Dresden is the capital city of the state of Saxony and is located on the river Elbe, close to the Czech border. The area where Dresden stands today was settled in the Neolithic area, approximately 7,500BC! Dresden officially became a city in 1206 and recently celebrated its 800th birthday. The city became the seat for the dukes of Saxony in 1485 (the last king of Saxony abdicated in 1918) and in the 1700s it started to make a name for itself as a leading European city in technology and art. Dresden suffered severe damage by Allied bombing in 1945; 75% of the city’s historical centre was destroyed. Since then the city has been rebuilt and has become a very popular tourist destination, as visitors often stop in Dresden between their trip from Berlin to Prague (or vice versa). The city is filled with beautiful sights, particularly in spring and summer when all of the flowers are in bloom or in winter when everything is covered in a blanket of white snow.
Top 3 Tourist Attractions:
Dresdner Zwinger (Zwinger Palace) – The Zwinger is one of Germany’s most impressive baroque palaces. The palace features many pavilions and galleries and is surrounded by stunning gardens. The palace also contains a courtyard where many festivals and special events are held. The gallery is home to one of the most famous paintings in the world – Raphael’s Sistine Madonna. Whilst many are unfamiliar with the whole artwork, the two angels featured at the bottom are recognised by most.
Semperoper (Semper Opera House) – The Semperopera is the opera house of the Saxon State Opera and the concert hall of the Saxon State Orchestra, as well as home to the Semperoper ballet. The opera house is located in the historical centre of Dresden and was originally built in 1841 by Gottfried Semper, however, a large fire in 1869 destroyed the building and the reconstruction was completed in 1878. The opera has been home to the premier of many famous operas, including three by Wagner, nine by Richard Strauss and many more! Aside from viewing concerts of ballet performances, the opera gives daily tours in both English and German.
Filmnächte am Elbufer – In Summer the grassed area by the Elbe turns into Germany’s largest outdoor cinema, now attracting around 150,000 visitors each year. Every night approximately 5,000 visitors bring out their picnic blankets and watch a movie on the large screen. Whilst the main attraction are the movies, each year there are one or two concerts which take place at this venue, which have included R.E.M. and Nelly Furtado, as well as German bands Die Ärzte and Die Fantastischen Vier. Since 2004 the film nights at the Elbe has had the largest movie screen in the world – a whopping 448 metres squared (32m by 14m)!
Did you know… that toothpaste was invented in Dresden? European porcelain was also invented in Dresden (find out more at http://www.meissen.com/en/world-meissen-couture/maison-meissen-couture/300-years-heritage).
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