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Top Rated Attractions in Dresden

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Elbwiesen

The River Elbe meanders its way through the heart of Dresden, but unlike most other cities, the riverbank has hardly been built upon. Instead, the river is surrounded by beautiful parks and lush lawns; the perfect place to relax, take a walk or come for a picnic. A cycle path follows the course of the river, so energetic visitors would be well advised to hire a bike and take a look at the city from a different perspective. The lawns host a variety of events including film nights, open-air concerts and the legendary Elbhangfest festival. A huge flea market takes place near Albertbrücke bridge every Saturday (8a-2p).

Grosser Garten

One of Dresden's most beautiful parks, the Großer Garten has plenty on offer for nature-lovers and architecture enthusiasts alike. A visit to this landscaped wonder is like stepping into a fantasy Disneyland-styled world. A majestic Baroque summer palace, complete with a pond and courtiers' residence, stands proudly, with its crystal clear reflection staring back from the lake. Neat rows of trees, a magnificent, white, Baroque sculpture, colourful flower beds and fountains surround this palace. The numerous paths that wind their way through the ancient trees are perfect for a relaxing stroll, the lake is wonderful for rowers, while those looking to relax may like to take a ride through the grounds on the miniature train. This park also houses a zoo, botanical gardens and a large tropical greenhouse. Volkswagen has built a glass-fronted production hall in the north-western corner of this park, where visitors can watch cars being manufactured in front of their very eyes.

Fürstenzug

A feast for the eyes, Fürstenzug is a porcelain mural on the exterior of Residenzschloss. The frieze is 102 metres (334 feet) long and 7 metres (22 feet) high, making it the largest porcelain picture in the world. It was first painted in 1876, then transferred onto 25,000 pieces of Meißen porcelain in 1904-1907. Designed as a memorial to the Wettiner royal family, the mural depicts all the Saxon rulers between 1123-1904. Only the last Saxon king is missing; Friedrich August III. Souvenir sellers now ply their trade at the feet of Frederick the Mean and George the Bearded.

Dresden Frauenkirche

Built-in 1726-43 by George Bähr, the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is one of Germany's greatest architectural monuments. It became famous for hosting organ recitals given by J.W. Bach in the 1730s and went on to dominate the city skyline for over two centuries until being destroyed in the great air-raid of 1945. All the rubble was gathered up and kept in storage, although the church remained a ruin for some fifty years. Rebuilding began in 1990 and completed in 2006. Free guided tours around the building site include a fascinating exhibition outlining the past, present and future of the church.

Brühl's Terrace

Known as "Europe's balcony," the Brühlsche Terrasse is a 500m-long and 20-200m wide terrace built on top of the fortifications erected to defend the city in the 16th Century. Together with the Albertinum, Art Academy and Sekundogenitur, the terrace dominates Dresden's skyline. Overlooking the River Elbe and the city centre, the terrace offers fantastic views of Augustusbrücke bridge, the old town and the new town with the Japanese Palace, Ministry of Finance and Chancellery. A stairway leads down to Schlossplatz.

Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

Although slightly inconspicuous from the outside, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in the Semper wing of the Zwinger contains one of the world's greatest collections of art. Covering three floors, the gallery contains a host of 14th-18th Century paintings by masters such as Canaletto, Rubens, Dürer, Holbein and Rembrandt. But the highlight is clearly Raphael's Sistine Madonna portraying Mother and Child among the clouds, reproductions of which hang in hundreds of thousands of living rooms throughout the world.

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