Photos: 70 years ago, Dresden was destroyed. This is what it looks like today
For decades, East Germany’s communist regime refused to rebuild Dresden’s most historic and well-known landmark, the city’s towering Frauenkirche. Its ruins have remained intact as a symbol against war and as a memorial to those who were killed.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the church was finally rebuilt. Together with other sights and monuments, it once again dominates the skyline of Dresden.
Every year Dresden is haunted by its past
Despite these efforts, the past continues to shape this historic city often considered one of the most beautiful in Germany.
Every year on February 13, neo-Nazis march through the city to commemorate its destruction. In recent years, they have been blocked from entering the center by a human chain of more than 10,000 protesters.
Their message to the neo-Nazis could be summed up as follows: “Your predecessors caused the destruction of this city and we will protect it against you. Do not dare to abuse this day of remembrance for your racist goals.
A particularly iconic photo that was taken shortly after the bombing shows the city destroyed from its town hall, which had not completely collapsed, unlike many other buildings. A comparison with a photo taken from the same angle today reveals that many destroyed houses were never rebuilt. Instead, parking lots or parks have taken their place.
There are few places where the destruction is still clearly visible at first glance
The historic city center of Dresden was rebuilt, largely after the fall of the Berlin Wall and mainly thanks to the financial support of the western German states which were and still are obliged to transfer money to east of the country.
A variety of buildings were built in a modern way.
Other buildings have been completely rebuilt, based on old photos and using original stones found in the rubble.
The city center was occupied by residential buildings before the destructive war. Today only a few of them can still be found there. Most of the buildings are now used by shops, museums, hotels, restaurants or have been converted into office space.
The restoration of the city is not yet complete. Visitors will still find construction sites throughout the city.
On the outskirts of Dresden, communism shaped the skyline
Just a few hundred meters from downtown Dresden, which attracts around 2 million tourists a year, remnants of another era tower over historic structures.
Buildings constructed during the Communist East German government era, made from precast slabs, dominate the suburb. Their presence in the Dresden skyline is an ever-present reminder to residents and visitors that the damage of war cannot be erased in 70 years. In fact, they might never completely disappear.