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Prague (Praha) – Hřensko – Česká Kamenice – Dresden

It is only a 160 km ride from Prague to Dresden, and that is why this route is so popular even with those who come to Prague for several days. Rent a RUNWELL car and you will see how easy and interesting this ride can be.

So, what is worth seeing and visiting in Dresden?

Some general facts: about half a million “Ossies” live in Dresden – that is how the Germans call the people living in the eastern part of Germany. Well, it may sound a little scornful, indeed. If you stay in Dresden for a couple of days, you will notice this “easterness” in the locals’ clothes, appearance and behavior yourself. The name Dresden derives from a Slavic word Drážd‘any meaning ‘bottomland forests’ – this name still stands for Dresden in the Czech language. The German people call it Florence on Elbe hinting at the number of architectural monuments and beautiful nature around the city at the same time.

On your way to Dresden pay your attention to a region in the Czech republic called Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko). Set the name of a small town Hřensko as a passing point on your navigation device. It is the center of České Švýcarsko, a famous Czech national park, where one can find everything – fine ranges of cliffs, wild rivers, deep canyons, picturesque valleys. The most famous sight in České Švýcarsko is Pravčická Brána, a sandstone arch and a natural bridge with a span of 26 meters (85 feet) and an inside height of 16 meters (52 feet). 

When you have enjoyed breathing the fresh Czech air and walking in wild nature, though with arranged lanes, benches and cafés, it is time to set off to Dresden. On second thought, take some more time and visit a town called Česká Kamenice that became the Historical Town of the Year 2005 owing to its medieval architecture and baroque buildings. The town lies along the river Kamenice, which is the last tributary of the Elbe in the Czech republic. The most important buildings in the town are the gothic renaissance Church of St. Jacob the Elder from the 14th century and the Chapel of the Virgin Mary where Antonin Dvořák presided at the organ back in the 19th century. There is also a typewriter museum, a narrow gauge railway and several viewing platforms with beautiful views on the town and the mountains surrounding Česká Kamenice.

So, we are finally setting off to Dresden. Note that it only took us 3-4 hours to see all those sights driving around by car, while we wouldn’t be able to see any of the towns if we were traveling by bus.

Be ready to dive into the world of art in Dresden. It is almost impossible to stay unemotional at the sight of Raphael’sSistine Madonna, Pinturicchio’s Portrait of a Boy or Jean-Étienne Liotard’s The Chocolate Girl. And what a collection of paintings by Dutch artists is in the Old Masters Gallery! It is a must-see for every educated person, who will be absolutely amazed at the paintings and will remember a couple of new names of the painters and their works of art after a visit to this gallery.

The Dresden Armory in the Zwinger palace will impress boys of all ages – time stands still here and at the same time is rushing at full gallop on a horseback in a suit of armor. According to Wikipedia, the Dresden Armor has a rich collection of historic weapons, armor and about 10 000 portraits dating back to 16th-18th centuries and made by jewelers and gunsmiths, craftsmen and tailors from all over Europe. The collection is based upon about 2 200 swords, sabers and daggers, 1 400 guns and 1 600 rifles. They are in a very good condition not only functionally, but also in appearance being decorated with gold, fringe and precious gems.

If you go to Dresden with children, don’t forget to visit the Dresden Zoo (though the Prague Zoo is believed to surpass it) and The German Hygiene Museum. It is a truly unique museum that will demonstrate the structure of the human body from the inside, outside and among bacteria and viruses. You and your children will definitely find it interesting and educating. In socialism times the museum had a symbol introduced especially for the GDR children and named Kundi, a little man with a big spyglass in his hand with the help of which he was keeping an eye on children who were constantly forgetting to wash their faces. Although Kundi was quite popular in GDR, in 1990 new museum officials proclaimed the little man to be a Stasi figure, which led to his disappearance from the museum.

On a walk around Dresden pay your attention to Blue Wonder – a bridge across the Elbe. The Loschwitz Bridge got this name in 1893 due to a rare blue color and a peculiar form. Consisting of steel constructions, it had only two bridge abutments and no intermediate support. In 2007 the bridge was nominated for “Historical Landmark of German Engineering”.

Total length – 280 meters (918 feet)

Longest span – 146 meters (479 feet)

Bridge height (without abutments) – 24 meters (78 feet)

Width – 12 meters (39 feet)

Weight – 3 500 tons

Königstein Fortress is located 35 km (21 miles) from Dresden and sits atop a 240-meter high mountain of the same name above the River Elbe. An interesting fact is that in the center of the fortress there is the second deepest well in Europe that is 152.5 meters (500 feet) deep. 

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