CZU Welcome Centre DRESDEN AND BASTEI BRIDGE II
On Saturday 8th October CZU Welcome Centre for International Scholars organised a second trip to Bastei Bridge and Dresden in Saxony. We had 32 participants and the bus was full. We met in the early autumn morning when it was still dark, and on the way, it was quite foggy, but in the end, we were lucky. When we arrived at Bastei Bridge, the fog had dissolved, and we could enjoy wonderful views from the bridge and the ruins of the castle Neurathen in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. The bridge was specially built for tourists in 1851. It is 76.5 metres long, and it spans over the Mardertelle Gorge. There are beautiful viewpoints over the river or the sandstone rock formations in the nearby area.
After about two hours of walking, we continued by bus to Dresden on the Elbe (often called Florence on the Elbe), the capital of Saxony in southern Germany. We arrived at the centre and were left to wander around to get the first impression, feel the atmosphere and eat some lunch. At two o'clock, a guided tour started. We saw the famous church Frauenkirche (the Church of Our Lady), newly restored and opened in 2005. It was destroyed during the Second World War and waited for almost 60 years to be reconstructed. We also saw the former royal stables, a special place for tournaments, and the wall in Augustus street (102 metres long) depicting the Procession of Dukes of Saxony (800-year history) made from 24.000 Meissen ceramic tiles.
We looked into the two courtyards of the old residential Renaissance Court Palace with a tower and sgraffito decorations on its walls and Baroque Zwinger, which are both full of art collections of Augustus the Strong (who became a king of Poland in 1697). The most famous piece is Sixtine Madonna by Raphael. We listened to legends about one of the mistresses and about building a catholic church in the protestant town of Martin Luther, now the cathedral Hofkirche. We could admire the building of the Semper Opera House from the 19th century and the so-called balcony of Europe or Bruhel Terrace – a promenade along the river Elbe. In the end, we had some time to buy souvenirs or presents. When it started to rain, we headed towards our bus and began our journey back to Prague.
There are many beautiful museums in Dresden (old masters and modern pieces), and it is impossible to see everything in one afternoon. It is worth visiting this beautiful place again. We hope all participants returned to Prague with pleasant memories of their trip and maybe would travel to Dresden again and explore it in more detail. It is not far away from Prague, and there are regular buses and trains daily.