Dresden, Germany - Parks, Art, Museums, Open Space, Public Transport
The first impression during a whirlwind, stop-over visit to Dresden is its vague similarity with Nuremberg, which I also visited for a couple of days. Both cities have river corridors and very long public streets, from which cars are excluded, that wind through the heart of the central area of the city, providing an artery that helps visitors to find their way. These main arteries link the central rail station to the main tourist attractions.
These streets appear to be the focus for the local community as well, particularly for shopping and market stalls. But the river, and shop-lined street are much bigger in Dresden, which has more open space and a massive tram systems that dominates the streetscapes.
Dresden has some excellent art galleries, churches and museums, and a thriving outdoor dining and cafe scene. There are also some street stalls and market squares, but they are fewer in number and less well developed than in Nuremberg.
The comparison between the two cities is interesting.
Below are my first impression from a two day stop-over in Dresden.
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Art and Museums, Churches
Most of the art galleries are easy to access by following Prager Strasse and Schlossstrasse from the main railway station to the river - with the Zwinger complex to the West and Albertium to the East.
There are several major churches in the area which are easy to find, though crowded.
The Zwinger baroque Palace and the Semperbau (Semper Building) contain a Suite of Museums and Galleries. This complex is Dresden's most famous landmark. - including the Green Vault collection, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, the Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection) and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon.
At the Albertium is the the Galerie Neue Meister. Elsewhere there is the Dresden Municipal Gallery and Art Collection, and a number of smaller galleries. I was not able to visit the Museum of Decorative Arts at Schloss Pillnitz. All the art galleries were well worthwhile and had excellent collections that were well displayed.
The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon was particularly interesting with fabulous displays of various scientific instruments clocks and telescopes. I was particularly interested in the solar clocks and early surveying tools (see the photographs).
Hop on Hop Off Bus in Dresden
The local tour bus was generally well organised with a set of four tours on offer. The main tour covered 22 stops and included areas on both sides of the river and a wide range of attractions and sites of interest. It takes about 90 minutes to do a circuit and the stops were well defined. The stops include the Schloss Pillnitz, the VW factory and Visitor Centre, the German Hygiene Museum. The latter was an unusual attraction but was well conceived with excellent educational displays about the human body and biology. The toiur also included some of the high class residental areas. The commentary was generally good and provided good historical background.
Dresden has huge parks, lots of open space, a wonderful river and its environs and is a very functional city with its extensive tram network. In some ways the trams dominate the streetscapes and this detracts from the scenic value. But you can't stop progress! More time was needed to really get to know the city and its community. I would love to visit again sometime.
© 2014 Dr. John Anderson
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