Too good to be real – The Berlin Spectator

In Dresden, tourists from all over the world find what they are looking for. The old town of the city is simply magnificent. Visitors who flood the city every day gaze at all the beauty in disbelief.

Berlin, August 22, 2019. Update: June 29, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Tour guiding seems to be a very popular profession in Dresden. At every corner of the city center, at least one guide is busy with his monologue on the millions of tourist attractions available. It almost seems that there are more tourist guides than people with conventional professions.

Information in English from Oxford

On this day, before the Corona crisis, two ladies in their fifties explain things to British and American visitors in excellent Oxford English. They have just arrived at the most fascinating place of all, Frauenkirchewhich was a heap of rubble after the war, until it was rebuilt after reunification.

Zwinger Palace is a tourist attraction. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

Three groups of German-speaking tourists are also on the move. One of the young guides looks very intellectual. Maybe he just got out of one of the many colleges here. A lady explains things to a fairly large Japanese group at the Procession of Princes. Most of his herd members are pointing their iPhone cameras at this truly mesmerizing mural.

Photographing things from all angles is fun. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

As beautiful and historic as the center of Dresden is, it’s also a mess these days. Indeed, a million construction sites are spread all over the place, including in the historic old town. The provincial government is building like there is no tomorrow. Construction activities spoil part of Schlossplatzthe Augustus bridge, the Ironterrane which is the street along the Elbe, and they have created two cavities in the old town of Dresden which are as big as several football fields.

Tourism makes people hungry

Recently, a wooden construction fence around the famous Semper Opera was spoiling all those photos, about 30 per minute, taken by tourists walking in its direction. At present, at least this renovation is complete. Tourists can actually see the opera.

The Semper Opera in Dresden has been renovated. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

Dresden’s countless tourists need to be fed. This is where the huge restaurant business in the city comes in. For its 550,000 residents, many of whom live in huge buildings built during the communist era, on the outskirts, Dresden doesn’t need so many elegant restaurants right in the center. But tourism makes people hungry.

Another sensational spot: the Fürstenzug fresco. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

In one of these many food outlets, located on the ground floor of a perfectly renovated medieval building, the Chicken Schnitzel with mashed potatoes is not only delicious, but also appealing. The design of the meal on the plate actually makes it too beautiful to eat. Having Apfelsaftschorlea very refreshing mix of apple juice and club soda (known as sparkling water in the UK), is mandatory in Germany.

Luther has the best place

In Dresden there are so many important sights that it is difficult to find a good starting point. The Procession of Princes fresco is 101 meters long and tells the story of a mounted procession of the rulers of the House of Wettin. Pfunds Dairy was established in 1880. It can safely be called the most beautiful dairy in the world.

The Frauenkirche in Dresden has a view from its tower. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

Inaugurated in 1841, the Semper Opera is one of the buildings destroyed by the Allied bombings in 1945. Later, it was restored. The Royal Palace, built in the 15th century, was also destroyed and rebuilt. Another fascinating building to discover is the Sanctissimae Trinitatis Cathedral, a baroque-style chapel built from 1738 to 1754.

It doesn’t stop there. The magnificent Zwinger Palace, Brühl’s Terrace, the Golden Horseman and above all the Frauenkirche are places to visit and admire. Martin Luther has the best place in town. His black statue in front of the huge church is the perfect photo object.

The bombings of 1945

the Frauenkirche, this enormous house of worship, was built from 1726 to 1743. Historians believe that the chapel had a predecessor, which they believe must have been built shortly after the year 1000. It was probably a construction in wood. In the 12th century, a small church was erected on the site occupied by the current church. Archaeologists found pieces of the building’s walls.

The Frauenkirche was rebuilt, brick by brick. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

Prior to World War II, parts of the Frauenkirche had to be constantly renovated, as the material used for some of the walls and pillars that supported most of the weight of its gigantic dome was of poor quality. There were problems all the time. Metal bars and other supporting elements had to be built into the walls.

It is not easy to put the giant Frauenkirche in one photo. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

In the fall of 1944, the Allies were fighting Nazi Germany and were just months away from finally defeating fascism. At the beginning of 1945, from February 13 to 15, the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force launched attacks in four waves during which countless bombs were dropped on Dresden. Up to 25,000 residents died during these raids.

The Frauenkirche Memorial of the GDR

Historians still debate whether these bombings were really necessary to defeat Nazi Germany. This argument is rather complicated, since the Allies suffered so many casualties and saved so many lives by ending Nazi terror and liberating the German death camps as well as the entire continent.

Walking along the Elbe will provide tourists with great views. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

the Frauenkirche was destroyed during these bombardments. On the morning of February 15, 1945, the huge firestorm caused by all the bombs had weakened the pillars of the church. At 10 a.m. they gave way and the dome collapsed. From then on, the huge temple was just a pile of rubble.

Tourists flood Dresden every day. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

The GDR (Communist Germany) checked whether a reconstruction was feasible. After a while, the regime in East Berlin came to the conclusion that such a project was far too big and too expensive. He had roses planted on the rubble and declared it a memorial.

pile of single stones

After the reunification of Germany, the Lutheran Church again began to think about reconstruction. An association has been created for this purpose. On March 18, 1991, the Synod of Saxony decided to rebuild the Frauenkirche. From 1996 to 2005, the huge effort was implemented. It cost €180 million (£160 million or US$212 million). A large part of this sum, 115 million, was collected from donors around the world.

There is a tourist site every few meters. Photo: Emmanuel Marcus

The reconstruction itself was more than complicated. First, each stone in this pile had to be identified, registered and numbered in a catalog. Parts also had to be prepared and missing parts had to be fabricated while the architects tried to figure out how to make sure the new version of the temple would be stable.

The incredible story of Frauenkirche and the reconstructed building alone justifies a visit to Dresden. The same goes for the beauty of the whole old town of the city. While the main shopping area is ugly as hell, since most of the buildings were built in the former East Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, many parts are fascinating, including the Blue Wonder, a bridge over the Elbe inaugurated in 1893. .

Dresden’s geographical location also makes it a good starting point for a nice little trip to Prague or a big trip to Southeast Europe. The distance from Dresden to Berlin is only about 180 kilometers. Don’t forget the Schnitzel and the Apfelschorle.

To note: There is a Article from Dresden in German too. You can access it here.

Related article: Pirna: the medieval beauty of Saxony

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