Dresden is one of the most remarkable cities in Germany. It boasts stunning royal architecture from its history as the old capital of the German kingdom of Saxony (before unification, Germany was a patchwork of German kingdoms, city-states, and more). If one would like to discover inspiring old German architecture, then Dresden is one of the places to start.

Germany also has the tallest church building in the world - the Ulm Minster. It boasts an incredible history and managed to survive the bombing of the war - unlike the surrounding city. Germany is also home to some of the most impressive Roman ruins - especially Roman ruins north of the Alps - like the famous Porta Nigra in the historic Roman city of Trier in western Germany.


Dresden - Germany's Historic City Resurrected From the Ashes

Dresden has a long history and was the royal residence for the Electors and the Kings of Saxony. For centuries these elites furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor. This seemed to have come to an abrupt end with the devastating firing bombing of World War II. The bombing left the city utterly destroyed and razed to the ground.

  • Allied Fire Bombing: Completely Destroyed The City
  • Communist East Germany: Largely Neglected The City

But after the war, the Germans set about reconstructing the historic parts of their beloved city so that they wouldn't lose their heritage. But much of this work would have to wait for reunification and the end of Communist neglect.

Fortunately, much of the city's other treasures also managed to survive the war and today one can see vast collections of art and antiquities like royal clothing on display in its world-class museums.

  • Location: State of Saxony, on The Elbe River Close To The Czech Republic.
  • Museums: Dresden Has Many Superb Museums
  • Reconstruction: Mostly After German Reunification

The rebuilding of Dresden is considered one of the greatest success stories of post-war rebuilding. Today it is one of the most visited cities in Germany with millions flocking to see its lovingly rebuild historic buildings. Dresden is one of Europe's greatest Baroque city. The city shrugs off its destruction from Allied bombing and Cold War-era neglect. It is now a city of glittering palaces, blooming gardens, and the magnificently rebuilt Frauenkirche.

Related: Munich, Germany: Your Essential Weekend Itinerary

The Frauenkirche

Much of the reconstruction has only happened relatively recently with the most prominent building, the church Frauenkirche, only being rebuilt between 1994 and 2005.

The Frauenkirche (meaning "Church of our Lady") is a Lutheran church (originally Catholic). It is one of the most notable sights in Dresden and features one of the largest domes in Europe. The building was built in the 18th century but destroyed by the Allies during the War.

  • Rebuilt: Between 1994 and 2005
  • Original Stones: It Was Rebuilt With Around 4,000 Original Stones

For 50 years the ruins remains a war memorial until the decision was taken by the reunified German government to rebuild it. Reconstruction started in 1994 and the church was reconsecrated in 2005. It was rebuilt with around 4,000 original stones.

Today the church is open to the public and admission is free. One can also buy tickets to climb up into the dome.

  • Admission: Free
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-12:00 & 13:00-18:00

Related: Munich To Berlin: Must-See Historic Sites Along The Way

Dresden Royal Palace and Museums

After the Frauenkirche, the most rewarding thing to see is the Dresden Royal Palace and Museums. It's one of Europe's oldest public museums and one of the continent's richest. It was the Elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong who decided in 1723 that his royal collections should be open for the public to enjoy. He then set about turning his private treasure chambers into a public museum.

Inside the Dresden Royal Place, one will find the Dresden State Art Collection that's full of opulent court clothing, Augustus the Strong's personal garden tools, priceless art, and more of the royal Saxony past. Collections include masterpieces of gold, jewelry, ivory, and silver from the 14th to 18th centuries.

  • Preservation: The Treasures Were Moved for Safe Keeping During the War
  • Address: Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden

Like other buildings in the city, parts of the palace like the Green Vault were mostly destroyed in the War and had to be rebuilt. In addition to the many treasures of the Green Vault there are other attractions.

  • Turkish Chamber: Established in 1614, Has One of The Largest Collections From The Ottoman Empire
  • Dresden Armory: Exhibits Weapons and Armor
  • Print Cabinet: Shows Graphic Art, Drawings, Pastels By European Artists From The 15th Century