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Three fascinating days in Dresden

18th April 2018

Three fascinating days in Dresden

The Dresden skyline

Mother of Pearl picture in the Green Vault

We recently spent three fascinating days in Dresden, the capital of the Free State of Saxony situated on the River Elbe in Eastern Germany. For centuries Dresden was the home base of the Electors and Kings of Saxony who ruled as far afield as most of present day Poland and even into Lithuania. They assembled riches from all over the world – locally carved ivory from Asian tusks, amber from Gdansk/Danzig on the Baltic Coast, crystal from Prague, and ornate and exotic delights from Milan and Venice. Many of these works are on display in the quite fabulous Green Vault Museum in Dresden Castle, which you enter through air-locked doors. And, unlike other more greedy institutions, they limit the numbers who can access at any time (important to book your tickets in advance…) so there is never a feeling of being crowded or rushed as you look around. The Green Vault was probably the highlight of our visit.

The rebuilt/restored Frauenkirche

The rebuilt/restored alter of the Frauenkirche

But, close on its heels, was the Church of Our Lady/the Frauenkirche – a fabulous work of classical architecture almost completely destroyed in the Allied fire bombing of February 1945, and then quite beautifully restored after the re-unification of Germany in 1989.

The fire bombing somewhat haunts any trip to Dresden – there are many references to it in the guides you read. Whether it was necessary or not, to kill 30,000+ people and largely destroy a city just weeks before the end of WW2 when Germany was already on it knees, is no doubt a debate that will continue – but what is not in doubt is that one of the most beautiful and historically significant cities in Europe – with a massive cultural heritage – was 90% flattened. The rebuilding and restoration has been a work of love undertaken at enormous expense by the Saxon State.

The entrance to the ‘Zwinger’

So, our lasting impression of Dresden. A great place to visit and wander around (especially in the Spring sunshine…). So much to see and do – not just the Green Vault and the Frauenkirche, but also the whole of the historic ‘altstadt’/’old town’ and the river area. Definitely recommended for a city break weekend.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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