The Semper Opera is named after its architect Gottfried Semper. He had already built the Royal Court Theater in Dresden in 1841, which was destroyed by fire in 1869. Since Semper had participated in the German Revolution of 1848, he was no longer allowed to stay in Saxony. He worked in Vienna on the construction of the Burgtheater and as a professor of architecture in at the ETH in Zürich. However, the people of Dresden wished that Semper should also design the new opera house because the burned-down court theater was one of the most beautiful theaters in Europe. So Gottfried Semper designed the new Opera in Dresden. But it was built by his son Manfred Semper between 1871-1878.
The Semper Opera was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt in the GDR until 1985.
Today it is the home of the Saxon State Opera in Dresden. In addition to theater and opera performances, the house is also famous for ballet and concerts. The Semperoper is one of the most famous sights of Dresden. The Semper Opera is a historic building in the style of the neo-renaissance.
The Dresden Zwinger is a Baroque masterpiece and one of the most beautiful sights of Dresden. The architect Pöppelmann and the sculptor Permoser created this unique ensemble between 1709-1732. The name Zwinger goes back to the place where the building was constructed. Previously the Luna Bastion stood here with a wide moat. The former city fortifications were broken off for the Zwinger. Elector Friedrich August I wanted to build a new palace on the Elbe, where the Semper Opera stands today. The Zwinger was intended as a pompous forecourt of the palace, but the palace was never built and the river side was closed by a wall. The Zwinger served as a backdrop for celebrations and other amusements. Gottfried Semper closed the ensemble with the Sempergalerie in 1855. The Sempergalerie was designed by his student Bernhard Krüger and constructed differently than designed by Semper.
The Brühlsche Terrasse was created by Count Heinrich von Brühl around 1750 as a pleasure garden. The staircase was added later by Prince Repnin-Wolkonski. The terraces were originally part of the Dresden fortifications that were built in the 16th century. The Brühlsche Terrasse begins at Schlossplatz with a wide staircase that leads up to the terrace. Once at the top, you are in a baroque garden with trees and a pool. The elevated promenade leads along magnificent buildings to the Brühl Garden. The Academy of Fine Arts is one of the most impressive buildings on Brühl's Terrace. Because of its glass dome, which looks like a citrus juicer, it is also called "lemon squeezer". In the Brühl Garden there is a romantic dolphin fountain and a memorial to Gottfried Semper.
To become King of Poland-Lithuania Augustus the Strong converted to Catholicism in 1697. In order not to snub the predominantly Protestant population in Saxony, he decided not to build a Catholic church in Dresden. Instead, he promoted the construction of the Evangelical Frauenkirche. His son Friedrich August II of Saxony finally commissioned the Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri to build the Catholic court church. The church, completed in 1755, does not adhere to the usual east-west orientation, the choir is in the southwest and the bell tower in the northeast. Urban planning reasons were responsible for this, but also access from the palace via a bridge into the church. The Hofkirche is a very elegant baroque church with a bright white interior. The church burned out in the bombing night of 1945, the 85 m high tower survived the war unscathed. The Hofkirche was rebuilt until 1965. The altar painting from 1761 by Anton Raphael Mengs is worth seeing, it shows the Ascension of Jesus.
The former police station in the style of an Ionic temple was designed by the famous Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. For this reason, it is also known as the Schinkelwache. The Old Town Guard house was completed in 1832. The building was destroyed 1945 in the Second World War and rebuilt in 1956. The interior was redesigned for use as a theater box office and cafe. Schinkel is known for its reduced classicism. The Altstädter Wache looks very inconspicuous in an area with Palace, Semperoper and Zwinger. The guard house is also significantly smaller than the surrounding buildings.
The castle served as the residence of the kings of Saxony. At the end of the 13th century, the first castle complex was built, which was expanded in the following centuries. From 1548 the castle was enlarged significantly and the facades in the courtyard were decorated with sgraffito. In 1594 another courtyard was built in the south. From 1700 the Residenzschloss was redesigned in the Baroque style. The building burned down in the Second World War and was rebuilt in 1990. The Dresden Residenzschloss has meanwhile become an architectural gem and houses several museums and collections. One of the most famous museums in Dresden is the Green Vault, the treasury of August the Strong.
The Stallhofarkaden are 22 open arches on the Long Hallway in the Dresden Castle. Elector Christian I had the arcades built in 1588 as a venue for horse tournaments. The two ring-piercing columns are still reminiscent of the tournaments. The famous prince's procession is located on the back of the arcades.
The Stallhofarkaden were a co-production by architect Hans Irmisch and the Swiss sculptor Giovanni Maria Nosseni. They served as corridor and as stands at tournaments. The arcade on the facade is decorated with sgraffito. With this technique, two layers of plaster are applied one above the other and the top layer is partially scraped off. This makes the color of the lower layer visible and creates a pattern. The long hall is located above the long corridor, where the ancestral gallery of the Wettiners used to be. Today the long hall is used by the traffic museum.
The 102 m long picture made of porcelain tiles was created in 1907 by the Meissen porcelain manufacturer. In the Renaissance, murals for celebrations were painted on this wall. The royal procession represents the margraves, dukes, princes and kings of Saxony who ruled the country until 1904. The picture consists of over 20,000 tiles made from Meissen porcelain. The Fürstenzug is located on the outer wall of the Stallhofarkaden in Augustusstraße.
The long mural was originally created for the 800th anniversary of Wettiner in 1889, but was not weatherproof and therefore replaced by tiles. Since the tiles were fired several times at over 1,300 ° C, they survived the fire storm of World War II almost unscathed.
The architect George Bähr created this impressive baroque church between 1722 and 1743. The dome of the Frauenkirche dominated the cityscape of Dresden and was the symbol of the city. In 1945 the church was destroyed in the fire storm of the Allied air raids and lay in the center of the city as a pile of rubble until the end of the GDR. After the reunification, the citizens of Dresden collected money for the reconstruction. The construction was complicated because the fragments of the ruin were used for the reconstruction. The Protestant church with the unique dome was inaugurated in 2005. The stones from the ruin can be recognized by their dark color.
The interior is very impressive because the church is organized vertically. The audience ranks seem steep, like in an opera. The Frauenkirche is once again the most famous sight in Dresden. The houses on Neumarkt were also rebuilt in a historical style.
The equestrian statue of "August the Strong" stands on the Neustädter Markt since 1736. Friedrich August I of Saxony was elector of Saxony and king of Poland, he died 1733 in Warsaw. Der Goldene ReiterThe Golden Horsemen was designed by the Frenchman Jean Joseph Vinache. The sculpture was made of copper and gilded with oil paint. The "Golden Rider" stands on a pedestal that was set up by Constance Lipsius in 1884. August the Strong rides north-east, in the direction of his new Kingdom of Poland. The Neustädter Markt is a large square with two fountains, surrounded by prefabricated buildings of the GDR.
Dresden Neustadt is the district on the right bank of the Elbe, opposite the old town. There is an inner Neustadt (new town), that is the part that was built in 1732 in the baroque style and an outer new townt that was built from 1745 onward. The intersection Alaunstraße / Louisenstraße in the Outer Neustadt is the alternative center of Dresden. Subcultures can develop freely and small, owner-operated shops offer their goods in a nice atmosphere. Nice contrast to the historic center with it's hustle and bustle.
The former Yenidze cigarette factory of the brand "Salem" is now used as an office building and viewing restaurant. The oriental style building was constructed in 1909. The architect Martin Hammitzsch built a 62 m high tower with a colored glass dome. The dome and the chimney clad as a minaret are strongly reminiscent of the Al-Ashraf Barsbey Mosque in Cairo. Yenidze was a tobacco growing area in the Ottoman Empire, today the area is in Greece. The foreign architecture was initially rejected by the Dresdeners, but the building attracted attention and became the advertising medium for the cigarette factory. Today the Yenidze is a tourist attraction in the city.
Albrechtsberg Castle was built in 1854 by a Schinkel student for Prince Albrecht of Prussia. Kaiser Wilhelm I's brother married a bourgeois lady-in-waiting and has been undesirable in Potsdam since. The classicist-style building has a certain similarity to the Belvedere in Potsdam, which has also two external, square towers and was built in 1852. Architect Adolf Lohse was not as stringent as his famous teacher, the hexagonal bay window in the middle of the building looks a bit playful compared to his master. In 1925, the descendants in debt had to sell the property to the city of Dresden. The pompous castle and the remarkable garden can be visited. The luxury on display here doesn't have to hide from other royal residences. Together with Villa Stockhausen and Eckberg Castle, it is one of the three Elbe castles.
Pillnitz Castle (Schloss Pillnitz) is located around 11 kilometers south-east of downtown Dresden directly on the Elbe. August the Strong had the palace designed by his court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. The Baroque Pillnitz Castle consists of three components, which together form two U-shaped buildings. The Wasserpalais (Water Palace) was built in Chinese style in 1721 and was the first building of the complex. The ship's staircase on the Elbe also belongs to the Wasserpalais. The mirror-image Bergpalais (Hillside Palace) was added in 1724. The Venus Temple was built in the east of the two palaces, but was destroyed by a fire in 1818. On its site, the first King of Saxony Friedrich August I (the just, not the strong) had the New Palace built in 1822.
The park consists of a baroque pleasure garden between the two palaces, an English landscape garden and a Chinese garden, which however only consists of a Chinese pavilion or what was believed to be Chinese in 1804. Pillnitz Castle is a popular excursion destination for the Dresdeners.
The "White Fleet" of the Saxon Steamship Company sails the Elbe between Seusslitz (north of Meißen) and Bad Schandau on the Czech border. The company was founded in 1837 and travels the Elbe with historic paddle steamers. The jetties in Dresden are between the Augustusbrücke and the Carolabrücke below the Brühlsche Terrasse. There are also short trips within the city limits of Dresden. The boat trip to Dresden-Loschwitz is very popular. On the website of the Sächsischen Dampfschiffahrt you can check out which ship is used on the respective tour.
The middle of the three Elbe castles was built for Baron von Stockhausen, so it is actually called Villa Stockhausen. The architect Adolph Lohse designed the classicist building in 1853. The castle was later acquired by Karl August Lingner, who bequeathed it to the city after his death. Linger was a successful entrepreneur who manufactured the Odol mouthwash and thus came to great prosperity. Today there is a restaurant in the Lingner Castle with a large terrace and beer garden. From the terrace you have a wonderful view over the vineyard, the Elbe to the city center of Dresden.
Eckberg Castle (Schloss Eckberg) is the youngest of the three Elbe castles and forms the eastern end of the ensemble. The castle was not named after its builder but after the vineyard on which it stands. The Semper student Christian Friedrich Arnold built this castle in the English Tudor style for the British businessman Johann Daniel Souchay in 1859. In 1925, the Dresden toothpaste king Ottmar von Mayenburg took over the castle until the family was expropriated by the socialistic GDR in 1952. Eckberg Castle was converted into a hotel and privatized after the Wall came down. Today Schloss Eckberg is a luxury hotel with a fine restaurant.
From the steep edge of the slope above the Elbe, there is a beautiful view of the flat city of Dresden on the opposite bank. In the Dresden-Loschwitz district there are two mountain railways that go to different hills. The older one is the funicular that is running since 1895. The 547 m long, single-track route overcomes a height difference of 95 m. The steam-powered cars were replaced by electric vehicles in 1906. Once at the top there is a small mountain station from which you can go to the Luisenhof restaurant. There is a large terrace with a beautiful view of the Elbe. The funicular belongs to the Dresdener Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB), the entrance is at the Körnerplatz in Loschwitz. See link for opening times and prices.
The Dresden Schwebebahn (aerial tramway) connects Loschwitz with the 84 m higher district of Oberloschwitz. The overhead railway is suspended from 14 m high girders and was opened in 1901, two months after the famous Wuppertal suspension railway. The Dresden suspension railway is a technical rarity, it is the only aerial tramway that is used as a mountain railway. The route length is 274 m. At the mountain station is the Café Schwebebahn with a large terrace and a view of the Blue Wonder. The suspension railway in Loschwitz belongs to the Dresdener Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB). The entrance is on Pillnitzer Landstraße in Dresden-Loschwitz.
The steel truss bridge over the Elbe was completed in 1893 and was called Blaues Wunder "Blue Wonder" by the Dresdeners because of the light blue paint. The span of the suspension bridge is 141 m. At that time, the Loschwitz Bridge was also considered a technical masterpiece of engineering. The steel bridge was planned by Claus Köpcke and Hans Manfred Krügers. To stop the Russian advance, the bridge was to be blown up in 1945, but this was prevented. The Blue Wonder is one of the symbols of Dresden, it spans the Elbe between the Blasewitz and Loschwitz districts.
Dresden is beautifully situated on the Elbe and was expanded into a magnificent city by August the Strong. These buildings still form the core of Dresden's old town today. The city is also called "Florence on the Elbe" because of its successful architecture.
During the "Second World War" the city was bombed and went down in flames. Many people were killed because the city was overcrowded with refugees from eastern Germany.
During the GDR era, the city was known as the "valley of the unsuspecting" because you could not receive western television here.
After the reunification, the Frauenkirche was rebuilt through donations from the citizens. The famous silhouette of "Florence on the Elbe" was restored. The other historical buildings in the center of Dresden have also been renovated in recent years and are now shining again in their old splendor. G
Dresden and the Elbe
The old town of Dresden is beautiful but it is only part of the magic. You can only understand Dresden if you drive the Elbe in the direction of Bad Schandau. Past the "3 Elbe castles", used the cable car or the suspension railway in Loschwitz and enjoy the view over the valley. The journey continues to Pillnitz Castle until you reach the Elbe Sandstone Mountains of "Saxon Switzerland". Here you can go hiking or climbing in a unique rocky landscape. On the left bank of the Elbe, it is worth visiting the "Königstein Fortress" with a wonderful view of the Elbe and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. G