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Under-the-Radar Cultural Destinations

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© Jörg Schöner

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Dresden, Germany

The Scene: An old cultural hub revives 60 years after mass destruction.

The Signature: Before World War II, Dresden was Germany’s arts capital, but many of its famous architecture was destroyed in the firebombing of 1945. The stone Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady (Georg-Treu-Platz 3; frauenkirche-dresden.de), underwent a $218 million restoration in 2006 to mark the city’s 800th birthday and now anchors the Altstadt (Old Town). See other beautifully restored Baroque buildings here, like the Zwinger Palace (Innere Altstadt; 49-351/4914-2000) or the Semperoper (Theaterplatz 2; semperoper.de).

Insider Knowledge: Six times a year the illustrious Dresden Philharmonic (dresdnerphilharmonie.de) performs in the Frauenkirche—including concerts for Advent and New Year’s and two events this coming season to mark Wagner’s 200th birthday.

Don’t Miss: Visit the Military History Museum (Olbrichtplatz 2; mhmbundeswehr.de) to explore how the city has been affected—structurally and socially—by war. The museum, one of Germany’s largest, is only a year old but offers important, if painful, insight into Dresden’s cultural past.

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