With majestic baroque architecture and numerous world-renowned museums and art collections, Dresden has been called “Elbflorenz” (“Florence of the Elbe”). Capital of the state of Saxony, Dresden in the 20th century was a leading European center of art, classical music, culture and science until its complete destruction by Allied bombing on February 13, 1945. Forty years of urban development during the East German socialist era considerably changed the face of the city. However, restoration work has helped to reconstruct much of the historic inner city, including the Residenzschloss, the Semperoper and the Frauenkirche Dresdner. Since reunification in 1990, Dresden has reemerged as a cultural, educational, political and economic center of Germany. On either side of the city, terraced vineyards dotted with historic villas extend along the Elbe River.
Following the Elbe south out of Dresden, the city quickly gives way to picturesque vineyards terraced into the bluffs above the river, interspersed with the occasional 18th- or 19th-century villa. If you have time to stop at only one winery, make it Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, where we tasted superlative Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir with owner Alexandra Prinzessin zur Lippe. The more touristy Schloss Wackerbarth has splendid formal gardens and steep vineyards.
A Porcelain Museum
Not far from Dresden is the renowned porcelain factory of Meissen. We toured its magnificent museum, which displays monumental sculptures such as Temple of Honour, the largest single porcelain work of the 18th century, and Saxonia in Meissen Couture, a female figure decorated with some 8,000 handmade porcelain blossoms.