I didn’t know what to expect in Dresden’s Neustadt when I set off for my city tour that morning. My feet were badly damaged after three consecutive days of walking in a tight pair of shoes, but I was determined to make the most out of my time, even if that meant just limping through Dresden. So I turned left from Hotel Bellevue, our home for the week, passed by the golden equestrian statue of August the Strong and headed towards Albertplatz.
Inner Neustadt (Baroque Quarter)
On the right bank of the Elbe river, between the Neustadt train station, Albertplatz and Glacisstrasse, is the Baroque district. This neighborhood gives you an idea of the beauty of Dresden before the bombardament in 1945. I strolled up Dresden’s most elegant street, Königstrasse, trying to ignore my troubled feet.
The area was not as severely damaged as other parts of Dresden during the war, but it was completely neglected under the GDR-era. In the 1990’s the buildings have been repaired and an array of boutiques, art dealers, galleries and upscale restaurants have been built. So if you wonder where to go shopping in Dresden, Königstrasse will surely offer you an experience to remember. Many of the stores and restaurants are in passageways and courtyards leading off the main street and are well worth visiting.
Dreikönigskirche (Church of the Three Magi)
As I was rambling through the Baroque Quarter I came upon the Church of the Three Magi, a peaceful oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. What a relief to be be able to rest my feet for a little while! The baroque church – which stands between the Haupstrasse and the Königstrasse – was erected in 1739 by George Bähr and Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann.
Although not very ornate, the interior of the church is worth seeing for the beautiful altar piece. The sandstone altar was damaged in the bombing of 1945 and remains a grim reminder of the atrocities of war. The 87-meter high Neo-Baroque tower that was added approximately 100 years after the original construction, is an unmistakable part of Dresden’s cityscape. If interested in climbing it, the tower will reward you with a great view of Altstadt, but climbing was not on my list that day. During the war the church was completely destroyed, but has now been reconstructed and functions as a center for church meetings. One part of the building is still used for church services.
Pfunds Molkerei (Pfund’s Diary Shop)
By the time I reached the famous Pfunds Molkerei (Pfund’s Diary Shop) my feet were killing me. I looked up and saw the sign of the diary shop but was a little disappointed. I was expecting a bigger place. From the outside Pfunds Molkerei looks quite insignificant, but the interior is enchanting, an amazing feast for the eyes. Every inch of the walls, ceiling, floor and counters is covered with hand painted tiles and enamelled sculptures produced in the stoneware factory of Villeroy & Boch. Cited in the Guinness Book as “the most beautiful diary shop in the world”, Pfunds Molkerei was established in 1880 by Paul Gustav Pfund, a successful farmer in Reinholdshain. He was the first one to produce condensed milk in Germany, high quality baby food, and goat milk soap for sensitive skin. During the socialist era the ownership of Pfunds Molkerei was transferred to the state and the production was limited to just milk and three types of cheese.
The diary shop sells a big range of farm and artisan cheeses, different milk products, wines, chocolate and replica tiles. Upstairs there is a café-restaurant serving food with a strong lactose theme. Photography is verboten (forbidden) which didn’t keep me from stealing a few shots, despite the disapproving looks of the German tourists. Due to its popularity, the milk shop – already small – is most of the time packed with tourists. I was lucky to arrive there just as a big group was living, so for a few minutes I had the place all to myself.
It was already late afternoon as I left the diary shop heading for the bus stop. The sun was still up and I wanted to keep going but my feet were screaming “stop”. I decided to call it a day and get back to the hotel, but my heart was heavy… there was so much more to see in Neustadt.