Dresden New Town Walk, Dresden

Dresden New Town Walk (Self Guided), Dresden

The Neustadt (New Town) of Dresden is a central district located on the north bank of the Elbe. Despite the name, this part of the city is not at all new and has been inhabited for as long as the Old Town on the opposite side of the river. Its “novelty” derives from "Neue Königliche Stadt" (New Royal Town), which is the title given to the area, formerly the district of Altendresden, after its Baroque-style reconstruction, following a fire, in 1732.

The latter produced a wealth of elegant architecture, much of which, luckily, had survived the wartime destruction of the 1940s. A good number of Dresden's historical buildings are found around Königstrasse (King's Street), which is a part of the so-called Innere Neustadt (Inner New Town).

A prelude to the Innere Neustadt is the Neustädter Markt – redesigned during GDR times in style of a “socialist” city center of the 1970s – dominated by the equestrian statue of king August the Strong (known locally as the "Golden Horseman"). Beyond the statue starts Hauptstrasse, the main street of the historical quarter.

There are four bridges crossing the Elbe within the Neustadt, including the historic Augustusbrücke (Augustus' Bridge). The streets leading towards them converge at Albertplatz, the central square and traffic junction of the New Town. Lining the river banks here are the government buildings of the so-called “government quarter” and the Japanisches Palais (Japanese Palace), home to the State Museum of Ethnology. Also here is the Dreikönigskirche (Three Kings' Church), destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout its history – the former seat of the Saxon parliament, from 1990 to 1993.

If you wish to connect with Dresden’s New Town and be mesmerized by its cultural attractions, take this self-guided walking tour.
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Dresden New Town Walk Map

Guide Name: Dresden New Town Walk
Guide Location: Germany » Dresden (See other walking tours in Dresden)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Augustusbrücke (Augustus Bridge)
  • Neustadter Markt (New Town Market)
  • Hauptstrasse (Head Street)
  • Heinrichstrasse (Heinrich Street)
  • Neustädter Markthalle (New Town Market Hall)
  • Albertplat (Albert Square)
  • Dreikönigskirche (Three Kings' Church)
  • Königstrasse (King Street)
  • Japanese Palace
Augustusbrücke (Augustus Bridge)

1) Augustusbrücke (Augustus Bridge)

One of the most famous bridges north of the Alps, the Augustbrucke crosses the River Elbe to connect Dresden Neustadt on the right bank of the River to the historic part of Dresden on the left bank. The bridge was named after Elector Augustus the Strong and renamed Georgi Dimitrov Bridge when Dresden formed part of the German Democratic Republic.

The earliest record of a bridge that later became the Augustusbrucke was a wooden bridge in 1275. Later a stone bridge was constructed with 25 stone pillars in 1287. It was one of the longest bridges in Germany and connected major trade routes. The tolls collected at the customs house near the bridge was a major source of revenue for the Saxon Wettin rulers.

Augustus the Strong, who reigned during the golden age of Dresden, commissioned a new bridge because the old structure was unable to sustain the increased traffic that crossed the Elbe. The bridge was constructed by Council master mason, Johann Gottfried Fehre between 1727 and 1731. Architect Mathew Daniel Popplemann designed a curved structure, 402 meters long with 18 pillars. In 1845, the bridge collapsed because of the flooding of the Elbe and was constructed again by Wilhelm Kreis and Hermann Burdock.

Augustusbrucke suffered extensive damage during the 1945 Dresden bombings and was later lovingly restored to its former glory. Visitors can get a spectacular view of the River Elbe and both sides of Dresden while taking a stroll across the bridge.
Neustadter Markt (New Town Market)

2) Neustadter Markt (New Town Market)

The Neustädter Markt is a square in the Inner Neustadt (Inner New CIty) district of Dresden. It was probably laid out before 1200 as the village square of a Slavic settlement in what later became Altendresden. The most important landmark of the Neustädter Markt is the equestrian statue of August the Strong, the "Golden Rider".

Since 1920s, the name "Neustädter Markt" has been used to explicitly distinguish it from its two old town counterparts , Altmarkt and Neumarkt.

The bombing of Dresden in the Second World War resulted in the complete destruction of the Neustädter Markt and the adjacent buildings. The square was redeveloped as part of the Inner Neustadt development plan in the 1970s. Since then, together with the main street, it has been designated as a pedestrian zone.

The largest and probably best-known work of art on the Neustädter Markt is an equestrian statue of August the Strong - the Golden Rider by Ludwig Wiedemann. The Golden Cavalier Statue is not only a city landmark in Dresden but a reminder of its glorious part during the reign of Elector August the Strong who was also King of Poland.

The Golden Cavalier Statue shows the Elector August the Strong dressed as a Roman emperor astride his horse. The statue was commissioned by August III, the son of August the Strong and casted in 1734. The pedestal on which the sculpture stands was erected in 1884.

August the Strong was the best known and loved elector of Saxony. He collected works of art, sculpture, coins and chinaware and established many museums to house his collection. Dresden became a center of culture during his reign and earned the name, the Florence at the Elbe. In 1944, the statue was removed and kept safe in an underground cave in Pillnitz. This timely act preserved the sculpture from destruction during the 1945 bombardment of Dresden.

There are two sandstone nymph fountains on the Neustädter Markt. They were created by Johann Benjamin Thomae between 1738 and 1742 . Each depicts a nymph surrounded by mythical creatures. Fish mouths serve as water dispensers. Small water spouts are attached to the front pedestals.

There are also two similarly designed concrete fountains by Friedrich Kracht on the east and west sides of the square. The pools have a diameter of 15 meters and three-part fountain lamellae.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Hauptstrasse (Head Street)

3) Hauptstrasse (Head Street)

Hauptstrasse, also known as Head Street, is a main shopping street in Dresden's New Town. Various shops that sell wares like crafts, linen, jewelry and toys line this pedestrian street.

Though Head Street is an excellent spot for souvenir shopping, it is also known for monuments, architecture, statues and public art displays. Visitors should look for the Golden Reiter, a golden statue of August the Strong, at the southwest end of the street. Near the Golden Reiter is the lovely Nymphenbrunnen fountain. The Friedrich Schiller Monument, Gedenkstein Jorge Gomondai Memorial Park and Springbrunnenanlage rest at the northeast end of the street.

Other notable places along Head Street include the Dresden Soccer Museum and the Museum of Dresden Romanticism, otherwise known as the Kugelgenhaus. In addition, Head Street is a popular spot for festivals. The City Festival is held throughout New Town, but is primarily located on Head Street.
Heinrichstrasse (Heinrich Street)

4) Heinrichstrasse (Heinrich Street)

Heinrichstrasse, also known as Heinrich Street, is a street in Dresden's New Town. It is a popular street for tourists who enjoy antiquing as there are a large number of antique shops in the area. Heinrich Street is located between Palace Square (Palaisplatz) to the west and Head Street (Hauptstrasse) to the east.

Visitors will feel a sense of the old town of Dresden mix with New Town as they walk along the cobbled sidewalks. They can take their time enjoying the various galleries where they find antique jewelry, art and even musical instruments. Bookworms love the used bookstore with its wall-to-wall volumes on display.

At the end of Heinrich Street is the Japanese Palace, which hosts the Museum of Ethnology and the Senckenberg Natural History Collections. It was greatly damaged during World War II and took almost 30 years to restore. In front of the Japanese Palace is the large, round fountain known as Fontanenbrunnen. It is an excellent backdrop for photos of the area.
Neustädter Markthalle (New Town Market Hall)

5) Neustädter Markthalle (New Town Market Hall)

Neustadter Markthalle, known in English as New Town Market Hall, is a late 19th century market hall at the corner of Head Street (Hauptstrasse) and Ritter Street (Ritterstrasse). The Wilhelminian period market hall is made of sandstone blocks and covered by a large, glass skylight that allows natural light to reach most areas of the multi-floor building.

The original New Town Market Hall was designed by city planning officer Edmund Brater. To save money, the hall was built without an enclosure on its east side. There were 229 stands, an inn, some apartments and government offices.

Air raids destroyed much of the hall during World War II. Partially rebuilt shortly after the end of the war, the market hall stayed in use for most of the 20th century. Extensive renovations took place from 1997 through 2000. New Town Market Hall now offers many places to shop and eat from 8 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Saturday.
Albertplat (Albert Square)

6) Albertplat (Albert Square)

Though it is technically a city square, Albert Square is a circular area in New Town. Albert Square, is located on the border between Inner New Town and Outer New Town.

Albert Square is a one of the most important and highest trafficked junctions in the city. Nine streets run from the square, five tram lines run across the square and a tram network transfer station is located within the square.

Albert Square was designed in 1817 and completed in 1829. Originally named Bautzner Platz, it was renamed after King Albert in 1871. During that time, Friedrich Bouche designed the Albert Square garden, which was completed in 1875.

A number of important buildings, monuments and fountains can be found in, around and near Albert Square. Some of the buildings include the Villa Eschebach, the Erich Kastner Museum and the high-rise Verkehrsbetriebe. Important fountains include Stille Wasser and Stormy Waves, both designed by Robert Diez. Monuments that pay homage to German screenwriter and satirist Erich Kastner, playwright and philosopher Friedrich Schiller are also located within the square.
Dreikönigskirche (Three Kings' Church)

7) Dreikönigskirche (Three Kings' Church)

The Dreikonigskirche, Three Kings' Church, is a Lutheran Church in Dresden's New Town. The restored church was originally built in 1739 though there is proof of churches standing on this spot since 1404.

The church was built in the Baroque architectural style from a plan by Matthaus Daniel Poppelmann. The interior of the church was designed by George Bahr. Due to a lack of funding, the church tower was not constructed until 1857 from a design by architects Karl Moritz Haenel and Frommherz Lobegott Marx.

The air raids on Dresden during World War II destroyed much of the city. Three Kings' Church was not spared. Only the facade of the church and the tower remained in place. It was not until 1977 that the church was rebuilt. The exterior was reconstructed to resemble the 18th century church as much as possible but the interior was significantly modernized.

Three Kings' Church is a listed cultural monument of Dresden.
Königstrasse (King Street)

8) Königstrasse (King Street)

Konigstrasse, known as King Street in English, is a street in Dresden's Inner New Town. It was originally designed in 1732 and redesigned in 1990. It is known for its Baroque houses and beautiful linden trees. King Street runs from the Japanese Palace to Albert Square (Albertplatz).

King Street was designed by Matthaus Daniel Poppelmann. The idea behind the street was to showcase Baroque style buildings that were constructed after the city fire of 1685. It was the only Baroque residential area in Dresden that survived the World War II air raids with almost no damage.

No longer a purely residential street, King Street's Baroque buildings now have many shops, galleries and restaurants. There are also night clubs and a church in house number 15.

Visitors to King Street will find easy access to Albert Square, Palace Square, Fontanenenbrunnen and the Japanese Palace. The Rebeccabrunnen historical landmark is located at the corner of King Street (Konigstrasse) and Three Kings' Church (Dreikonigskirche).
Japanese Palace

9) Japanese Palace

The Japanese Palace is a baroque building on the banks of the river Elbe. The structure houses three museums, the State Museum of Prehistory, the Ethnological Museum and the Senckenberg Natural History Collections. All three museums have impressive permanent collections and temporary exhibits.

The Saxon Elector August the Strong, purchased the baroque style palace to house his vast porcelain collection in 1717. He wanted the roof the ceiling and walls to be made of porcelain. Architects, Poppelmann, De Bodt, Longuelune and Knoffel were entrusted with the task of restructuring the interiors to make a suitable repository for a porcelain collection. Though the dream of August the Strong was not completely realized, elements of his plan like the Japanese curved roof, the relief on the gable above the portal and the Chinese Hems in the inner courtyard conform to his original wish.

The sculptures within the building are in classic Chinoiserie style. The porcelain collection was never housed here as originally intended and the palace was used as the electoral library and a sculpture museum. The building was completely destroyed in 1945 and restored in 1954.

The Japanese palace is a major tourist attraction in Dresden because visitors get to see three varied collections in three distinct museums within one building.

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