Dresden is a city in East Germany with a totally different personality to Leipzig. It was completely flattened in the final months of WW2 as UK and US dropped more than 3,900 tons bombs on the city. The resulting fire destroyed over 1,600 acres of the city centre. The city has been lovingly rebuilt to look as close to how it did before, with an impressive Altstadt of royal palaces and grand churches. While the city was also for 30 years beyond the Iron Curtain, the city centre represents a grander era of life under August the Strong and other Kings. Without the cosmopolitan influx of students and families, it remains more conservative than its neighbour, Leipzig.
The capital city of Saxony was getting dressed up ready for its upcoming Christmas markets, and walking through the streets was a maze of grandeur. The city sits on the River Elbe and is crossed by Augustbrücke, so named after the lavish ruler who is said to have earned his nickname by breaking horseshoes with his bare hands. He was also elected King of the Polish Commonwealth meaning he had to change his religion to Catholicism. In an attempt to grant religious freedom to the Catholics of Saxony he built Dresden Cathedral- or Hofkirche, but had to do so under the guise of Protestantism and in doing so employed only Italian workers, not allowing them to socialise in order to keep the truth secret. In response to such a grand catholic cathedral, the people of Dresden changed an original church into Frauenkirche, the grand cathedral to Lutherism which stands in the centre of the Altstadt.
Another of Dresden’s impressive landmarks is the Zwinger which was originally part of Dresden’s fortress, hence the name which translates to kennels. It refers to the killing ground in-between a cities inner and outer walls, but in Dresden’s case it was repurposed, again by August the Strong, to be a place for grandeur and display. It hosted weddings and ceremonies, and today holds galleries and exhibitions.
As twilight fell, I was finished with strolling and perusing on both sides of the Elbe, and parked myself infront of the illuminated cathedral to tick an item off my German Bucket List, Spagettieis. It is icecream, lovingly shaped and topped to look like a plate of spagetti. Apparently the possibilities are endless, with different sauces made to mimic tomato and carbonara, different toppings added, and some places even branching out to lasagna and pizza eis. It was a delicious end to a very Dresden day.