, rolled in powdered sugar and served with apple compote. Mmmmm!
From the square, Münzgasse north took us past more eateries and up a grand staircase onto the Brühlsche Terrasse. On the terrace we walked past many of the grand buildings of Dresden that are perched on the Elbe river bank, including the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, the Supreme Court of Saxon, and the Albertinum art museum. However a walk to the other side of the Elbe led to some beautiful night scenes of these reconstructed buildings. Carolabrücke has a pedestrian walk over the Elbe, where I tested out our camera with some longer exposures. The only problem was that there was a lot of small vibration on the bridge from cars but even from people walking by, that they all came out a bit fuzzy.
Other the otherside of the Elbe, we walked past a very large government building on our way to the Goldener Reiter, a Dresden landmark. The golden statue is of “Friedrich August I – Duke of Saxony, Elector and Archbishop of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Poland.” He was also known as Augustus the Strong. This statue is a the entrance to Augustusbrücke, which is a beautiful bridge that took us back across the Elbe with views of the Brühlsche Terrasse and the Katholische Hofkirche (the Catholic Court Cathedral).
We walked around a couple more massive buildings, the State Opera House and Zwinger palace – now a museum complex, and their courtyards to the east of Katholische Hofkirche, before we had to call it a night. It was well after midnight, before we made it to our nearby hotel.
In the morning we were Czech Republic bound! But we made a quick stop at the Palais Großer Garten (Palais in the Great Garden) to see some of the flowers and people relaxing in the cool morning air. The gardens were massive and so beautiful with lots of paths and various sections. We also passed a lovely bride and groom being photographed.