city slicker dresden

Best-known building: A bombed-out ruin, though not for much longer. The Frauenkirche (above), destroyed in the raids, is still seen by many as the ultimate Dresden building. Rebuilding is due to be completed in time for the city's 800th anniversary in 2006.

Best-known (and most popular) politician: Kurt Biedenkopf, the energetic prime minister of Saxony. The former west German university professor remains popular at a time when other Wessis are still widely distrusted. He has helped to boost his image by being almost permanently at odds with his party leader, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and sees himself as the "attorney of the east".

Most famous product: The Dresden Stollen, an oblong, ultra-rich Christmas cake, much copied by other Germans. Dresdeners are trying to protect it by judicial decree, la champagne, so that only a Dresdener will be allowed to bake one.

Drink of the moment: Radenberger Pils. Local patriotism plays an important role in Saxony, not least because it was so completely suppressed during the Communist years. The advertising for Radenberger emphasises the beer's Saxon qualities.

Label best forgotten: "Valley of the Clueless", a Communist-era phrase for Dresdeners, because they were unable to receive west German television in Dresden, which is surrounded by hills.

Publications of note: Sax (short for Saxony - patriotism again), a self-confident Dresden listings magazine and a reminder (which many west Germans badly need) that being forced to live with Communism for 40 years does not mean that all east Germans were lobotomised. About to celebrate its fifth birthday. The biggest local paper is Schsische Zeitung. Like most of the main east German papers, this is a Communist organ that reinvented itself. Apart from the mass-circulation Bild, the German equivalent of the Sun, next to no one in east Germany reads the west German press.

Most ubiquitous item of clothing: Anything that makes Dresdeners look the same as people elsewhere in Germany. In other words: respectable wool and/or black leather. The stonewashed jeans that were the east German uniform when the Wall came down, have vanished. Only one difference remains: west German males still tend to wear colours a circus clown would reject as too loud.

How they stay different: Dresdeners still believe that your job doesn't have to destroy your life, a very un-Western attitude. Also, it is no longer dumm to be an Ossi. The old Trabbi, much mocked and discarded at the time of German unity, has become hip among young people unimpressed by the new Western ways of doing things. Earlier this year there was even a Trabbi rally.

Ugliest hotel: The Hilton, built by the Communists as a hard-currency earner (Stasi and foreigners only), opposite the Frauenkirche. As aesthetically charming as an Arndale Centre, it was probably built to make the rubble look beautiful.

Hottest ticket in town: Not least because of the tourists, opera tickets are the most sought after. The local political cabaret, popular with the Andersdenkende, the "different thinkers" in Communist days, known as the Herkuleskeule - Cudgel of Hercules - is patronised by curious west Germans as well as locals. Its current show is called Genius and Mad Cow Disease.

Most popular venue: In a recent poll in Sax magazine, the Brenzwinger, or Bear Cage, a student club which often organises concerts,was the hands- down winner. The Star Club is regarded as the leading venue for indie music in east Germany.

The eating places: The Villa Marie, near the Blue Miracle bridge, is visited by media folk and Dresden's new yuppies. Irish pubs, which have sprung up in every German city, are enormously popular with students and suits alike. In Dresden the best-known is the Ha'Penny Bridge.

Traditional tourist sights: The bits and pieces of Dresden's former glory have been or are being rebuilt. These include the 18th-century Zwinger, whose art gallery is choc-a-bloc with old masters; the ornate Opera House, whose gala reopening in 1985 was attended by Erich Honecker; and the Castle, which is still being restored.

Less traditional sights: The Stasi headquarters on Bautzener Strasse, which was stormed by demonstrators at the end of 1989. It now houses the Hollywood Discotheque.Construction cranes are the most notable sight. There are said to be 200.

Latest fad: Like lots of other Germans, Dresdeners love collecting telephone cards. Individual designs are marketed for their alleged rarity value in years to come, and the connoisseur can gather piles of specialist magazines stuffed with abstruse facts.

Steve Crawshaw

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links