If you came to this page directly and do not see a navigation frame on top, please go to the home page.

DEUTSCHLAND GERMANY
Bundesland: Freistaat Sachsen Saxony
kreisfreie Stadt: Dresden  

map

Dresden

cs: Drážďany it, ro: Dresda es, fr: Dresde hu: Drezda lt: Drezdenas lv: Drēzdene pl: Drezno dsb, hsb: Drježdźany
el: Δρέσδη
bg, mk, ru, sr, uk: Дрезден be: Дрэздэн

Dresden is situated at an altitude of 113 m at the river Elbe. Dresden is the capital of Germany's state of Saxony. With its population of about 490,800 (2005) it is one of the three metropolitan areas that together form the metropolitan region Sachsendreieck (Dresden, Leipzig-Halle, and Chemnitz-Zwickau). The city of Dresden is administered as a district in its own right. The municipality has a population of about 530,000 (2011).

The earliest traces of human settlements date from the Neolithic period. The earliest mention of Dresdene is found in a document of 1206. The name most probably is derived from the old sorbic word 'Drežďany', refering to the inhabitants of a lowland forest. Around 1500 Dresden became the residence of the margraves of Meißen and dukes of Saxony from the Wettin dynasty (see chart of the Wettin dynasty). The 'Wittenberg Kapitulation' of 1547, which ended the War of Schmalkalden, transfered the rank of Electors from the Ernestine to the the Albertine line of the dynasty. Saxony thus became the most influential Protestant country within the Holy Roman Empire. Under Elector Friedrich August I (King August II of Poland) Dresden became one of the most important cultural centres of Europe. During the Napoleonic times, Saxony was allied with France. With approval of Napoleon, Saxony was elevated to a kingdom in 1806. After the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Leipzig (1813) and the Congress of Vienna (1815), the territory of the kingdom was reduced by almost two thirds: its northern and eastern parts were annexed to Prussia (province Saxony), the Thuringian possessions fell to the Ernestine Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Nevertheless, Saxony remained one of the strongest countries in Europe, even after 1871 when it became part of the German Empire.

After World war I, Dresden became the capital of the Free State of Saxony within the first German Republic. During World War II Dresden was spared from battles for most of the war. However, on 13/14 February 1945, the town was almost completely destroyed by a British and American bomb raid. Current estimates calculate the loss of some 35,000 people. After the war, parts of the historic old town were cleared, the remaining ruins and several churches were blown up. Some other historic buildings, however, such as the Zwinger, the Hofkirche and the opera house were restored. After the reunification of Germany in 1990 the efforts to restore parts of the historic appearance were renewed.

The Elbe valley from Übigau Palace and Ostragehege fields in the northwest to the Pillnitz Palace and the Elbe River Island in the southeast, crowned by the Pillnitz Palace and the centre of Dresden with its numerous monuments and parks was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004 (see also list of other UNESCO heritage sites).

792 Dresden The Catholic Hofkirche (Court church) [left, no.792, and right, no.1055: background left] was built for Elector Friedrich August II (August III as king of Poland) by the architect Gaetano Chiaveri. The Baroque church was the largest church of Saxony. The nave has a length of 50 m and a height of 20 m, the church tower is 85 m tall. Seventy-eight statues of saints were created by Lorenzo Mattielli for the ballustrade areound the nave. The organ was creaetd in 1755 by the famous organ-builder Gottfried Silbermann. The crypt beneath the church holds the tombs of members of the Wettin dynasty. After its destruction in 1945, the church was restored until 1965. In 1980 it obtained the status of a cathedral, the new seat of the bishops of the diocese Dresden-Meißen.

1055 Dresden The bridge, August-Brücke [left] was built in 1727–1731 by the famous Baroque architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. It was named for Friedrich August I (August 'the Strong'). By the beginning of the 20th century, the bridge could not accomodate the increasing traffinc any more. It was torn down in 1907 and was replaced by the new Friedrich-August-Brücke [right], constructed between 1907 and 1910 and was named for King Friedrich August III. The bridge was partly blown up in 1945 and was restored after the war. Between 1945 and 1990 it was named 'Georgi-Dimitrow-Brücke'. After the reunification of Germany in 1990 it was renamed 'Augustusbrücke' (although the structure of course is that of the Friedrich-August-Brücke of 1910).

The Royal castle [left, no.792: bottom left picture] was first mentioned in 1237. The tower, Hausmannsturm, in the northwestern corner was added around 1400. Further parts of the castle were added in 1468–1480, 1548–1556, 1586–1591 and 1589–1594. Parts of the castle which were destroyed by a fire in 1701 were rebuilt between 1717 and 1719. The Lutheran court chapel was dissolved in 1737 when Friedrich August I ('the Strong') wanted to be elected King of Poland and because of that converted to the Catholic faith. In 1889–1901 the castle was remodeled in Renaissance revival style on the occasion of the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Wettin dynasty. On 13 February 1945 the castle was completely destroyed by fire. Works to rebuild the castle began in 1985 and are completed in 2006.

The bottom right picture on glass no.792 [left] shows the royal opera house (Semperoper). The first opera house was built Gottfried Semper between 1838 and 1841, but was destroyed by a fire already in 1869. The building depicted on the glass is the second opera house, again designed by Gottfried Semper and built in 1871–1878. The opera house was destroyed on 13 February 1945. The remaining structures were secured in 1946–1955 and the first studies to rebuild the famous opera were carried out in 1968–1978. The reconstruction began in 1977 and was completed in 2002.

1238 Dresden: Zwinger 1271 Dresden: Zwinger

The Zwinger [left, no.1238, and right, no.1271] is probably Dresden's mot famous historic building. It was designed by the architects Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and Balthasar Permoser, and was built between 1711 and 1728 on the site of a part of the old fortifications. The Zwinger remained unfinished at first. The wing facing the Elbe river was added only in 1847–1854. On 13 February 1945 the Zwinger was severely hit by bombs. Original plans called for a removal of the historic structure, but the population of Dresden wanted to keep it. The restoration began already in 1945/1946. Between 1951 and 1954 the Kronentor (Crown Gate), the Glockenspielpavillon and the Mathematical-Physical Salon were reconstructed, the restoration was factually completed in 1963.

The three building depicted in the background of the picture on glass no.1271 [right] are labeled, from left to right, 'Fernheizwerk' (district heating plant), 'Kgl. Hofoper' (royal opera house), and 'Kgl. Gemäldegalerie' (royal art academy).

The Fernheizwerk was built in 1900/1901 and was the first of its kind in Europe.

1575 Dresden The Royal Art Academy (Königliche Kunstakademie) [left, no.1575: top picture] was built in 1887–1894 by Constantin Lipsius at the Brühlsche Terrasse. The academy was founded in 1764 and is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in Europe. Today, the building belongs to the university of fine arts of Dresden.

The Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) [left, no.1575: bottom left picture] is the second-oldest church of Dresden. The earliest chapel at this place may have existed already prior to 1206. A Romanesque church dedicated to St. Michael was built in 1215. After 1388 the original name 'Nikolaikirche' was slowly replaced by its new name, 'Kreuzkirche'. In 1539 the church became Protestant. The church burnt out five times during its history. In 1491 and 1669 the cause of the fire remained unknown, the third fire in 1760 was caused by a Prussian cannonball. After that it was rebuilt in 1764 in Baroque style. After another fire in 1897 it was restored and Art Nouveau elements were added. After the bomb raid on 13 February 1945 the church burnt out again, only the walls remained standing. The reconstruction was completed 10 years later. The church today is the seat of the Protestant bishop of Saxony. The church also is home of the world-famous Kreuzchor, one of the oldest boys choirs of Germany, founded in the 13th century.

The bottom right picture on glass no.1575 shows the Catholic Hofkirche (see above).

2463 Dresden

The top picture on glass no.2463 [left] shows a view of Postplatz, one of Dresden's central squares. The square is located at the site of one of Wilsdruffer Gate, which existed until the 19th century. At first the square was named Wilsdruffer Thorplatz; in 1865 it received its modern name, Postplatz.

The Sophienkirche (church of St. Sophia), the only Gothic church of Dresden, stood in the northeast corner of Postplatz. In 1250 the The Order of Friars Minor, Franciscans, built a monastery and a small church at this location. In 1331 the church was enlarged and then had two naves and two identical apses. In its southeast corner, the private Busmann chapel was added around 1400. After the Reformation the church stood empty for several decades until it was reopened as a Lutheran church in 1610 upon an initiative by Sophie of Brandenburg, wife of Elector Christian I of Saxony. From 1737 onward, the church served as the Lutheran court chapel. The organ built in 1718–1720 was created by Gottfried Silbermann. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was organist at St. Sophia's between 1733 and 1746. His father, Johann Sebastian Bach, also played the organ several times. The delicate sandstone pyramidal tower roofs were replaced by massive copper roofs in the 1934. The church was completely demolished during the Allied bomb raid in the night of 13th February, 1945. Everything in the church, including the magnificent organ, was destroyed by fire. The vaulting withstood the fire, but finally collapsed in the following year. The remaining south spire was blown up in 1950, the remaining ruins were pulled down in 1962/1963.

Schloss Albrechtsberg (also called Albrechtschloss, Albrecht Palace) [bottom left] is one of the famous three Elbe palaces on the right bank of the river. The palace was built in 1850–1854 by Adolf Lohse for Prince Albrecht, the youngest brother of the Prussian kings Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Wilhelm I (the later German Emperor Wilhelm II). Albrecht moved to Dresden because the royal court did not accept his presence any more after his morganatic second marriage to Rosalie von Rauch (later styled Countess of Hohenau; daughter of the Prussian general Gustav von Rauch). The park of the palace was designed by Eduard Neide and laid out by Hermann Sigismund Neumann.

Ständehaus (House of the Estates) [bottom right] was built in 1901–1906 by the Paul Wallot (who is best known as the architect of the Reichstag in Berlin). The building replaced the old palace of Count Heinrich von Brühl, which prior to that stood at this site. Between 1907 and 1934 the Ständehaus served as the seat of the Saxon parliament. In 1945 it was destroyed by Allied bombs. The building was rebuilt after a more simple design in 1946. Until 1999 it was home to the State Museum for Zoology, the State Museum for Mineralogy and Geology, the German Photograph Collection and the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. In 1999 the building became the new seat of the Appellate Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Saxony.

730 Dresden: Brühlsche Terrasse

 

The Brühlsche Terrasse, situated at the left bank of the Elbe river, is one of Dresden's architectural highlights. Its name goes back to prime minister Count Heinrich von Brühl, who had his Palais built at this place in 1737. Brühl introduced the 'Generalkonsumakzise', the forerunner of the value added tax. In 1747 he received the whole terrace as a reward which then became known as 'Brühlscher Garten'. The staircase depicted on glass no.730 [left] was created around 1880.

716 Dresden: Rathaus

 

The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) [left, no.716] is the seat of the municipal administration of Dresden. The building was designed by Carl Roth and Edmund Bräter and was built between 1905 and 1910. The characteristic tower has a height of 100 metres. The statue on top of the tower, a guilded sheet copper statue created by Richard Guhr, has a height of 5 metres. The town hall was partly destroyed in 1945 and was restored after the war.

1208 Dresden

 

Glass no.1208 [left] shows a view of the Catholic Hofkirche and Friedrich-August-Brücke [top], the Elbe river with royal opera house in the background and another view of the Friedrich-August-Brücke [bottom left], and a view of the Elbe and Brühlsche Terrasse with the bridges Carolabrücke and Albertbrücke [bottom right].


Weißer Hirsch

1662 Dresden Weißer Hirsch is a city borough of Dresden. The area was first mentioned in 1420 when a piece of forest was donated to the monks of the Augustine monastery. Part of Weißer Hirsch today still is called 'Mönchsholz' ('Monks' Wood'). In 1685 a country inn of the name 'Weißer Hirsch' (literally 'White Stag') was opened. In 1839 the village obtained the status of a rural community. In 1867 a bath house was opened and started the tradition of Weißer Hirsch as a regional spa place. The sanatorium was founded in 1888 and the village soon obtained a more town-like character. In 1921 the spa town Weißer Hirsch was incorporated, against the will of its inhabitnats, into the municipality of Dresden.

The picture on glass no.1662 [left] shows the funicular railway which connects Dresdens borough of Loschwitz with Weißer Hirsch. The funicular was built in 1895.


[scale]