splendid former residence

Dresden Altstadt old town

Since the Renaissance, Dresden was the residence of the Wettin family. They were the electors and kings of Saxony for almost 800 years, and Dresden was one of the big courts of Europe until monarchy was abolished in 1918. The Wettin rulers started collecting art from all over the world around 1700, and Dresden's museums guard many of their treasures to this day.

Representative buildings, palaces and fortifications from the Renaissance and Baroque period still shape the picture of the city today - or rather, again. Dresden was tragically destroyed in February 1945 in allied bombings, with the entire inner city burned down and tens of thousands dead or homeless. (Book recommendation? Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse Five' contains the author's impressions of Dresden as a young US soldier just then.)

An old cultural capital of world renown, Dresden was lucky enough to be at least partially rebuilt, and much of the old town is as splendid as it ever was. Perhaps the most iconic reconstruction project is the Frauenkirche, the huge Baroque domed church that once again dominates Dresden's skyline.


Along the gentle curve of the Elbe river, many important cultural institutions reside in impressive historic buildings: The art galleries of old and new masters in the Zwinger court, the treasure collections of Grünes Gewölbe in the Wettin castle, the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts on Brühl's Terrace.

A few steps further, Saxony's political center, its state parliament, is located in the Sächsischer Landtag building.

Around Altmarkt, the 'old market square' and Prager Strasse is where shopping malls, food joints, cinemas and office buildings cluster.

more suggestions

Dresden Neustadt "new town"

Explore alternative culture, night life and international flair in Dresden's most colorful neighborhood.


Elbe river banks

Our local recreation area - lush nature in the middle of town!


change of perspective

Dresden's two funicular railways offer exceptional views across the Blaues Wunder and Dresden.


art & museums

Raphael’s Sistine Madonna is one of the most famous paintings on display in Dresden, and its angels are the mascots for the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (State Art Collections). But there are countless more museums and exhibitions waiting for your visit:

  • Gemäldegalerie Alte & Neue Meister
  • Grünes Gewölbe
  • Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon
  • Deutsches Hygiene-Museum
  • Militärhistorisches Museum
all museums


The baroque castle is surrounded by an extensive woodland reserve complete with animals - a favorite destination for families.



This town is over 1000 years old and invites you to time travel through its crooked alleys and up the steep ascents to the castle hill.


Elbe bike path

If you are travelling by bike, Dresden is a stop you cannot miss. Sections N and O meet here and run through town along either side of the river.


Elbe Sandstone Mountains

Called Saxon Switzerland for good reason, the breathtakingly bizarre rock formations in this special part of the Elbe valley are a delight for hikers and climbers.


Pillnitz palace & park

Best known for its spectacular gardens and water displays, as well as a huge Camellia tree - over 250 years old!


White Fleet

Cruise along the Elbe river on an historic steamboat and watch the landscape unroll on both sides.


Christmas in Saxony

If you are looking for romantic and traditional, come to Saxony in December.