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Dresden

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Dresden

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Dresden is the capital of the German federal state of Saxony (Sachsen), population 480,347 (year 2004). Located on the Elbe River, it is an industrial, governmental, and cultural center.

Understand

Dresden was first mentioned as a city in 1206 and the 800th birthday celebrations will therefore take place in 2006. The city has since then come a long way. It was home to many Saxon kings, the most famous of them being August der Starke (August the Strong), whose kingdom included Poland as well. The historical center of Dresden is now nearly totally restored, after large parts of Dresden were almost completely destroyed in February 1945 by allied bombers. The architecture suffered a bit from the times under socialist rulership and many monotone concrete buildings were erected back during 1950 and 1990. So, besides the old historic center you will find a lot of younger buildings. There have been many major improvements and the city offers a combination of a modern shopping street, a historical centre and a vibrant evening culture.

Get in

By Plane

Dresden-Klotzsche Airport is located north of the city and can be reached by bus (line 77 and 97) and tram line 7 (change for the bus at tram station Karl-Marx-Straße). Even faster is the connection with local train lines (S-Bahn).

Flights leave to nearly all important German cities and few European destinations, like Zurich, Vienna and Copenhagen. The emergence of low-frill airlines Germanwings [1] and DBA [2] has lead to reduced fares to Munich and the low-cost hub at Cologne. Lufthansa [3] operates to most domestic destinations. Air Berlin [4] also offers flights to and from Rome and Barcelona.

By Train

The main station is within walking distance of the city centre and easily accessible by bus or car. Regular trains leave for the rest of Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) and to Prague and Budapest. It is currently being refurbished, so check if your train is really leaving/going there and not at the other big station in Dresden-Neustadt.

The main train station is situated at the end of Dresden's main shopping street Prager Straße and in short walking distance from most central attractions. It is very well connected with the local bus and tram network and can be reached very fast from nearly everywhere, also at night time. Trains to nearby towns, such as Meissen and Pirna still run till midnight.

The other big train station called Dresden-Neustadt is located in the northern half of Dresden and also offers very good train connections, as most trains run through here, too. Some trains even terminate here and not at the main train station. Dresden-Neustadt is also easily accessible by tram or car.

By Car

Dresden can be reached without problems by car from the rest of Germany. It is well connected with the German highway system and a new Autobahn to Prague is nearly finished.

Get around

On foot

In the center, especially in the historic part, everything is easy accessible by foot. Note that the city center is not the geographical center of the city.

By bus and tram

There is a combined system of tram, bus and even train, but no subway. It works very well and connects all points of interest, but can be a little at peak times. Most lines even run at night time, of course with less capacity at night. This allows you to go out to most places or restaurants without the necessity to use a car. See Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe for more information.

Best is to get yourself a Day Ticket or for families a Family Day Ticket. It allows you to ride on all trams, buses and trains (except InterCitys and ICEs). It is relatively cheap and valid until the next day 4:00 am. You can also get a ticket limited to an hour and some others, but Day Tickets are good, if you are traveling around, not sure where you will be going and what you will be doing.

By car

The street network is very good and many roads have only been refurbished recently, especially in the city centre. As in all bigger towns it can be a bit crowded during rush hours. There are many parking lots in downtown Dresden and it should not be a problem to find a place to park. A number of automatic sign have been created, showing you the available number of free parking spaces, before entering the parking lots. Shops are open from around 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and you will see a lot of tourists and locals going shopping in the city centre. Please take care of them when driving and note that this is the time with the fewest available parking. Car drivers might seem to be a little more aggressive than in other countries, but are usually more friendly if you don't have a local registration number.

By bicycle

The fastest thing in the rush hour and if going a short to medium distance, if you're under good condition and not afraid of traffic and pedestrians. There are many designated roads for cyclists and it is most times very easy to find a place to park your bike. But as anywhere else, always use a good locker!

See

The official sightseeing tour:

  • Zwinger Palace [5].
  • Semper Opera [6] - Make sure to book tickets in advance! When there is no rehearsal or performance, the opera offers an interesting tour behind the scenes.
  • Frauenkirche[7] (Church of Our Lady - Completely destroyed during WWII, reconstruction nearly finished. The City of Coventry, which was raided by the Luftwaffe in WWII, donated the golden cross for the dome of the church).
  • Albertinum Museum [8].
  • Gläserne Manufaktur [9] The transparent factory is the site where Volkswagen builds its luxury sedan Phaeton. There is a very interesting free tour (English language) offered by Volkswagen. However you have to book in advance.
  • Grünes Gewölbe [10]. The Green Vault is Europe's most splendid treasure chamber museum.
  • Staatliche Kunstsammlungen This website provides an comprehensive overview of all important museums in Dresden: [11]
  • Standseilbahn Dresden
  • Schwebebahn Dresden - a unique aerial tramway

Dresden from an other point of view

  • Dresden Neustadt -- Very nice, lively part of the town. From heavy alternative style in the 90ies it becomes more and more "pseudo-exclusive" and expensive. But still you find some of the older way. Check out the Bunte Republik Neustadt in June. But you shouldn't leave your bicycle unattended without a good locker, and there is a serious risk of damage to your bicycle and car also, especially at weekend nights.
  • Elbwiesen (River Side): Go to the (mostly) green river side, especially in hot summer evenings/nights - very nice view of the old parts and lot of people doing sports, barbecue and party. There are often big concerts and a huge movie screen offers "outside cinema".
  • Großer Garten (Great Garden): Recommended for relaxing and sports (rollerblades are very common). It is the green lung of Dresden and can be reached easily by tram. You can also go a ride with a small miniature train through the park.
  • Erich-Kästner-Museum

Events

  • The Striezelmarkt is Germany's oldest Christmas market. It takes place from the last days of November till Christmas. Actually located at the Altmarkt, all kinds of shops and Glühwein Buden (mobile cafes selling warm wine - delicious!) now stretch through the whole city centre during this period.
  • The Dixiland Festival is Europe's biggest Jazz Festival. In 2005 it takes place from May 7-15 and attracts bands and visitors from allover Europe, America and the world.
  • The Filmnächte take place from June to August at the banks of the Elbe, just across the castle on the other side of the river. A huge movie screen offers cinema in a beautiful setting and there are also many concerts with popular stars. It is the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

Do

Buy

Eat

When in Germany one should always try a specialty that is not regarded to be german at first sight. Today, döner kebab is typically served as a kind of sandwich in pita (flat bread). This type of döner kebab has been available in Istanbul since about 1960. The döner kebab with salad and sauce served in pita, which is predominant in Germany and the rest of the world, was invented in Berlin-Kreuzberg in the early 1970s, because the original preparation was not appealing enough to the German taste. Therefore, as the "modern" döner is very dissimilar to the traditional dish except by name, it can be argued that the döner as most people know it is a "traditional" German dish. When in Dresden you can propably get the best Döner at Babos' and at Dürum Kebap Haus (Rothenburger Straße 41 - 01099 Dresden). A typical dish including a large drink should be around 5-6€.

Drink

The Neustadt is a very popular destination, especially for younger people. It boost a high number of bars and clubs, with many different styles.

The area around the Frauenkirche and Dresden Castle is very popular with tourist. Some fine restaurants are located there.

The Weiße Gasse is just around the corner of the Altmarkt near the shopping centre and the historical town. Good alternative, if you do not want to go to the Neustadt.

Sleep

Hotels:

  • "Kempinski Taschenberg Palais" (http://www.kempinski-dresden.de/; Taschenberg 3; 01067 Dresden; Tel 49-351-4912-0; Fax +49-351-4912-812)
  • "Hilton" (next to the Frauenkirche; An der Frauenkirche 5; 01067 Dresden; Tel 49-351-86420; Fax 49-351-8642725).
  • "Ibis"
  • "Mercure" (http://www.accorhotels.com).

Youth Hostels - IYHF:

Youth Hostels - Private:

Get out

  • Pillnitz - the old garden and summer castle of the former Saxon kings. Follow the roads along the Elbe eastwards or take a bus to get there. Beautiful atmosphere. You might be forced to pay in order to get in (around €2), but this issue is not yet fully resolved, as there are many people against that.
  • Meissen - medieval dome and castle and home to the first European china factory.
  • Festung Königsstein - Königstein Fortress One of the largest and best preserved late medeival fortresses in Europe. The fortress is situated about. 30 km from Dresden and to arrive by almost all means of transportation. A trip on the river Elbe in one of the historic paddle-steamers of „Sächsische Dampfschifffahrt“ is also highly recommended. getting there

External links


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