Top Historic Sights in Dresden, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Dresden

Dresden Cathedral

Dresden Cathedral (Hofkirche) stands as one of Dresden's foremost landmarks. It was designed by architect Gaetano Chiaveri from 1738 to 1751. The church was commissioned by Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland while the Protestant city of Dresden built the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) between 1726 and 1743. The Catholic Elector decided that a Catholic church was needed in order to counterbalance the Pro ...
Founded: 1738-1751 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Frauenkirche

The Dresden Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is considered an outstanding example of Protestant sacred architecture, featuring one of the largest domes in Europe. Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during World War II. The remaining ruins were left for 50 years as a war memorial, following decisions of local East German leaders. The church was rebuilt after the reunification of ...
Founded: 1726-1743 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Dresden Castle

Dresdner Residenzschloss is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden, Germany. For almost 400 years, it was the residence of the electors (1547–1806) and kings (1806–1918) of Saxony of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. It is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque to Neo-renaissance. The original castle was a Romanesque keep, built around 1200. The Hausmannsturm was buil ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Zwinger Palace

The Zwinger is a palace built in Baroque style and designed by court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. It served as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court. The location was formerly part of the Dresden fortress of which the outer wall is conserved. The name derives from the German word Zwinger (an enclosed killing ground in front of a castle or city gate). Today, the Zwinger ...
Founded: 1710-1728 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Semperoper

The Semperoper is the opera house of the Saxon State Opera and the concert hall of the Saxon State Orchestra. It is also home to the Semperoper Ballett. The building is located near the Elbe River in the historic centre of Dresden. The opera house was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841. After a devastating fire in 1869, the opera house was rebuilt, partly again by Semper, and completed ...
Founded: 1841/1878 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Albertinum

The Albertinum was built between 1884 and 1887 by extending a former armoury, or arsenal, that had been constructed between 1559 and 1563 at the same location. The new building was designed by the regional master builder Carl Adolf Canzler in the Renaissance Revival style to house the royal Collection of Antique and Modern Sculptures. The building was named after the Saxonian King Albert who reigned at the time. In 1889 ...
Founded: 1884-1887 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Dresden City Museum

Dresden City Museum displays tell the 800-year story of the city and is the largest and most important of the Dresden State Museums. Its art collections split off in 2000 to form the Dresden City Art Gallery, but both the Art Gallery and the Museum are housed in Dresden"s Landhaus. The Landhaus houses the Dresden City Museum. It was built between 1770 and 1776 and designed by Friedrich August Krubsacius using a m ...
Founded: 1770 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Albrechtsberg Palace

Albrechtsberg Palace is a Neoclassical stately home above the Elbe river in the Loschwitz district of Dresden. It was erected in 1854 according to plans designed by the Prussian court and landscaping architect Adolf Lohse (1807–1867) at the behest of Prince Albert, younger brother of the Prussian king Frederick William IV. After Prince Albert and his wife Rosalie had died, their younger son Count Frederi ...
Founded: 1854 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Japanisches Palais

Japanisches Palais (Japanese Palace) is a Baroque building in Dresden on the Neustadt bank of the river Elbe. Built in 1715, it was extended from 1729 until 1731 to store the Japanese porcelain collection of Augustus the Strong that is now part of the Dresden Porcelain Collection. However, it was never used for this purpose, and instead served as a library. The palace is a work of architects Pöppelmann, Longu ...
Founded: 1715 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.