The Dresden Frauenkirche was built in the 18th century and it was one of the many structures destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the end of World War II. The church you see today in the middle of Dresden is a new church built with the remains of what survived the war.
We were there on a sunday afternoon and climbed all the way to the top to see the view from the top of Dresden during sunset. This is something everybody going to Dresden should do. It costed less than €10 and it was more than worth it as you can see from the pictures on this post.
Where to Stay In Dresden
If you are planning on visiting Dresden and doesn’t know where to stay, I can advise you to stay at the Cityherberge. The hostel is quiet, clean, comfortable and well located close to the old part of Dresden and not that far away from the main train station. The bed is nice, the bathroom are big and the only problem I had there was that the wi-fi could be more stable. Besides that, I would advise everybody to stay there.
Dresden Frauenkirche’s History
The first Frauenkirche was torn down in 1727 and replaced the romanesque building from the 11th century. This original baroque church was built between 1726 and 1743 and was designed by Dresden’s city architect, George Bähr. His view of the church was a little different from other churches since he placed the altar and the baptismal font directly in the center of the entire congregation. Making the church special since the beginning.
But what gets your attention once you see the church is not the inside but the unconventional dome that stands 96 meters high. Die Steinerne Glocke, like it used to be known for, was a 12,000 ton sandstone dome. For more than 200 years, this bell shaped dome stood over Dresden. It survived the Seven Years’ War but not the Second World War.
The Church Destruction During the Allied Bombing
On February 1945, the bombing of Dresden began his mark on the city. The Frauenkirche stood for two day and nights and sheltered more than 300 people during the infamous firestorm that was unleashed in the city. But, the heat generated by the 650,000 incendiary bombs that were dropped in Dresden was too much for it. The temperature around and inside the church was too high and, eventually, the dome collapsed. The pillars that supported the dome glowed red and exploded, the outer walls shattered and the dome fell to earth.
This way, the Frauenkirche vanished from Dresden’s skyline. The church stood for decades as a empty shell in the middle of a broken down city. In 1966, the site was officially declared a Memorial Against War but this was it. The ruins were a scar in the middle of Dresden and there they stayed until the reunification of Germany.
In 1989, The Society to Promote the Reconstruction of the Church of Our Lady was created by a group of enthusiasts headed by Ludwig Güttler, a Dresden musician. This citizen’s initiative began a fund raising and the organization grew to more than 5,000 members in Germany and 20 other countries. More then €180 million were collected and reconstruction vegan in January 1993. The foundation stone was laid in 1994, the crypt was completed and 1996 and the inner cupola in 2000.
Whenever it was possible, the Frauenkirche, except the dome that was shattered, was rebuilt using the original material and plans. And you can see this on the church. The dark stones on the building are the old ones and you can, sometimes, even see the fire damage on them. After intensive efforts to rebuild the church, the construction was completed in 2005 and in time for the 800 year anniversary of Dresden in 2006.
The success of this reconstruction project has inspired other revitalization projects throughout Europe.
Ascent to the Frauenkirche Dome
We visited the church on a sunday afternoon to go all the way to the dome and see Dresden from the top, with the Elbe cutting the city in half. The ascent is not that simple but it more than worth it. First, we made our way using a lift and then, there was the spiral ramp with a great view from the altar below.
Once you get to the top, you are 67 meters high and can see Dresden in detail. And it is beautiful. From the old historical center to the Elbe bridges. From the old square to the new buildings close to the city stadium. You can see it all from the top of the Dresden Frauenkirche and we advise you to do it.
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