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Dresden: known as the Florence of Germany

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Dresden (500,000 inhabitants), the capital of Saxony, stands along the banks of the Elbe river, near the border with the Czech Republic. The city extends on both sides of the Elbe river and is nestled in the hills of the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge).

Ancient Dresden Altstadt (old town) was built along the left bank of the Elbe from the beginning of the 13th century. Subsequently new neighborhoods sprang up along the right bank of the river, this new part of the city called Neustadt (new city) was joined to the old city starting from the 16th century. In 1485 it became the capital of Saxony. In the following centuries the city developed considerably enriching itself with numerous palaces and valuable churches, in baroque and neoclassical style. Dresden has become sadly famous for having suffered a devastating bombing during the Second World War (13-15 February 1945).


Dresden is a city of art, which is sometimes called “Florence on the Elbe” (Elbflorenz) because of its art collections, its museums and the historic Baroque buildings that characterize the city. Among the most impressive buildings in the city are the Dresden Castle (Dresdner Schloss) which was the seat of the royal family since the end of the 15th century. The building, which has been renovated several times, is a set of architectural styles, there are elements of the Renaissance, Baroque and classicism.

Another valuable building is the Zwinger Palace, located near the castle is a vast rococo style building. Built in the 18th century, it is now a center where the royal art collections are exhibited. The Semperoper, the lyric theater in Dresden, is also very beautiful. The theater was built by the architect Gottfried Semper in the 19th century.


Among the religious buildings of great value is the Hofkirche. This building, which is the city’s Catholic cathedral, was built in the mid-18th century in Baroque style and was the church of the royal family. The crypt of the Wettin dynasty is located inside the church. The city’s Protestant church is the Dresden Frauenkirche. This Lutheran church was built in the early part of the 18th century, but was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. The church was rebuilt in its original forms in the late twentieth century.

The city is full of parks and gardens, the green areas represent over 60% of the city surface. Dresden is also a city famous for its “Striezelmarkt” ie the Christmas Market, which is probably the oldest Christmas market in Germany.

In 2004, UNESCO included the cultural landscape of the Elbe valley where Dresden stands as a world heritage site. It is an 18 km stretch between the Übigau Palace and the Ostragehege fields in the north-west and the Pillnitz Palace and the island on the Elbe in the south-east. It includes the entire historic center of Dresden full of monuments and parks of the XVI-XX centuries. In 2009, UNESCO removed the cultural landscape of the Elbe Valley from the list of World Heritage Sites, due to a controversial construction of an infrastructure, which according to UNESCO defaced the landscape of the Elbe Valley.


The city has important museums. The 12 most important museums in the city are grouped together in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Most of these museums are located in the Dresden Castle, the Zwinger and the Albertinum. These are art museums, ethnography and painting galleries.

The important Grünes Gewölbe museum is located in Dresden Castle, a museum that displays the largest collection of jewels in the whole European continent. Also in the Castle is the Rüstkammer a museum which displays one of the largest collections in the world of weapons, armor and historical clothes.

Dresden hosts, in the baroque palace of the Zwinger, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, one of the most important art galleries in the world. Here are Renaissance and Baroque works by Italian, Flemish and German artists, including Raphael, Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Mantegna and Andrea del Sarto. Also very famous is the Galerie Neue Meister, housed in the Albertinum, which exhibits paintings by famous impressionist artists such as Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. Among the museums there are also museums dedicated to painting, numismatics, porcelain, ethnology, puppets and sculpture.

The climate of Dresden.

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