Dresden: The Frauenkirche
Also open thread.
My posting has been interrupted, because I had to travel to Dresden for a few days. It’s enormously inconvenient, as there’s a lot to write about right now, but in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy some pictures of the Dresden Frauenkirche, or the Church of Our Lady.
Here it is this past Friday, as it happens, at the precise moment of an anti-vaccine mandate protest through the Dresden city centre:
The Frauenkirche was an 18th-century Lutheran church, destroyed in the notorious Allied air raid of February 1945. It remained a pile of ruins for years afterwards; here’s a view from 1958, with the statue of Martin Luther in the foreground:
After German reunification, they decided to restore the church. The structure you see today dates substantially from the 1990s; the dark stones are, obviously, original.
Part of the 18th-century dome was recovered from the ruins, and is now a monument in the square:
A few years ago I spent an evening at the German Ambassador’s residence in San Francisco. He had a room on the ground floor with a photo collage of before-and-after photos of East German city centers, showing how they looked on or near the day of reunification, and how they look today. East Germany, under the Socialists, never rebuilt after the war because they couldn’t afford it. So all the towns ravaged by war stayed that way for nearly 50 years, and then the mighty West German economic engine reconstructed them all. The ambassador joined me as I stared in rapt amazement at the transformation and we talked about what an amazing thing it was, and how much of a disaster Socialism is.
I visited this church a number of years ago and remember being quite moved to read about the rebuilding. Old photographs were used along with computer assisted design and a lot of manual working out to restore it as close to the original as possible.
I have seen rebuilt churches in Russia that had been dynamited by the Bolsheviks before. It has a remoralising effect to know that what has been torn down can be rebuilt.