Bike tour around Dresden
Length: 1 day, +/-23Km, Altitude difference: 275m
Link to the map: here
This tour takes you across the city to various sights and places that are not necessarily in your travel guide. It's especially interesting for those who want to get to know Dresden a bit more thoroughly and beyond the old town.
First stop : Jorge Gomondai Platz: Named for a young Mozambican killed in a racist attack in 1991 at this place, this square serves as a reminder of the dangers of far right violence. The square was renamed in 2007 to commemorate the victim.
Second stop : Markthalle: After many years, the dreams of the traders of a traditional weekly market were finally fulfilled in 1899 to be able to do business under a permanent roof. This is Dresden's first permanent market hall, built out of Saxon sandstone. In 1945, the eastern part of the market hall was destroyed by aerial bombing. Here you will find many small shops that are worth a stroll. It's definitely worth taking a look at the beautiful architecture from the inside, free of charge.
Third stop: Goldener Reiter: This sculpture is one of Dresden's landmarks. You see the all-too-familiar Saxon Elector and then King of Poland August the Strong looking east towards Poland. Much of Dresden’s baroque architecture dates back to his reign. After his death, August the Strong had himself buried in Poland, but his heart (literally) remained in his native Dresden. You can find it in the crypt of the Hofkirche.
Fourth stop: Yenidze: Is it a mosque? Or a temple? It is in fact an old tobacco factory! It was built at the beginning of the 20th century, and the name comes from the small Greek town of Genisea, from where the tobacco was imported. However, due to its being so close to the city centre, it shouldn‘t be recognisable as a normal factory building. The chimney was disguised as a minaret and the whole architecture became an advertisement for the tobacco products. When the factory was built, the association of architects expelled the building manager because the tobacco mosque was considered a scandal at the time. A building like that i n Dresden? Some things haven’t changed until today...
Fifth stop: Kraftwerk Mitte: Electricity for Dresden was produced here from coal for close to 100 years. Even before that, since 1838, gas for the city was produced here. Since 2016, it has been a multi-use centre as an exceptional location for art, culture and creativity. There is an energy museum, two theatres, rehearsal rooms, event spaces, and even concert halls.
Sixth stop: Russian-Orthodox-Church: It was built in the style of Russian sacred buildings (with five onion domes), which makes it quite different from any German church in the city. The onion domes show Christ and the four evangelists. The church is open to all visitors (free of charge) daily from 10-17 hrs.
Seventh stop: TU Dresden Campus: If you want to take a nice little detour - the historic red brick buildings of Dresden University together form a very nice ensemble.
Eighth stop: SLUB Library: In the university library you can see the "Dresden Codis" (or Dresden Codex), one of the four preserved and authentic Mayan manuscripts. This is the only one of the four Mayan codices that can be viewed. It is dated between 1200 and 1250 and is inscribed with hieroglyphics, pictures and numerals. You know, the same Mayan calendar that predicted the end of the world on 21 December 2012....
Ninth stop: Bismarcksäule: Around 1900, many towers were built throughout Germany in honour of Bismarck. Today it is a lookout tower and, at 23m high on the 190m Franzenshöhe, offers a beautiful view over the city. Open: Thursday to Sunday and public holidays from 10am to 6pm, Mon-Wed: days off.
Tenth stop: Alt-Strehlen: Welcome to the village in the middle of the city! Here it's suddenly very relaxed and quiet, between old farms and a stream, quite different from the lively Wasaplatz right next door. Here you can see very clearly how Dresden emerged from various small villages. A beautiful place to pause for a moment, it's as if time has stood still.
Eleventh stop : Christus Church: Built in the style of reform architecture, this church offered protection from state repression in autumn 1989. One of the first large citizens' meetings took place there on 9 October. Dresden honours the Christuskirche as a place of the Peaceful Revolution.
Twelfth stop: Panometer: The Panometer is located in the former Dresden Gasworks. Due to its round shape, the Gasometer is perfectly suited to show various 360° images. Two extremes alternate here: Dresden in the Baroque era at its height around 1760 and Dresden in 1945, completely destroyed after the Second World War. The entrance fee of more than 10€ is not cheap, but if you have some time, you will get a very impressive idea of how Dresden used to be.
Thirteenth stop: Christstollen: This shop offers original poinsettias, as well as Dresden Christmas cakes (Stollen) and typical Erzgebirge wooden art. A good opportunity to pick up a few (expensive) souvenirs.
Fourteenth stop: Alter Betriebshof Tolkewitz: Formerly a tram depot, now a brand new school campus. The tracks seem to lead directly into the sc hool building.
Fifteenth stop: Johannisfriedhof: The second largest cemetery in the city is beautiful. The cemetery is an example of the development of gravestones in the Dresden area. Initially, gravestones were mainly made of local stone, such as Elbe sandstone, but over time these were replaced by foreign stone.
The Johannisfriedhof is the second largest burial place for the victims of the air raids on Dresden in February 1945, for whom a grove of honour was erected with a memorial in the shape of a cross and a renovated central fountain. Reburials continue to take place to this day, for example when the remains of air war dead are found during construction work.
Wallot Chapel: The monumental neo-Renaissance chapel, built in 1894, consists of a parish hall with a dome and two mortuaries. The chapel alone is worth the visit. It is beautifully decorated inside, designed by the architect of the Reichstag Berlin.
Diversion via Niederpoyritz: You can now continue directly along the Elbe towards the city centre. If you still feel like a few diversions: Drive upstream to the Niederpoyritz ferry. Take the ferry across to the other side of the Elbe. On the other side of the Elbe, the Erbgerichtsklause awaits with refreshments. The way back is a little more adventurous, initially via a trail along the Elbe meadows back towards the city.
Sixteenth stop: Blaues Wunder: The official name of this bridge is the boring "Loschwitzer Brücke ". However, locals call it the "Blue Wonder", of course because of its colour, and it was the first and largest free-standing bridge of its size in Europe without piers in the river. This was a technical feat at the end of the 19th century.
Seventeenth stop: Schwebebahn: The track is 274 metres long and overcomes a height difference of 84 metres. Opened at the beginning of 1901, it takes you on a very beautiful ride up the Elbe slope. As a reward for the strenuous ride, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city from the top.
Eighteenth stop: Standseilbahn: On the other side of the street is this even older cable car (since 1895) with 547 metres of track, which takes you 95 metres higher. The view is not quite as good as with the "Schwebe Bahn", but in the district around the top station you will find many very beautiful, sophisticated villas.
There is a combi-ticket for both of the trains for 5€.
Nineteenth stop: Terrasse am Lingnerpark : The Lingnerschloss was bought in 1906 by Karl August Lingner, the founder of "Odol", the mouthwash brand that is still famous today. The Dresden Hygiene Museum was, for instance, created on his initiative. As an entrepreneur with social responsibility, he stipulated in his will that the park and the palace should remain open to all Dresdeners. In addition, it was to be the most reasonably priced restaurant in the area. Therefore, in fulfilment of Lingner's will, a changing non-alcoholic drink is offered here at the low price of 75 cents.
Twentieth stop: Waldschlößchenbrücke: You are looking at the biggest controversy in Dresden’s recent past. For more than 20 years, there was intense debate about whether and how to build this bridge, including a referendum, protesters chained to trees and a construction delay lasting years because of a very rare species of bat, the "lesser horseshoe bat". Because of the construction of this bridge, Dresden's Elbe Valley was the first and only place in the world to lose its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Last stop: Rosengarten:This romantic garden is full of different kinds of roses and nice for a short walk. Unfortunately, there is no beauty without shadow: during the Nazi era, Jews were forbidden to visit the rose garden.