Here's Why Dresden Became Known as "Florence of the North"

Zwinger, Dresden
Zwinger, Dresden | © FilipAltman / Pixabay
Anwesha Ray

Both Florence and Dresden are resplendent in history and culture. These cities were rebuilt from rubble after suffering devastating destruction during the Second World War. The two river-side cities boast a silhouette of breathtaking architecture and preserve exemplary art and sculpture. So it seems only fitting that Dresden be known as Florence of the North.

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” ― James Joyce, Ulysses

The cities of Florence and Dresden share a history that is both tumultuous and inspiring. Both these cities were hit hard by the Second World War. Almost the entire city of Dresden, including its magnificent architecture, was razed to the ground by Allied bombers. Similarly, many buildings in Florence were blown up by Allied bombers during German occupation in 1943-44. When the New Zealand army eventually liberated Tuscany, the retreating German army blew up several bridges in Florence. When the war was over, while Dresden and Florence mourned this meaningless carnage, both cities rose with grace from their ashes to once again become the charismatic cities they are today.

Dresden skyline

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso

It goes without saying that Florence is the cradle of Renaissance Italy and home to some of the most famous art and sculpture in the whole world. Visitors flock to this medieval city to witness masterpieces by legendary artists at the Uffizi Gallery, Bargello National Museum, Museum of Opera of Saint Maria of Fiore, Museo Stibbert, Museo Novecento, Pitti Palace, Museo degli Innocenti, Cappelle Medicee and many more.

Dresden too has earned its repute as one of the most scintillating destinations for art in Europe. The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden is among the most ancient and famous institutions of its kind in the world, and operates 12 art, sculpture, painting and ethnography museums located at the Dresden Castle, the Zwinger and the Albertinum. The most famous art museum in Dresden has to be the Old Masters Painting Gallery, which houses a range of invaluable artwork, from the 15th century to 18th century, including the works of Raphael, Correggio & Vermeer.

Zwinger, Dresden

“We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” –Winston Churchill

Like Florence, Dresden is an incredibly photogenic city, thanks to its majestic skyline. While the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) adds immense character to the Florence cityscape, Frauenkirche is the gem of Dresden’s. In both these cities, art and architecture go hand in hand, as most of the museums and galleries are also architectural wonders; for example, Pitti Palace, Palazzo Vechhio, Bargello in Florence; and Zwinger, Albertinum and the Dresden Castle in Dresden.

Dresden Frauenkirche

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