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Dresden see + do

On February 13, 1945, Dresden was firebombed by the British and American air forces, turning one of the world's most beautiful cities into a desolate wasteland. The postwar East German government proceeded to fix up a few monuments but was limited by the huge budget required to undertake citywide renovation, and much of the rebuilding didn't take place until 1991 and German reunification. These factors make present-day Dresden's beauty all the more astonishing. The Altstadt received by far the worst of the bombing, but has also been the site of intensive restoration efforts that have resulted in a near-facsimile of what the city looked like throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most spectacular of all is the rebuilt Frauenkirche, a decade long process that took a pile of rubble and turned it back into the church that was the pride of city.

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Altstadt and Neustadt, Dresden

To get a quick visual history of the city, start at the 19th-century Hauptbanhnof (central train station), restored under the eye of architect Sir Norman Foster...more

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Frauenkirche, Dresden

The Frauenkirche is Dresden's signature monument. Destroyed in the 1945 bombing that took down most of the city with it, the protestant church's dome had long...more

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Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden

In the 19th century, Dresden architect Gottfried Semper designed the Semper wing of the Zwinger palace to house the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, which contains...more

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The Green Vault, Dresden

The New Green Vault and the Historic Green Vault museums, in the old Residenz palace, have been one of Dresden's biggest draws since their dramatic reopenings...more

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Meissen, Dresden

Half an hour by train from Dresden, the medieval citadel of Meissen survived the war unscathed and has had a rigorous spring cleaning since German...more

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Semper Opera House, Dresden

Architect Gottfried Semper, one of Dresden's favorite sons, constructed the picture-postcard Semper Opera House in 1841. Since then, the theater has been...more

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Weisser Hirsch & Elbe River Valley, Dresden

Dresden's natural setting is a series of gently rolling hills around the Elbe river valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The vistas that inspired generations...more

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