Decided on nearly a whim to visit Dresden the other weekend. It was a short visit, going down Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon. We stayed at a deserted hotel just near what was obviously the Dresdenites’ attempt at hipsterism: Louisenstrasse in Neustadt.
Dresden’s old town is without a doubt very beautiful. On a warm summer day, my friends and I were able to enjoy walking around the city. Most of the major sites and attractions can be covered pretty quickly. That’s probably why Lonely Planet and other travel guides point out the city as just a stopover between Berlin and Prague.
Dresden was bombed so profusely by the Allies in WWII that much of the city’s historical center had to be rebuilt after the war. The city’s church, Frauenkirche, was rebuilt in the 21st century as a symbol of reconciliation for warring countries such as those in WWII. The bombing of Dresden killed thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of civilians during just three days of Allied attacks, though the bombing is often forgotten about. What’s so surprising about that little fact isn’t the amount of people who died, but rather that so few people today know much about the bombing at all. That was, arguably, Kurt Vonnegut‘s point for writing Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut described the bombing as “meaningless.”
Regardless of history, Dresden today is very pretty. Maybe not as pretty as a Prague or a Budapest, but like so many of the cities along the Danube (??), it’s a stunning example of Eastern European architecture and grandeur.
Oh, and if you’re looking for where all the cool kids hang out at night, definitely try the clubs and bars on or around Louisenstrasse. In the summer months, plenty of hipsters and 20-somethings milling about. Also along the sprawling green valley along the river. There you’ll find movies and concerts playing in summer afternoons and evenings.
Oh, I’m planning a trip there as well. Cause everybody told me it’s nice and cause I’m obsessed with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Amazing book! I haven’t read it in ages, though, and can’t honestly remember Dresden in the plot…. JSF is one of my favorite authors!
And yes, plan a trip there! But be warned it’ll just remind you afterward how amazing Berlin is :)
Impressive captures!! Some of the architecture is really classy.
Thanks for sharing, have a nice day Adam :)
The architecture in Dresden was definitely impressive!
Random weekend getaways are fun. That park looks like a fun place to hang out in the summer.
Yep – the city of Dresden runs a summer-long city festival as well in the park. I was there when this famous 90s German punk band was playing, but more often than not they show movies or have other events in the park.
[…] it would be perfect for a weekend trip from either city. Adam recently wrote about what to do on a weekend in Dresden so check it out for ideas on what to do while you’re there. var dd_offset_from_content = 55; var […]
I’m glad I read this, Adam! The European portion of my RTW trip will kick off in Berlin next year, and I was wondering whether or not to stop off in Dresden on my way to visit one of my friends in Prague or not. It looks like a pretty little city indeed, just my style!
On a slightly more somber note though, I had NO idea whatsoever about the Allied bombings in WWII. I’m glad the city was able to recover from such a traumatic time.
Sounds like you’d really enjoy Dresden, Tom. Definitely pick up Slaughterhouse Five before you visit – it’s a short read but a great book.
a lovely reminder of how much I loved Dresden. The Frauenkirche made me cry it was so beautiful, with the mix of old and new stones. Thank you for this post.
Glad you liked it Kerri. The Frauenkirche was a really surprising building—wasn’t really what I was expecting but I really appreciated the old/new mix in the church.
I also loved the architecture in Dresden. I’ve been there twice and would go back. I enjoyed the Procession of Princes and the Zwinger. Nice photo with the flowers.
Beautiful! I’ve visited my cousin who lives in Dresden once but didn’t get to explore as much as I would have liked.