Dresden, your treasures
The capital of the German state of Saxony is currently experiencing a cultural revival that is not solely attributable to the city’s centuries-old collection of art treasures. A younger, unconventional cultural scene is sprouting up among the ruins and the old masters.
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Frauenkirche, Old Masters and Young Artists
The Church of Our Lady:
Dresden’s Frauenkirche was totally destroyed by Allied air bombardment in February 1945. It remained a ruin until after German reunification. Reconstruction of the magnificent Baroque edifice started in 1994 and was completed in 2005 at a cost of 182 million euros. Even though critics object that it is only a copy of the original building and not a genuine restoration, the Frauenkirche is perhaps the most important symbol of Dresden’s rediscovered splendor.
Neumarkt, Tel.: +49-(0)351/656 06 100, normally open daily Mon-Fri 10am-12 noon and 1pm-6pm, but religious events can lead to temporary closure, especially Saturdays and Sundays; admission is free, but donations for maintenance of the church are welcomed; www.frauenkirche-dresden.de
Alte Meister Gallery:
This houses one of the world’s leading art collections, comprising some 750 works from the period between the 15th and 18th centuries. Located in the Semper Building on the famous Zwinger, the collection contains numerous examples of Italian Baroque and Renaissance art and 17th century Flemish and Dutch works, and includes paintings by old masters like Raphael, Rembrandt and Titian. In contrast to most museums, the pictures are hung very close to each other and this dense concentration of great art makes the visit a very special experience.
Theaterplatz 1, Tel.: +49-(0)351/49 14 66 79, open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm; Admission €10, €7.50 for people qualifying for reduced rates; www.skd.museum
The idea behind the Kunsthaus Dresden can be described very simply – young masters instead of old ones. This gallery is dedicated to contemporary art and holds regularly changing exhibitions of current regional and international trends in the art world. It aims to attract not only the genuine art connoisseurs. With a program of conducted tours, lectures and film screenings it seeks to promote an understanding of art to the general public.
Rähnitzgasse 8, Tel.: +49-(0)351/804 14 56, open Tue-Fri 12 noon-7pm, Sat+Sun 12 noon-8pm; Admission: €3, €2 for people qualifying for reduced rates, Fri free; www.kunsthausdresden.de
Courageous musicians and young theatre performers
Dresden’s music scene has a lot more to offer than its old-established, internationally famous opera house and concert halls The ensemble courage is an orchestra of young, but accomplished instrumentalists specializing in works by 20th century and contemporary composers. It enjoys a high reputation with both fans and experts. It is self-managed and has given more than 40 premieres and more than 30 first performances in Germany since its foundation in 1997.
Young Generation Theater:
Even the tiniest culture vultures can get something for their money in Dresden. The Theater Junge Generation (TJG) stages fairytales and classic and contemporary pieces for children and young people. It also has a puppet theater. Founded in1949, it is now Germany’s second oldest children’s theater. The 2008/2009 season also saw the opening of the TJG’s Theater Academy, where children and young people can now audition their own acting talent.
Meissner Landstrasse 4, Tel.: +49-(0)351/42 91 20, www.tjg-dresden.de
Erich Kästner Museum:
Even today, no German can envision a childhood without the Dresden-born author Erich Kästner and his classic stories like The Flying Classroom, Emil And The Detectives and The Parent Trap that have entranced generations of children. Remakes of films of his stories are constantly appearing. A lovingly designed “micro-museum” dedicated to Kästner has now been opened at the Villa Augustin, where one of his uncles used to live.
Antonstrasse 1, Tel.: +49-(0)351/804 50 86, open Sun-Wed 10am-6pm; Admission: €4, €3 for people qualifying for reduced rates; www.erich-kaestner-museum.de
Photos: Dutton/Corbis, Zielske/Look-foto (2), Klut/Estel, Kunsthaus Dresden, J. Mostertz