A Guide to Brühl's Terrace, Dresden
Brühl's Terrace, or Brühlsche Terrasse, also known as the "Balcony of Europe". The area where the Terrace now stands is where the ancient old city ramparts were built in 1738. Once the Fort was no longer needed to protect the city from invaders, it was converted, by the King's orders, into an outdoor garden and space for the citizens of the city.
From this high point of view you can see across the Elbe to what is now called "Neue Town", the beautiful Saxon State Ministry of Finance building, the Saxon State Chamber building and more.
We strolled along the cobblestones and stopped for a minute to peruse the various artists peddling their wares along the Terrace. It was early in the morning, and some people were just getting set up. There were so many pieces of handmade art that were truly something unique. The artists were there with the easels and paints, ready to make more pieces for sale.
It was fitting to see all these artists out and about seeing that the Terrace is also home to the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. This building which is topped with its iconic glass "Lemon Squeezer" was built 1764 to house the Art Academy. It was used as both a workplace and a training grounds for influential European artists. On the side of the building facing the Elbe, the names of Phidias, Iktinos, Praxiteles, Polykleitos, Lysippos, Erwin von Steinbach, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Dürer are inscribed. Beside this is the motto "DEM VATERLAND ZU ZIER UND EHR" - "For the Honour and Adornment of the Fatherland". Instead of angels, it is interesting to notice that the golden figures on the roof are Phemes, creatures from Greek mythology. These creatures are the personification of fame and renown. What a perfect reference for artists.
There were so many bright and colourful cafes along the terraces where you could just sit down and enjoy a light lunch or cup of coffee while looking out over the gorgeous blue waters of the Elbe.
I stopped for a minute beneath the rows of perfectly manicured trees that lined the end of the Terrace. From this spot, you could see the immense towers that surrounded the square below the Terrace. It is an incredible viewpoint for so many different buildings around the city.
One of my favourite things, when I'm travelling, is the cheesy tourist traps that some cities are replete with. In Dresden, they had so many of these little boat bikes where the employee would peddle their tours. The boats were so cute, though!!! I was disappointed we had already booked out tickets; I would have loved to give this poor kid some business.
All along the terrace is these bronze markings. Each one is signifying different planets with the different quote written on the bronze medallion. This one translates into "a bad trade, where no one wins"...I wish I knew more about the contest or what it means, but alas I do not.
On our way down the stairs as we left the Terrace to run off to catch our boat we passed by the Statue of Ernst Friedrich August Rietschel, one of the most famous artists to come out of Dresden. Ernst studied sculpture in Rome and when he returned to Saxony he needed to create a piece of work that would show his worth to the people of his hometown. He carved an enormous statue of Frederick Augustus, the King of Saxony that was larger than life and wowed all the Saxon people. After proving his worth, he was elected into the academy of art in Dresden and became their chief sculptor. His sculptors were just what the aristocracy wanted; they were full of idealism, drama and vigour. They treated men like gods and made their image colossal in nature. Now you can see his work all over the city. It's only fitting that he should have a sculptor of his own, looking down on the towns he helped build.
As we walked down the stairs leading up down to the river, and into the Schloßplatwe stopped to admire the four giant statues carved in bronze flanking the stairway. These sculptures represent the Four Times of Day. Dresden, although now mostly a tourist destination, was one the epicentre of culture in Europe. There was not a time of day when there weren't revellers in the streets, painters improving their craft, merchant trading their goods on the shore and Kings and Queen ruling Saxony from the castles above. These statutes seem to reflect that time cannot be stopped and everything changes, just like the city itself.