DRESDEN - TRANSPARENT FACTORY AND MILITARY MUSEUM

Trip date: October 29, 2015

Dresden is the capital of Saxony and its historical center. There are a lot of amazing historical buildings like Frauenkirche, Semper Oper or Zwinger. You can find many galleries and museums there. Visitors admire the walks along the river Elbe.
But this time we decided to see something else. We skipped the city center. Today our goals were the Transparent Factory and the Bundeswehr Military History Museum.

Transparent Factory, Dresden

We ordered tickets for a tour of the Transparent Factory in advance. I filled out a form on the factory website. For the sake of a practicing language, I wrote it in German. My phone rang in a short while - some German number. After an explanation that I am not yet able to speak German, we switched to English and I signed up for the tour for 29. 10. 2015 at noon.
Transparent Factory is a large glass building, where Volkswagen produces its Phaeton cars. It is only about one km from the historical center of Dresden next to the large park "Grosser Garten".
We set off about 9 AM on Thursday from Prague. At the border we encountered a checkpoint. We had to leave the highway and on a rest stop, we were checked by the police. It was the first time in 10 years that we saw this, and it is a consequence of the refugee crisis.

Grosser Garten, Dresden

We arrived about 11 AM. That meant we had about one hour for walking in the "Grosser Garten". It is about two km long green place with landscaped paths and a historical building in the middle of the park. It looks like a great place for cycling or skating. Shortly before noon we went into the factory building.
Everything was well organized and we spent more than one hour on the visit. We saw the assembly lines of Phaeton with a lot of manual work. We saw the completion of a car and the testing line.  
Transparent factory, Dresden
The completed cars finish in the parking tower, which is the same system that we saw in the Autostadt. 
The cars are stored there before being delivered to customers.
A signal which is activated by the customer-service agent sets the car shuttles in motion. The shuttle then selects the correct vehicle and conveys it to the center of the tower from where it is gently lowered to the ground floor. Thereafter the new car rolls through a tunnel into the Car Distribution Centre. Here, in the Last Finish area, number plates are mounted before the customer takes final charge of the vehicle. 
The actual delivery of a vehicle to the customer is the big show. But it is intended only for customers, so we could only hear about it :)
Due the fact that the factory is close to the city center, there is a different way of supplying materials. All spare parts come into the factory on special supply trams "CarToGo" instead of trucks. You can meet special blue trains with the text "CarToGo" without windows on Dresden streets.

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden

After visiting the Transparent Factory we went on to the military museum. 
The entrance to the museum itself is very impressive. The building is located in a former military arsenal in the Albertstadt in Dresden. After a long history the museum was re-opened in 2011. Using the design of architect Daniel Libeskind, the Neo-Classicist facade on the historic arsenal has been interrupted. Libeskind added a transparent arrowhead to the façade of the building. This element is also reflected in the logo of the museum. The architecture is awesome, not only from outside. When we went up the elevator, we arrived at a lookout platform and enjoyed great views of Dresden.

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Lookout, Dresden

The museum offers a vast collection of military history, from technology and handguns to the art of war.  Eleven themed tours are offered there, and three chronologies: 1300-1914, 1914-1945 and 1945-today.

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden

There are a lot of expositions to see:
• Military vehicles outside such as tanks or artilleries
• Many uniforms from different periods
• Exhibits of military formations. My son can compare the museums models with his PC games (Macedonian phalanx,  cavalry, …)
• A display of animals in wars from birds, guard dogs, sheep to elephants
• An exhibit of toys with a military theme from different periods
• And lots more.

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden

This museum is really worth seeing. Only one thing was a bit confusing for me. We were filling the questionnaire upon exiting. We tried to describe our very good experience. But one question amused us. Respectively, the possible answers were three options for gender: female, male and other. I think it is not clear, why should the „Other" visit the museum like this. :)) 

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden

And I have to mention one more thing. When we were driving back home we used the new bridge „Waldschloschenbrücke”. It is the bridge which facilitated transportation in Dresden. And at the same time it is the reason why Dresden was deleted from UNESCO World Heritage List.
I think nobody is able to understand the logic of this decision. The new bridge is outside of the city center, has quality architecture and is in accordance with the landscape. We have similar senseless discussions about the revolving auditorium in Český Krumlov (one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic).
I think UNESCO is not a good guide to travel. I think it is much better to use other sources than the UNESCO list for planning trips. I have a lot of experience with travelling around the Czech Republic and Germany. Some sites designated on the World Heritage List are not interesting, and on the other hand, you do not find many real gems there. 
And Dresden is undoubtedly one of them. 
I highly recommend visiting it and not only the Transparent Factory and Bundeswehr Military History Museum but also the city center with all its historical sights.

Links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundeswehr_Military_History_Museum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparent_Factory
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_UNESCO_World_Heritage_Sites
Waldschloschenbrücke: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waldschlößchenbrücke_Labe_2012_2.jpg

 Bundeswehr Military History Museum, Dresden, Berlin Wall dresden-map