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DRESDEN ALTSTADT: City Of History
Dresden is the capital of Saxony and royal residence of its Electors and Kings.
When Frederick August II "The Strong”, converted to Catholicism to become King of Poland, he established Dresden as a capital of the arts and built palaces in Dresden and Warsaw.
Altstadt (old city) is famous for its Baroque and Rococo architecture dating the 18th and 19th centuries. In The Second World War Dresden shared the fate of other historical cities like Warsow and Rotterdam and was destroyed extensively during the polemic allied bombing of February 13th in 1945. The Soviet occupation rebuilds part of the city with soviet style buildings. From the last two decades the city has been reconstructed, regaining the glory of former times.
Semperoper Opera House 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 in 1878. The opera house has a long history of premieres, including major works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. The building, an example o Baroque architecture was destroyed in the 1945 Dresden bombing and was reconstructed exactly 40 years later, on February 13, 1985.
Frauenkirche is Dresden´s main symbol. It is a Lutheran church originally erect in 1743 designed by Georg Bähr (1666-1738) one of the masters of Baroque. It had a majestic pipe organ built by Gottfried Silbermann (1683-1753) in which Johann SebastianBach (1685-1750) played a recital. One of its main features is the distinctive bell shaped dome weighting 12.000 tons, an engineering achievement at the time. Frauenkirche resisted a vast shell bombardment of the prussian army during the seven years war (1756–1763) but collapse almost in its entirely in 1945, two days after 1945 the bombing, due to firebombs. The reconstruction work finally took place from 1993 to 2005.
Zwinger is a 19th century palace built in Rococo style designed by court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann where former part of the Dresden fortress was located. Sculpture was provided by Balthasar Permoser. The Zwinger was formally inaugurated in 1719 on the occasion of the electoral prince Frederick August’s marriage to the daughter of the Habsburg emperor, the Archduchess Maria Josepha.
Katholiche Hofkirche is a roman catholic church designed by architect Gaetano Chiaveri from 1738 to 1751, commissioned by Frederick Augustus II, in order to counterbalance the Protestant Frauenkirche. It its crypt rests the heart of King August the Strong. It suffered great damage in the 1945 bombing but was restored in the 1980´s.
Fürstenzug (the procession of princes) is one the largest tile mural painted between 1871 and 1876 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty. Replaced with 23.000 tiles of Missen Porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907, it is known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world. The mural displays the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904. The Fürstenzug is 101.9 metres (334 ft) long and 10.5 metres (34 ft) high.
Schloßplatz (palace square) dates from the 15th century. The seated sculpture of Frederick Augustus I "The Righteous" by Ernst Rietschel now stand on the site of the old Albert statue. This monument had been located at the Dresden Zwinger since 1843, and later was moved to the Japanisches Palais. It rests in its final place since 2008.
Brühlsche Terrace nicknamed "The Balcony of Europe" facing the Elbe. The name Brühl's Terrace is a reference to Count Heinrich von Brühl, Minister of Elector Frederick Augustus II, who from 1737 had a city palace with a gallery, a library and adjacent gardens built on the location. In 1747 the whole terrace was given to him by the Saxon elector as a gift for the innovative introduction of a betterment tax. It is one of the city´s main views.