Introducing Dresden’s districts (3) Weißer Hirsch

Advertisement W eisser Hirsch (White Hart) is every bit as beautiful and enchanted as its name suggests, with row upon row of magnificent villas and superb views across the Elbe Valley. Local resident Michael Böttger tells us where to find the best panoramas.

Weisser Hirsch is the most beautiful district of Dresden because…

…it’s more than just an ensemble of beautiful old villas with large gardens. Here on a hillside overlooking this city of art and culture, the air is clean and pure. Nearby are the 50 hectares of the Dresdner Heide (Dresden Heath). The trees, streams and meadows of this municipal forest keep temperatures pleasantly cool on a hot day. The mild microclimate is also the reason why Heinrich Lahmann built his world-famous sanatorium here at the end of the 19th century.

How would you explain the Weisser Hirsch district to a stranger?

In Weisser Hirsch, you are technically still in the city, but it feels much more like the countryside. It is a villa suburb that is rich in history, with the Dresdener Heide to the north and views across the Elbe Valley to the south. These take in a delightful river landscape with the dark towers of the distant city centre behind. The general public can enjoy the view from the balcony of the Luisenhof family restaurant or from the Friedensblick vantage point.

What sort of person feels readily at home in Weisser Hirsch?

Anyone, from an adventurous child to a literary enthusiast. It is by no means the case that Weisser Hirsch is the snobby preserve of the rich; many young families have moved in over the past few years, and they appreciate the playgrounds and parks here. We have the wonderful Konzertplatz with its open-air cinema, woodland beer garden and concert arena. And if you want to do a literary tour, you can go looking for the villas where Kafka, Rilke, and Thomas Mann stayed.

If Weisser Hirsch were a person, what would be its distinguishing features?

It would be an elegant lady of mature age wearing a large bonnet and voluminous summer frock, serene and self-possessed, taking a stroll with her boisterous grandchild.

The right soundtrack for a walk through Weisser Hirsch would be this song:

Dr Michael Böttger

Born in 1950 and a former student at the Kreuzschule Dresden, Michael Böttger has lived in Weisser Hirsch since 1956. The educationalist and History PhD was for a long time Managing Director of igeltour Dresden. He is a founding member of Verschönerungsverein (the city’s ‘beautification’ association) and is now its deputy chairman. He leads regular themed tours through the Weisser Hirsch district and has had many articles published on this former health resort.