Dresden: wound, but not vanished. My plane landed in the middle of a weird fog, with an oppressive dark sky. Today from the sky come thousands of tourists, in 1945 the sky brought death and despair. I do not want to remember the raid. What the bombs didn’t destroy, was done by the communist Germany.
Thousand of damaged but repairable structures were demolished to turn everything into a wasteland. The traumatized inhabitants, had to start from scratch.
I came down from the airport, thinking and with respect. The baroque Frauenkirche which collapsed after the bombing stands now with pride and challenging. The last rays of the afternoon lighten the beautiful temple and the baroque facades. Street musicians were playing Vivaldi, and the bells of the church were tolling making the moment a peacefull one. Dresden is back, and it will take revange recovering part of the beauty that it was stollen.
The city has been re-inventing itself for seventy years. After the war, they tried to build a socialist and “modern” city.
The result was a bit shabby. The people of Dresden have never felt in love with the new soviet city. They wanted to find their way. This identity schizophrenia, seems to have ended. Euro, reunification, and the city is in a middle of a feverish city-planning, that makes it to be a huge architectonic experiment.
I start wandering around in the oldtown . When the Germans do something, they do it in a big way. The Soviets, decided that the bourgeois architecture couldn’t be rebuilt. “It was too decadent “.
There pulled down dozens of churches, palaces, and they almost dared to dynamite the Zwinger as they had done with the Berlín Royal Palace). The beautiful mediaeval old town became a grass land, where sheep graze by the ruins of the FrauenKirche. The baroque impressive chuch was erected in the 18th century, and again in 2006, as a powerful desire of the people to overcome the past conflict. Next to the church and framing the temple, eight blocks, are being built again as they were in the past. Old houses, mediaeval palaces, makes the project of the Neuemarkt reconstruction the most ambitious in history. It should be finished in 2020
The determination of the people of Dresden, with their protest, kept bulldozers away from what was left and pushed for a wonderful reconstruction. The historic area, behind the Frauenkirche, although small and compact, is splendid.
Semper Opera, the catholic cathedral Hofkirche and Elector Zwinger palace were rebuilt by East Germany, and the big Residenzschloss palace, along with several palaces by the Elb after the fall of the wall. The big mural of the parade of the princes, Fürstenzug has been cleaned, and it is great.
It’s perhaps our first contact with Dresden. Get a two days card to get free access to the city museums (they may be expensive) and unlimited travel in the city transport system.