Dresden City Center

Here is another portion of a walk around the center of Dresden. Today's tour takes us from the Zwinger back past the Hauptkirch to the river and up to the entrance to the so-called "Front Porch of Europe".

To the west of the prince's palace is the Zwinger. It was a real zwingin' place in the eighteenth century. It is a very large open courtyard enclosed by ornate buildings that are museum galleries. The courtyard was used for gigantic parties thrown by princes and electors of Saxony. On three sides there are gates to allow people to come to the gardens in the courtyard. Above you are looking south at the "crown gate". To the right is the museum of timekeeping and scientific instruments, one of my favorite museums in the world. It really is a museum for geek history.

Here is the west end of the Zwinger. This is one end of the picture gallery noted for its large collection of counter-reformation era Italian paintings. The city has adopted the image of the "little angels" of Rafael as a city mascot of sorts and that painting resides in this gallery.

The east end of the Zwinger is devoted to porcelain. Dresden was the first place outside China that developed porcelain. An alchemist developed the formula that led to the Meissen works which are still in operation today.

With the Zwinger on one side and the prince's palace on the other side, the palace of the mistress of Augustus the Strong has location, location, location. It's now an exclusive hotel. In the forground you see one of Dresden's ubiquitous streetcars. They are quiet, efficent and come every 10 minutes. Who needs a car?

On the north side of the Zwinger is the Opera Platz. This plaza has the Zwinger on the south, the Semper Opera on the west, the Elbe river on the north, and Hauptkirch on the east.

And just like that here is the Semper Opera. There is world class opera, ballet and theatre every week. In May there is also a jazz festival which I'm really looking forward to.

Here is the Hauptkirch viewed from Opera Platz. Again, notice the ornate statues and the oval (not circular!) dome on the tower. The church faces north to the river, unusual for a catholic cathedral.

Here's a view of the promenade along the Elbe. The promenade is the balcony with the ornately trimmed trees starting above the construction trailers. This view is taken from the bridge just north of the Hauptkirch. On spring evenings the promenade is filled with Dresdeners strolling along the river. I will leave us here and the next walk will be along the promenade.