Length: 9 km (5.6 miles), terrain flat
Photos courtesy of www.pixelio.de
Dresden running routes:
Dresden Old Town/New Town
Dresden Elbe River Route
Dresden Grosser Garten Route
For more running routes, see Route List.
Dresden, once known as the Florence of the North, has been rebuilding itself for half a century, after being almost completely bombed-out in World War II. The rebuilding went slowly, and much of the new stuff was uninspired people-boxes built during the communist era. Since the German reunification, the rest of the empty lots have been filling quickly, with more care for the historic nature of the neighborhoods.
|Dresden old town, from the other side of the Elbe, photo by Martin Goldmann|
If you're running in Dresden, there are a few ways you could head: through the Volkspark and then out over the "Blue Wonder" bridge to the vineyards of Loschwitz, or you could just run out along the Elbe River beneath the palaces along the bluff, or you could also head out north to the extensive woods of the Dresdner Heide. Or you could take a run like this, doing a tourist loop through the historic districts of town.
Dresden Old Town/New Town Route
We'll start the run at the Theaterplatz, in the middle of the most imposing old-town buildings. This is the heart of the Saxon capital: the royal palace, the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger gardens and the Hofkirche church surround you. The ensemble is breathtaking, and all of them warrant a visit inside later. And the Elbe River is just a few steps away.
|The Zwinger, photo by Templermeister|
|Hofkirche and Schloß (palace), photo by Ulrike Jonack|
Let's run right towards the Zwinger, heading southwest through its arched gateway through the middle of the north wing. You'll come out into an impressive courtyard, surrounded by baroque arcades and galleries. Directly across the courtyard, a giant crown tops one arcade: the Saxon kings were certainly not into understatement.
Do a loop counter-clockwise through the courtyard, exiting on the east side, coming out onto the street, facing the rebuilt Taschenberg Palais. This building was rebuilt in the last years of the German Democratic Republic, and its pre-fabricated sections were only partially based on the original, but still it's better than most pre-fab boxes. The Sophienkeller restaurant in the cellar is a great experience, though: it occupies a labyrinth of ancient vaulted rooms, where waiters and musicians dressed in historic costumes bring back the old Dresden, and some are pretty funny (if you speak German, anyway), impersonating August the Strong and other historic figures.
Run to the left, then right, to go around the front side of the building, used as a hotel. Across the square you can see the royal palace, with its round towers. Run straight through the round archway bridging the two buildings.
When you get to the end of the palace, turn left on Schloß Straße. There is a big archeological dig in the big empty lot remaining behind the palace. To the right is the socialist-era Cultural Palace, looking totally out of place.
Run north along this back-side of the royal palace, and go through the next arched opening that goes out into the square out front of the Schloß. You will be facing the Hofkirche again, with the main facade of the palace behind you, with its titans holding up the archway, and a mural with a procession of Saxon rulers marching unperturbed through history, to their demise in 1918.
|Steps to Brühlsche Terrasse, photo by Bildpixel|
Run straight, and you'll have a great view of the river and the historic steamboats waiting for tourists along the bank. Across the river, you can see the Neustadt (new town), where we will soon be running. On the right, you'll first pass the Kunstakademie (Art Academy), then the Albertinum art museum in the old armory building.
|Brühlsche Terrasse, photo by Juergen Gessner|
|Kunstakademie, photo by Ulrich Velten|
You are now facing St. Petersburger Straße, leading to the left over the Carolabrücke bridge over the Elbe. There's a lane reserved for pedestrians, which you can take just by running along the left side of the bridge, next to the tram tracks.
Running over the bridge, you have more beautiful views of the old town behind you. Across the river, take the first stairs down to the left. We'll run along the riverside, going west, with the river to your left. The riverside is a wide lawn, with a government ministry building on the right.
You are running towards the older stone Augustusbrücke. The path goes under the bridge, where you keep going straight along the riverside. Across the river, what looks like a giant mosque is the 100-year-old Yenidze cigarette factory, named after the old Ottoman province where they once got their tobacco.
Before you come to the next bridge, you'll see a classical building with a curving green-copper roofline on the right, the Japanisches Palais. It was originally built by August the Strong to hold his porcelain collection (hey, a king's gotta have dishes, right?). Just past the building, turn right and run past it, cross the street at the tram stop, and run straight through the triangular plaza ahead (can you call it a "square" if it's triangular?).
Run straight along Königstraße, with its classical house-fronts and nice restaurants. Keep running till the street ends at the circular plaza (no "square" again), Albertplatz. You need to go to the far side of the circle, so run along either side, cross busy Bauzner Straße, then run up Alaunstraße. You are now coming into the funky part of town, full of interesting pubs, unusual restaurants and shops, full of students and bohemians.
|Kunsthof, photo by Hans-Christian Hein|
|Rain-gutters in the Kunsthof, photo by Hans-Christian Hein|
|Another Kunsthof courtyard, by Ilona Steinchen|
|In Pfunds Milchladen|
Keep running down the tree-lined pedestrian street, which ends at a golden statue of August the Strong on his horse. Keep running straight, and you'll run over the Augustusbrücke, towards the old town again.
|The golden rider, photo by Uwe Wagschal|
|The Frauenkirche over the rooftops, photo by Templermeister|
|Martin Luther at the Frauenkirche, photo by Rolf Handke|
Follow the procession mural towards the Hofkirche, jog past the church, and you will come out right where we started, at Theaterplatz in front of the opera.
|Semper Opera, by Ulrich Velten|