Dresden Architecture Walking Tour (Self Guided), Dresden

Dresden is a city that boasts magnificent architecture. It is known as a Baroque city in Germany, but in fact there are several architectural styles for these great buildings, namely Renaissance, Modernism and Post-modernism. Take this self-guided tour to see the most impressive architecture in Dresden.
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Dresden Architecture Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Dresden Architecture Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Dresden (See other walking tours in Dresden)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • New Synagogue
  • Frauenkirche
  • Katholische Hofkirche
  • Palace of Culture
  • Kreuzkirche
  • Ufa-Kristallpalast
  • Dresden Hauptbahnhof
  • Russian Orthodox Church
1
New Synagogue

1) New Synagogue

The New Synagogue in Dresden was built in 2001 at the location of the well known old Synagogue. The old Synagogue was burned by the Nazis in 1938 during the infamous Kristallnacht when hundreds of synagogues in Germany and Austria were ransacked and razed. The new synagogue is a new modernist building unlike other restored buildings in the location that maintain their Baroque architectural style.

The old synagogue that once stood at the location of the new Synagogue was designed by well known Dresden architect, Gottfried Semper. It was called the Semper Synagogue and was built between 1839 and 1840. The boundary walls of the new synagogue are the last remaining portions of the building designed by Semper. After World War II efforts and contributions from around the world especially that of Gunter Globel, the 1999 winner of the Nobel prize for medicine helped the small Jewish community in Dresden to establish a new Synagogue. The new structure was completed in 2001. The building was designed by architects, Rena Wandel-Hoefer and Wolfgang Lorch. The architecture resembles the first Israelite temples in Jerusalem with a square shape and no windows.

The sanctuary building is a cube like structure with a square space for worship. Chain mesh curtains are hung all around giving the interiors a rich finesse. One of the relics preserved from the old synagogue is the Star of David that was saved by a fireman during Kristallnacht and returned to the Jewish community after the war.

The structure is a monument to survival despite one of the worst acts of sectarian carnage in history.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Frauenkirche

2) Frauenkirche (must see)

The Frauenkirche or Church of our Lady is a Lutheran church that dominated the skyline of Dresden for over 200 years. The unique dome of the church has inspired paintings by artists Bernardo Bellotto and the ‘Dresden by Moonlight’, by Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl.

A Romanesque church of the Blessed Virgin Mary stood at the location of the Frauenkirche in the 11th century. It was the seat of a Roman Catholic Bishop at the time. After the reformation, the church became protestant. As the congregation grew in number, the old building was torn down in 1727 to make way for a larger structure. The new baroque style building was designed by Dresden architect, George Bahr who was later buried in the graveyard near the church, in keeping with the spirit of protestant liturgy. The altar, pulpit and baptismal font were visible to the entire congregation. The distinctive part of the church was a 96 meter high stone dome. The Dresden bombing of 1945 destroyed the church. Later a group called the Friends of Dresden in the US and the UK based Dresden Trust with the Duke of Kent as its patron contributed funds to restore the church to its former glory.

The reconstruction of the Frauenkirche was completed and the church was re-consecrated in 2005. Once a month, an Anglican service is held. The building has become the most popular among tourist destinations in Dresden after its restoration.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Katholische Hofkirche

3) Katholische Hofkirche (must see)

The Katholische Hofkirche is one of the most beautiful and ornate structures in Dresden. It was commissioned by Augustus III, the son of August the Strong who was married to a princess from the catholic Hapsburg family.

The Katholische Hofkirche is a unique catholic church in Saxony, the birthplace of Protestantism. August the Strong, their protestant king became a catholic when he accepted the crown of Poland. At first catholic services were held in the Royal chapel. The Katholische Hofkirche or the Catholic Church of the Court was constructed between 1738 and 1751 in the Baroque architectural style. The Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri drew up the plans for the church. The structure is topped by balustrades from which 78 historic and religious statues look over the city of Dresden.

The impressive interior of the church has a rococo pulpit by Balthazar Permoser, a beautiful altar painting by Raphael Anton Mengs and an ornate organ by Gottfried Silbermann. The structure was damaged in World War II like most other buildings in Dresden. It was carefully restored and the memorial chapel has a porcelain altar and pieta made by Freidrich Press in 1973. On the side walls, visitors can read the words of the last prayer before the 1945 bombardment.

One can enjoy a free organ concert held every Wednesday and Saturday and take a guided tour of the burial vault and tombs of the Saxon Kings including an urn that contains the heart of Dresden’s most famous King, August the Strong while visiting the Katholische Hofkirche.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Palace of Culture

4) Palace of Culture

The Dresden Palace of Culture opened in 1969. The Palace looks very distinctive in Dresden and contrasts the cityscape of the beautiful, fairy-tale architecture of this city. This palace displays the architecture of the Soviet period that is the socialist/modernist style.
5
Kreuzkirche

5) Kreuzkirche (must see)

Located at the center of the Old Town in Dresden near the Altmarkt square, the Kreuzkirche has one of the finest Boy’s Choirs in Europe. The 92 meter high tower has a balcony from which one can see a 36 degree view of the city of Dresden.

A small church stood on the location of the present Kreuzkirche from the early 12th century. In 1388, it was formally dedicated to the Holy Cross. The church burned down and was rebuilt five times. The recent reconstruction was in 1955 after the World War II bombing of the city. Kreuzkirche is the largest church in Saxony. The 13th century church was replaced by a gothic building after a fire. In 1492, the Gothic structure caught fire and was rebuilt. In 1539, the first Lutheran service in Dresden was held in the newly reconstructed church. A tower was added to the church between 1579 and 1584. In 1760, the Prussian army bombarded and damaged the church. Architect, Johann Georg Schmidt designed a new neoclassicist structure and the church opened its doors again in 1792.

The newly rebuilt church in 1955 has a simple interior. The acoustics in the hall are impressive especially when the famous Boy’s Choir performs and on Saturday afternoons when cross choir vespers take place.
6
Ufa-Kristallpalast

6) Ufa-Kristallpalast

The Ufa Kristallpalast is a modern multiplex structure in Dresden housing 8 cinema halls and 14 screens. The five storey structure of concrete, steel and glass has a unique leaning design.

The Ufa Kristallpalast or Crystal Palace was built between 1993 and 1998. It has eight cinema halls placed in pairs in the flour floors of the building and a seating capacity of 2700. The building is a solid concrete box though its appearance belies its strong structure. The Austrian architects Coop Himmel (I)au who were known for their many avant garde construction designs formulated the plans of the unique building. Ufa Crystal Palace is located near the busy ring road of Dresden. The heavy concrete structure shields the cinema halls and the foyer from the traffic noise of the traffic on the road. The architecture of the building is a combination of deconstructivism and German expressionism. The structure won an Architecture award for building design in 1999.

The Ufa Kritallpalaste shows a variety of cinema genres in the eight theaters. Many German movies have their premier showing at the theaters. The foyer with a screen has a seating capacity of 100 where visitors can watch live sporting events. Visitors can contact the management for guided tours around the building.
7
Dresden Hauptbahnhof

7) Dresden Hauptbahnhof

The Dresden Hauptbahnof is one of the two main railway stations in the city. The station is a historic building built in the late nineteenth century that was badly damaged by the Dresden bombing in 1945. Little was done to maintain and restore the structure during the communist period. The station has been redesigned, modernized and restored to accommodate the railway traffic of today.

The Dresden Hauptbahnof and the Dresden Neustadt are the two main railway hubs of the city. The Dresden Hauptbahnof train station was designed and built between 1892 and 1897 by architects, Ernst Giese and Paul Wiedner. It replaced three stations located in the south of Dresden. Trains from the station connected Berlin, Prague and Nuremberg. When the station opened its doors, it also opened avenues of growth and prosperity for the city. The modern reconstructed building that replaced the war damaged structure has a large Teflon coated fiberglass roof but retains its old façade. It won the 2006 Stirling Prize and the 2007 IstructE award for heritage buildings.

There are 19 railway tracks in the building distributed between two floors. Eleven of the tracks carry traffic through the station while the remaining eight terminate in the building. There is a central hall in the lower level and two halls in the upper floor. The structure is a unique architectural endeavor to make the old blend in with the new.
8
Russian Orthodox Church

8) Russian Orthodox Church

The Dresden Russian Orthodox Church served as the place of worship for Russian ambassadors to the Kingdom of Saxony from 1874. The church is dedicated to St. Simeon Stylites or the St. Simeon of the Wonderful Mountains.

The Russian Orthodox Church has the architectural style of orthodox churches in the 16th and 17th century. The church is located in the southern suburbs of Dresden which was the area preferred by foreign residents of the city. It was designed and built by Julius von Bosse and Karl Weissbach between 1872 and 1874. The brick church has five blue onion domes that depict Christ and four evangelists. The structure has an impressive façade with a golden cupola and a 40 meter tall bell tower. The church also has Russian orthodox icons that are over 200 years old. The building was damaged during the World War II bombing raids and was completely restored in the 90s.

The Russian Orthodox Church in Dresden has a congregation of 1000 worshippers. Famous Russians who attended mass in the past include writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky whose daughter was baptized here. There are also records of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and Mikhail Brakunin having worshipped at the church. The church is under the rule of the patriarch of Moscow and visits are arranged only by appointment.

Walking Tours in Dresden, Germany

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