Day Trip to Dresden

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June 11th 2005
Published: June 17th 2005
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Restored churchRestored churchRestored church

Black stones are original stones. White stones are replacements for those destroyed in the bombing.
If I mention the city of Dresden most people will immediately think of the fire bombing of the city in WW II. And certainly that is a memorable historic event. The number of people killed the night of the bombing is not really known. The lowest estimate I have read is 25,000. The highest estimate is 125,000, but in reality no one really knows how many people died that night. There has been and is much discussion on whether the bombing was necessary or not ... and I won't go into that topic here. The people of Dresden were quite sure they would be bombed during the war and they moved the priceless paintings and porcelains from their museums into caves and secure locations in the area. The deaths of all those people was a horrible tragedy it would also have been another kind of tragedy if these paintings and art objects had been lost during the war. I doubt seriously that anyone thought the city would be bombed into rubble in one huge raid.

Dresden is only two and a half hours from Prague travelling by train. The ride is a very beautiful one as the train travels through
The Crown GateThe Crown GateThe Crown Gate

One of four entrances to the palace where several museums are housed, including the fine arts museum.
the river valley the entire trip. Not far out of Prague the train enters a range of low beautiful mountains with what appeared to be very interesting hiking possibilities. In several locations there are the ruins of castles on the hills, and fascinating rock formations. It is an area Nancy and I need to learn more about … there must be wonderful hiking here.

After making a day trip to Dresden we decided that the primary reason to travel to Dresden is to visit their museums. There are a few churches and other places to visit, but these are few in number. The city is primarily a city of buildings built after WW II, during the Communist era and the post Communist era.

A day here is really all you need to schedule, if you are a good walker and do not mind putting in a long day of sight seeing. All the museums and historic sites are within easy walking distance of each other, and only about a fifteen minute hike from the huge train station. The train station is in the middle of a huge rebuilding project. Currently it is a mess inside, but that surely will change soon. a FULL day is needed. We missed one wonderful art museum because it was going to close at 6 and our time in the other museums ended at 5:30. We could have caught a later train but nothing else of interest was open after 6 p.m. So be sure to go on the earliest possible train or go up the night before, sleep in a hotel and then get out the door at dawn to see the outside sights before the museums open.

This was the first time we have been in the former East German region. To our eye the primary evidence left behind of that era are the large numbers of Soviet style huge apartment buildings. They are just about as ugly here as in other places we have seen.

Much of Dresden is undergoing renovations projects. There is some damage from WW II still to be seen. I expect that in a few years that will have disappeared as the city is rebuilt.

I was not sure if the man, see the picture, holding the Communist flag was advertising for a museum, there is a Museum of Communism in
Another of the palace gates.Another of the palace gates.Another of the palace gates.

The porcelain bells chime every fifteen minutes, and play a song at fifteen after each hour.
Prague, or if he was campaigning for what is left of the Communist Party in Germany. I know my non existent German would not allow me for me to talk with him and didn't know if he spoke English. Anyway, we were on our way to see the sights and didn't want to spend time talking politics or being given a speech on why we should visit a museum.

An interesting incident occurred on 3 October 1989. Called “battle of Dresden, a convoy of trains carrying East German refugees from Prague, travelling to the West Germany, passed through Dresden. Locals, opposed to the Communist rule, staged demonstrations demanding the removal of the undemocratically-elected communist government. Brave people!

The fine art museum is an absolute must see. They have a large number of Rubins, some Van Dykes, and other very famous painters. It really is a museum on par with any we have seen. We had walked and walked within the museum and sat in one room to rest for a few minutes. Nancy said, “Look at that painting. How many times have I see it on a Christmas card?” It was a painting of the Christmas scene with
The Palace courtyard.The Palace courtyard.The Palace courtyard.

This was taken from one of the windows in the Porcelain Museum.
two little angels at the bottom looking for all the world as if they are leaning on the picture frame, looking up to the manger scene.

The porcelain museum houses over 6000 works of beautiful porcelain. Much of the work was imported centuries ago from China. The king who collected them then directed that porcelain research be speeded up in Germany resulting in the marvelous Meissen Porcelain. If you like porcelain this is another museum to put on your list to visit.

I am not sure why, but museums are hard on my feet. That coupled with the cobblestone streets resulted in my having two very tired aching feet by the end of the day. I was quite happy when we climbed abord the 6:05 train Prague. However, we experienced a first for us in Germany. The train was 15 minutes late. We have never experienced a late train in Germany before this.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


The Elbe River flows through DresdenThe Elbe River flows through Dresden
The Elbe River flows through Dresden

The Vltava flows into the Elbe.
War damage is still visibleWar damage is still visible
War damage is still visible

Sixty years since the night of destruction, and yet damage is still visible.
How is this for graffitiHow is this for graffiti
How is this for graffiti

This is the way it got started. Beautiful, isn't it?
An unexpected surpriseAn unexpected surprise
An unexpected surprise

We passed through an entrance and found this beautiful courtyard and fountain.
Another beautiful paintingAnother beautiful painting
Another beautiful painting

I greatly admire the artist's skill in using light in this painting.

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