Dresden is flanked along both sides of the Elbe River and cradled in a valley of the same name. Elbflorenz, or Florence on the Elbe, is Dresden’s nickname.
Dresden is simply known as Christmastime because it is the capital of Saxony, Germany, and it is located on the Elbe River. This is because the Yuletide season makes it look absolutely stunning.
Elbflorenz is in full holiday mode by the first Sunday of Advent, with flickering schwibbogen candles lighting up windows, festive jingles playing continuously, and spruce-covered market stalls ready to dazzle with the warmest gluhwein, densest Christstollen fruit bread, and finest crafts that money can buy.
This Is The Genesis:
The first Christmas market in Germany, Dresdner Striezelmarkt, opened a few stalls on Christmas Eve 1434 for locals to purchase supplies for their holiday feasts.
Despite its humble beginnings, Striezelmarkt has grown to include more than 200 stalls, glimmering carousels, and, of course, tannenbaums lit by candles all around in 588 years.
The weihnachtspyramide, or Christmas pyramid, which is the centerpiece of Striezelmarkt and is the largest in the world, is what stands out the most.
Weihnachtspyramides are Christmas-themed wooden towers that originated in the Ore Mountains, which are located on the border of Saxony and Bohemia. Each tier is filled with Christmas figures. The tiers twirl by releasing warm air from candles at the base.
Despite the fact that Striezelmarkt attracts approximately 2.5 million visitors annually, it still retains the atmosphere of a medieval trading post, with the exception of the occasional iPhone flash and Visa + Mastercard stickers informing holidaygoers that nowadays, more than just gold coins are accepted.
Harich’s Jagerhütt’n is tucked away beneath the candy-cane-colored Ferris wheel at Striezelmarkt. It is a cozy little spot where people from all over enjoy steaming mulled wine and Dresdner handbrot, a bread snack filled with smoked ham and local cheese.
Sächsisch Spezialitäten, which sells Saxon dishes, is nearby. Quartkkeulchen, or pancakes in the Saxon style, consist of two-thirds fluffy mashed potatoes and one-third creamy quark cheese. They are topped with a generous amount of cinnamon.
Pflaumentoffel, where little stick figures wear felt top hats on walnut heads and are clad in wrinkled prunes, can also be found here. The delightful confection has a less-than-pleasant history. It is an edible representation of Germany’s old chimney sweepers, typically young boys who earned a meager wage by shimmying up and down the numerous flues in Dresden.
Strangely, they are said to bring good luck, according to history. Traditional Saxon goods straight from Vogtland, the Ore Mountains, and beyond are real highlights of Dresden’s numerous markets in a state known for its craftsmanship and folk arts.
Along with miniature porcelain houses, wooden hand-carved Christmas trees with delicate lace ornaments and curlicues for the branches are sold. Additionally, there are räuchermann, incense-burning wooden figurines often depicting soldiers or miners. Molten glass globs are blown into jewel-colored vases and delicate Christmas ornaments in Neumarkt.
Not only do the Christmas markets in Dresden add to the holiday atmosphere, but the Kruezkirche church also pays tribute to the city’s rich musical history by hosting nightly performances throughout the Advent season.
Throughout the Christmas season, Frauenkirche also hosts a lineup of Christmas concerts featuring vocal ensembles and saxophone quartets for those seeking brass-infused Christmas hymns.
During the month of December, the Semperoper, Dresden’s renowned opera house, hosts arguably the most festive entertainment available in December: The Nutcracker.”
The history of the region’s folk crafts is the subject of a lot of discussion, especially during Christmas. The tale of local miners who supplemented their income by working as nutcracker craftsmen is told here by stern-faced wooden toy soldiers.
The region’s reputation is more than deserved, as evidenced by the elaborately painted wardrobes and forest landscapes carved into single walnut kernels. Meanwhile, from mid-November to mid-January, the Pillnitz Palace grounds host the annual Christmas Garden, which features elaborate light shows, endless walking trails, and occasionally gluhwein huts.
As one of the most severely hit cities by joint British-American attacks during World War II, there are numerous signs of the damage.
In February 1945, the city was destroyed by 2,700 tons of explosives and incendiary bombs in just two days. Few buildings survived.
Additionally, the cultural cost was high. The Semperoper and the Baroque masterpiece Zwinger Palace were completely destroyed, and bustling squares like Theaterplatz were also left in ruins.
The only original stones that were left after the bombings are represented by the charcoal-colored sandstone that is scattered throughout the Frauenkirche today. A walk through the crypt of the main nave reveals the faint odor of smoke, mangled support beams, and charred tangles of metal coat-check tickets, all of which serve as a grim reminder. The main nave has an impressive golden altar and pastel heavenly dome.
Dresden’s facelift was also long delayed due to four decades of communism in East Germany. The city was the stronghold of Soviet-backed rule as the regional capital. Dresden was left in architectural limbo until the middle of the 1990s, when the majority of the repairs began, as the city was only able to begin seriously rebuilding after the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.
Dresden is hailed as one of Germany’s most beautiful cities because of its breathtaking baroque architecture, spectacular parks, fountains, and skyline of domes and spires.
The city is, however, much more than just a pretty face; it is a feast for art lovers. Take, for instance, the Semperoper opera house, the Old Master’s Picture Gallery, which is appropriately named, and well-known film and music festivals like Film Nights on the Elbe and Palais Sommer concerts.