It’s been a while since I posted on our Germany trip. If you remember we were last in Nuremberg, during the AC/DC tour. Click HERE to read if you missed that post. Well…AC/DC and their 90,000 fans are here in Dresden with us again. We should have gotten tickets! (not really : )
While planning our Germany trip we asked a lot of people who had been to Germany as well as those who live there if Dresden was a good place to visit and what they thought of it. Every person immediately said that it was one of the most “beautiful” cities in Germany. They were right. My personal word that would describe Dresden is “Pastel.” That is a description I have reserved for Paris, as well. You will see what I mean from the photos, I was drawn to the pastels almost immediately upon stepping into the main square and looking around at the buildings. Lots of pastel baroque buildings. So pretty. Look at the main photo at the top of this post. What do you think this is a photo of? Looks like a library to me…but it is the train station!
Now, after hearing the history of Dresden, I am not surprised that Dresden is so peacefully pastel in its appearance today. I think that it is how the soul of a city looks after it rises from the ruins of a devastating history.
Below is a photo of one of Dresden’s most cherished buildings, Frauenkirche church (Church of Our Lady.) Again, the pastels are breathtaking. Like most of Dresden it was left in ruins after the firebombing by American & British air strikes on Feb 13 & 15, 1945. It’s reconstruction did not begin until 1994 and was completed in 2005. The church is significant throughout its history as a Protestant church. It has a statue of Martin Luther outsides its doors. The old stones that are noticeably a darker color are from the firebombing of WWII as well as a natural aging of sand stone. I could go on..The history of this church is remarkable.
You can see, by the church’s towering size in the Neumarkt square, that it is an important part of the city.
Below is the interior, that took my breath away…
Citizens of Dresden hand-carried, numbered and stored stones for the eventual reconstruction. It took 45 years before reconstruction began because of Soviet occupation of eastern Europe after WWII. The people forced the East German government to leave the rubble untouched for 40 years as a memorial, then later, in 1980’s, the church site became a place of gathering for peaceful protest against the regime. These protests, in German cities, eventually rallied the masses and led to the fall of the Wall and the reunification of Germany. Isn’t that fascinating? Travel allows you to learn many new things, one being the spirit of common people on their journey to Peace.
You knew, (right?) I would find a video on YouTube that shows you the churches reconstruction…now you are an expert on all that!
Bombs Hit Dresden
I also was amazed by the WWII history of Dresden. It was so badly destroyed by the Allies (U.S. & Britain) only 3 months prior to end of the war. Lots of controversy over why it was hit and why so hard. I think from all I have heard and read, it was to be a last big push back of Hitler intended to break the masses moral… in a big way. The big way, of course, was the tremendous loss of civilians when Allies bombed the city of Dresden. While able to move state art and treasures to safety, unfortunately, the people (civilians,) had few public bomb shelters and so most only went to their cellars when the air raid sirens began at 9:30pm. It was around 10:40pm when the first bombs fell and then 3 hours later, when first responders and the civilians were coming out of their smoking & fiery buildings a second bombing by 800 Allie planes began, killing thousands in the streets… Killing an estimated 135,000 people in the firestorm of estimated 1,500F degrees. The estimated dead is a controversy too, but that number seems to be the most agreed upon. This is by many considered a holocaust or genocide on innocent German civilians and refugees. More people were killed in the Dresden Firestorm 25 minute bombings than the number (initially) killed by the atom bomb in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined (120,000 Japanese civilians & military). Although, I don’t mean to compare numbers of those lives’ loss in any way, except to draw attention to the sheer massive waste of human life of any war. If the bombing link & my in-a-nutshell account, is not enough… Below, is an excellent dramatization of Feb 13-15 Dresden, a lot of real film footage and first hand accounts by the people who experienced the event, both Dresden civilians and Allie & German soldiers. Very interesting! Let me tell you tho, hang-in-there at the beginning, the language will SOON change to english. The subtitles, too, are a bit hard to read/squeezed, but doable, and not important once english begins. And lastly, ignore the skip/jump in the video towards the beginning it fixes itself. It is Long, so bring your popcorn.
I will now
take a breath and just leave you with the reconstructed beauty & colors of Dresden.
Not all is pastel in Dresden! The Bohemian quarter in Outer Neustadt is filled with an artsy vibe of brightly colored buildings.
Thanks for stopping by!