Posted by: facetothewind | July 5, 2010

Dresden – everything new is old again

We took a little weekend jaunt over to Dresden, the capital of Saxony. Most people remember Dresden as being the site of one of the most vicious air attacks of WW2 where Allied forces utterly flattened the city, killing an estimated 25,000 civilians in one fell swoop. People were virtually undefended, caught in their basements as their burning houses collapsed on them. An estimated 90% of this baroque city was destroyed. Here’s a little wartime video for some background on Dresden…

But Dresden would not be defeated. The war ended shortly thereafter and Dresden fell into the hands of the Soviets and was reformed as part of the GDR. The City now is a tribute to the stalwart constitution of the socialist people to rebuild.

There is no part of the city where you cannot see the scars of war. Everywhere you look there are blown-off faces of baroque angels, gaps and holes and empty lots. No more piles of rubble exist, but if you look closely, many of the reconstructed buildings use materials from the rubble piles. You’ll see old stone in black and new stone that is unblemished. And the architects and people of Dresden willed it so, carefully crafting a city that carries the reminders of the horrors of war without being defeated by it.

Much of the center city has now been re-built in an old style that looks a bit Disney-esque. Yet, I think it’s far better to try that than to simply abandon the old style for the new and end up with a city that looks like Dusseldorf – entirely stripped of its original character. Dresden has succeeded in recreating a baroque cultural center. To see Dresden today is a great sign of hope and transformation from unbelievable loss and humiliation.

Dresden is once again a very appealing city with lots of culture and a thriving café life, beautiful architecture even if it is a bit ersatz. You can get the feel of how it was once called Florence of the North. The skyline domes and spires reach into the night sky, proclaiming Dresden’s surviving spirit.

Have a look at our video, go inside the Frauenkirche, see Germany’s only drinking fountain and go on a little steamboat ride up the Elbe to Augustus the Strong’s palace in Pillnitz…

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Summer palace of August the Strong, Duke of Sachsen (Saxony)…

One of the trees in Augustus the Strong’s collection from around the world:

Pillnitz village…

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On a side note, I visited the Verkehrsmuseum Museum in Dresden: One of several unusual cars in their collection of autos from East Germany: the Wartburg, a now extinct company that made cars during the GDR period in the town of Eisenach in Thuringen…

They had an extraordinary German bicycle collection including several penny-farthings or high wheels:

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Responses

  1. FAB. It is SO GREEN there! Wanderlust kicking in big time, now.

    Quit my day gig at the County Atty’s Office last week. All on happy terms, but job description was becoming less and less of what I signed up for.

    Back to the farm in NE tomorrow for a week, then NZ in August.

    Not sure what comes next on the job front, but will focus on getting my rentals fluffed and filled, then sending out feelers for gainful employment.

    6 years @ PCAO, now time for another transition. 7 year cycles seems to be my pattern.

    Looks like a loverly time. Keep those cards and letters coming.

    Sr. Brad

  2. Incredible pics and video! I lived in Germany for three years. Makes me miss it! Such an awesome country! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. What a lovely post! Haven’t seen Dresden yet; hope to get there one day.


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