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Porcelain perfection at every turn: Meissen

It is the flawless beauty of a porcelain figurine that best captures the essence of Meissen. The town has become famous all over the world for its porcelain, which features the mark of the blue crossed swords. Visitors to Meissen will not only encounter exquisite porcelain, however, but also an elegant town that looks back on more than 1,000 years of history.

No trip is complete without a tour of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. From the 13th century onwards, porcelain was imported from China for considerable sums of money. It took until the early 18th century for alchemists in Europe to unravel the mysteries of its production. They were working on behalf of the Elector of Saxony, a great admirer and collector of porcelain.

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory: internationally renowned for over 300 years

Soon after this discovery was made, the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory was established at Albrechtsburg Castle, where it remained for more than 150 years before moving to a new site in Meissen-Triebischtal. Despite this, the late-Gothic castle of Albrechtsburg is still well worth a visit. Perched high above the Elbe river, it was Germany's first castle to be built solely as a residence. Today it houses a number of fine museums and collections, in which porcelain – the town's great passion – plays an unsurprisingly prominent role. The delightful porcelain carillon in the tower of the gothic Church of Our Lady has been enchanting passers-by with its chimes since 1929. And in the Church of St. Nicholas are the largest figures ever made from Meissen porcelain. Perhaps not as famous, but no less important, is the town's pewter casting heritage. The tin foundry, established in 1792, is the oldest still in operation in Saxony and doubles as a museum commemorating this beautiful, near-forgotten craft.

Fabulous festivals and Germany's smallest wine region.

Meissen's Gothic cathedral is a prominent feature of the townscape and a sight to behold not least for the contrasting architecture of its towers: the south-east tower dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries, while the west towers were only completed between 1904 and 1908 . The festival season in Meissen runs almost all year round, attracting visitors from near and far. Highlights in the town's events calendar include the Pianoforte Festival, Meissen MusikMarathon, the pottery market and the enchanting Christmas market. Another firm favourite is the traditional Meissen wine festival in September. Although Saxony is Germany's smallest wine region it produces some distinctive wines that are highly regarded by connoisseurs – and that calls for celebration! One speciality is the goldriesling, a grape variety from the Alsace that now only flourishes in the Meissen area. All along the Saxon Wine Route, but especially in Meissen itself, there are lots of pretty little wine taverns where you can stop for a glass of wine at any time of year. And in summer, if you see a broom outside a house, it means that wine is served inside – and for once there is no porcelain involved!

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Stollenfest

The Christmas Stollen (fruit cake) of Dresden is famous all over the world. It was already baked in the 15th century, and in the 18th century the Stollenfest was born. In 1730 August II the Strong ordered the Bakers’ Guild of Dresden to make a giant 1.7-ton Stollen. In 2013 the giant Stollen was 4 tons heavy and was paraded in the traditional way on the back of a horse-drawn carriage through the city. At Striezelmarkt, one of the most beautiful Christmas markets of Germany, the giant Stollen gets sold for a good cause. This year it took 2,5h hours and the whole Stollen was gone. For sure you can also buy smaller Stollen at Striezelmarkt and everywhere else in Dresden during Christmas time. The Stollenfest always takes place on the Saturday before the second Sunday in Advent. A fun event to get into Christmas mood!

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yvonne@justtravelous.com

Eierschecke

Eierschecke: A Sweet Saxon Dessert

Eierschecke is the Saxon interpretation of cheesecake. It often comes with an apple topping. In the 14th century “Schecke” was a piece of clothing that men would wear, much like a long robe with a tight waist. The waist would divide the robe into three pieces (top, waist, lower skirt) much like the dessert, which consist of three different layers. You can get them at all the bakeries so make sure you plan for a coffee & cake break while visiting!

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lea@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Erich Kästner Museum

Exploring the Life of the German Author Erich Kästner

Remember Lindsay Lohan in the role of a young girl finding out about her twin sister in the 1996 movie “The Parent Trap”? One of the many movies that's based on one of Erich Kästner's great writing. The author was born in Königsbrücker Straße, not far from the place that now houses the Erich Kästner mirco museum – not your everyday museum. Much like in a traversable treasure chest you can walk through the museum and open draws that will reveal bits and pieces of Kästner's life and work. The deeper you dig through photos, letters, old theater programs and books, the more you'll want to read!

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lea@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Dresden Hygiene Museum

Explore The Human Body in Dresden

If you're into biology and like watching documentaries on the human body this is a must see when you're in town! The Hygiene Museum Dresden is one big adventure to explore the human body. The permanent exhibition displays a large part of the museum's extensive collection, which is made accessible to all ages with the help of media units and interactive elements throughout the museum. The museum itself dates back to the early 20th century. It was first opened by a local businessman and manufacturer of hygiene products. The museum was also the first museum to host the International Hygiene Exhibition in 1911. Since 1930, the best known object is probably the “Transparent Man” - a life-size human skeleton with artificial internal organs as well as arteries and venes. The “Gläserne Mensch” (literally: glass human) has also become a symbol for the museum itself.

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lea@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Frauenkirche - Church of Our Lady

Frauenkirche - Church of Our Lady

The Frauenkirche is actually a relatively new sight – at least for for Dresden locals. The Lutheran church vanished from Dresden's skyline in the devastating bombings of the city during World War II in 1945. The ruins where then kept as an anti-war memorial and restoration didn't starting until after the reunification of Germany in 1989. 60 years later in 2005 it was finally reopened. The costly reconstruction of the dome was financed with donations. One very large donation came from Günter Blobel, an American with German roots. He had seen the Church of Our Lady just before the city was bombed and took an interested in restoring the city. In 1999 Blobel won the Nobel Prize for medicine and donated the entire amount of his winning money towards the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche and other restoration works in Dresden. If look at the church from the outside you'll spot some dark stones in the walls – those are the original stones.

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lea@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Semperoper

Semper Opera

The Dresden Opera House, more commonly known as the Semperoper, is only a short walk from the famous Zwinger complex in Dresden. It's another prime example of baroque architecture and amazes millions of visitors even just from the outside. If you want to see it from the inside you can either go on a tour or if you have the time and an interest in Opera get some tickets for one of the shows at night. If you look at the main entrance from the front side you'll find two huge statues. One is of the famous writer Friedrich Schiller (right hand side) and the other one depicts Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Both of them where part of the Weimar Classicism, a cultural and literary movement in Germany in the 18th century. If you walk around the building you can spot some more statues of famous thinkers and artists such as Shakespeare, Moliere as well as Roman and Greek gods.

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lea@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Zwinger Palace

Zwinger Palace

The Dresden Zwinger is one of Germany's best known and most magnificent baroque buildings. It was commissioned to Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann by Augustus the Strong in 1710. He demanded the architect to include an Orangery for growing oranges, which in those days where called golden apples. As the name already suggests, golden apples where a symbol of power and influence and thought to bring good fortune. Most likely the reason why August the Strong had his people plant over a thousand plants. Today the Zwinger accommodates several museums and stages for music and theater shows. Even if you don't go inside the museum make sure you check it out from the outside and you'll see what Goethe meant when he described it: “I entered this sanctum, and my sense of amazement transcended every conception that I had ever previously had."

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lea@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com