Dresden boasts unique architecture. // © 2016 German National Tourist Office
Feature image (above): There is no shortage of activities for visitors to Dresden this year, as the destination will see several openings and celebrations. // © 2016 German National Tourist Office
Dresden, one of the most opulently architectural cities in Germany, is readying itself for a refresh. Long known as the Jewel Box of Germany because of its baroque and rococo splendor created by past Electors and Kings of Saxony, Dresden is a hub for both culture and art.
This year, Dresden, the capital of Saxony, is welcoming new hotels and new culinary and cultural projects that will continue to keep the historic city relevant for travelers today. The city is currently in the midst of a construction boom that will bring it a new look. The most evident transformation is happening right in the heart of the city. Destroyed in 1945, Dresden is working toward developing large-scale urban projects that will position the destination as a cultural capital once again.
Of note is the new Kraftwerk Mitte Dresden, a center for art, culture and creativity housed on the grounds of a former heating and power plant. The building will be the future home of the Dresden State Operetta and tjg (Theater Junge Generation), which stages theatrical productions for young people. Kraftwerk Mitte will also bring creative spaces for artists, as well as offices and eateries.
This year, the Dresden Kreuzchor boys’ choir is celebrating its 800th anniversary on March 4, with a festival performance in Semper Opera House. The choir will be accompanied by the Staatskapelle German orchestra and other soloists.
Dresden is a capital for foodies, as well, with a long tradition of organic farming. Travelers should not miss visiting local restaurants that are showcasing locally sourced products from the region. Schloss Wackerbarth, a winery and eatery, has its own blend of Saxon and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as a list of wines from the property’s own cellar. The menu at Genuss-Atelier, located just above Waldschlosschen Bridge, features fish from the nearby Moritzburg ponds, as well as organic produce and beer from the church-run farm at Lieske bei Kamenz, as well as herbs from the banks of the nearby Elbe River.
Travelers can also sample the wine tradition of Saxony at Hoflossnitz, the oldest vineyard in the region, built in 1601, or make a stop at Christian Schwingenheuer in Dresden’s Neustadt district, which is creating organic beer.
WHERE TO STAY
Last year, Dresden saw a slew of new hotel openings. Star Inn Hotel Premium Dresden im Haus Altmarkt in the city’s Old Town opened last March, with 123 rooms in four categories. Integrated into the building, the historic Haus Altmarkt is a Viennese-style cafe.
Gewandhaus Dresden, which reopened in April 2015 after new renovations, also has a central location in Old Town. The five-star boutique hotel became the second German hotel in Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The property has 97 rooms, a spa zone and a gourmet restaurant. Built between 1768 and 1770, the building shows off the city’s baroque history.
Last June, Holiday Inn Dresden opened within walking distance from Zwinger Palace. It has 144 rooms, five meeting rooms, an outdoor terrace and a restaurant that serves Mediterranean cuisine.
Coming in July, there will be a new Amedia Hotel on Neumarkt street. With 103 rooms, it will be one of several new buildings under construction in the area between Schlossstrasse, one of the area’s central streets; Kulturpalast, a multipurpose hall; and Johanneum, a 16th-century Renaissance building now home to Dresden Transport Museum.
Hampton by Hilton is also constructing a 197-room hotel on Ringstrasse, next to the Rathaus (city hall).