Few thought Dresden would be able to rebuild itself after two days of bombing and the subsequent firestorm leveled the city in 1945. Three-fourths of the metropolis, including its prize art collections and historical landmarks, were incinerated and more than 30,000 people died. And until today, Dresden commemorates that fateful day when its rich cultural legacy and indeed, its soul, was almost wiped off from the face of the earth. But like the mythical phoenix that rises from the ashes, Dresden has arisen and returned to the forefront among German cities.
The Frauenkirche, or the Church of Our Lady, which was one of the first places destroyed during WWII, has been completely renovated and should definitely be among the first stops on your itinerary. The Zwinger Palace, with its ornate baroque design and a courtyard full of fountains, is also a memorable place for a stroll. Be sure also to head to the Alte Meister, where Rafael's Madonna Sistina is located. Considered one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, the Semperoper should be on your agenda. If you can't catch a performance, you can go on one of the interesting behind-the-scenes tours that are conducted regularly. Don't miss the Residenzschloss, with its splendid display of treasures. The New Green Vault will dazzle with its collection-- the biggest green diamond and the crown jewels of the court of Aurengzeb are just two of the 1,000 objects it has on display. The Elbwiesen, the Grosser Garten and the Kasematten are cool areas for strolling, picnicking and relaxing.
While there are numerous dining spots around the Frauenkirche, they can be a little on the high side. Better food at a much more affordable price can be had at the Dresden Neustadt, where numerous bars and pubs can also be found. For much cheaper yet still tasteful fare, there are a few eateries clustered east of the city toward the Blaues Wunder. There are also more restaurants in the Alstadt area.
The main shopping hub in Dresden is along Ferdinandplatz to Sankt-Petersburger Strasse to Wilsdruffer Strasse. You can find the Altmarkt Galerie in the Wilsdruffer Strasse area and a Karstadt department store in Ferdinandplatz. The Neustadter Markthalle also offers more retail options. If you're in the mood for splurging, head to the Innere Neustadt located between Alberplatz and Elbe.
Zellescher Weg 18
Am Brauhaus 8