The city of Dresden has undergone a remarkable regeneration in the past few decades, rising from the ashes of World War II to become a thriving modern city that still holds a wealth of historic treasures and iconic buildings. Unlike the similarly devastated cities Berlin and Coventry, Dresden chose to painstakingly rebuild its celebrated Baroque centre in the image of its former glory, with the phenomenal results now proudly displayed throughout the city. If you have the chance to spend a weekend in this fascinating city, here’s our E&V guide to ensuring you see the very best of Dresden.
As soon as you’re settled and unpacked, it’s time to head out to the Aldstadt, or Old Town. Although the name may be slightly deceptive now, the ‘Jewel Box’ has been lovingly reconstructed, with even the famously elaborate Frauenkirche rebuilt over a period of twelve years after the reunification of Germany. One of the city’s most famous sites, this beautiful building now serves as a symbol of reconciliation.
After you’ve explored the church, walk up Augustusstraße to see the Furstenzurg, a huge porcelain mural adorning an outer wall of Dresden Castle that depicts the rulers of Saxony. The castle itself is also worth visiting, as it houses an impressive five museums that present priceless treasures, coins, artworks and weapons. Hopefully you should then still have time to wander down the Sophienstraßs and enjoy a performance at the Semperoper, which once hosted premieres by Strauss and Wagner and still has an entirely deserved reputation for putting on spectacular operas.
On Saturday morning, wake up in time for an invigorating morning stroll over to the Äußere Neustadt district on the northern bank of the River Elbe. Here, you’ll find a bohemian collection of unique bars and quirky boutiques, some particularly unusual architectural choices and even the city’s only historical bathhouse. Take the time to explore the Neustädter Marktalle, which sells everything from fresh flowers to vintage toys, then stop for a leisurely coffee in one of the independent cafés.
You’ll need to keep up your energy for the evening, as this also happens to be the district with the most celebrated nightlife. Stop by Villandry to savour traditional food with a modern twist, created using the finest fresh ingredients from local farmers, then head to cocktail bar Pinta for expertly mixed drinks that are guaranteed to start your night off in style.
Enjoy a quieter day on Sunday by setting out to learn a little more about Dresden’s dramatic history. The Bundeswehr Military History Museum is a staggering example of the creativity of post-reunification designers. Although the original structure was built in 1871, a new extension was completed in 2011 that cuts through the façade with a huge silver arrowhead, built in transparent materials to create a viewing platform that looks out over Dresden. Inside, the exhibits cover the realities of war with refreshing honesty, perfectly representing a city that has managed to align its tragic past with a peaceful, optimistic future.
If you find yourself longing to spend more time in Dresden, you might want to consider investing in a second home in the city. Our local Engel & Völkers shop is ideally placed to guide you towards your dream home, whether you want to live in the atmospheric Altstadt or up-and-coming suburbs.