The first sunny day since our arrival luckily coincided with our trip to Dresden.
Our friend's dad used to be a teacher, so he has the history of the place down pat, thus he was our tour guide for the day.
Dresden was bombed to smithereens by the English, not long before the end of the Second World War. More details on this with particular images.
Dresden is now a shopping destination in the area, but back in they days of East Germany it only had 1 shopping centre, for a population of 500,000!!
This facade is from Eastern German times. After re-unification, it was taken off the old building, a new shopping centre built, and then the facade was re-applied.
A building lining the main market square, re-built after WWII in the baroque style.
The main market square.
Some original tiled artwork. A style typical of, and very popular in Communist societies.
The Frauenkirche of Dresden. (Our Lady Church. This is to Dresden what Notre Dame is to Paris.)
As the rest of Dresden, this church was completely destroyed in the Allied attacks. After the war the rubble was left as is; for one, it should be a constant reminder of the terrors of the war; secondly, there was no money to rebuild. That is, until after reunification.
I ninja-photographed an old photo a tour guide was holding up to demonstrate the extent of the destruction:
What a beauitful facade! Unfortunately the English Wikipage is lacking a lot of interesting info that's on the German one. (way too long to summarize) Just one tidbit that I found interesting. The original cross on the cupola was found during reconstruction, but it was too damaged to re-use. The new cross was made by the son of one of the English pilots who bombed Dresden. It was paid for by donations to the UK-based "Dresden Trust", chaired by The Duke of Kent. On the 55th anniversary of the destruction of the church the duke presented the cross to the city of Dresden, where it was exhibited until it could be installed. This happened on 22nd June 2004, and the cross is now seen as a symbol of the reconciliation between the UK and Germany.
We didn't go inside main body of the church - the line was way too long, and later on it was closed, possibly for a service?
We did, however, climb into the dome at the top.
The beautiful views of Dresden and beyond from outside the dome, in all 4 directions and down into the city, and square at the front of the Frauenkirche:
A statue of Martin Luther outside the Frauenkirche. If one is to believe TV-show "The Tudors" (apparently not so historically accurate, but totally worth watching, I think! Season 4 has just begun!), he created many a headache for King Henry VIII.
We had a very yummy (traditional Saxonian) lunch at a cute restaurant right in the square, which was tram-themed with lots of signage. The waiters were dressed as tram-drivers, with their little hats. There was even an old tram carriage right in the middle of the restaurant, with tables inside. Too cute!
More sightseeing after lunch. Although most of the city was destroyed, this wall miraculously survived unharmed. It was built from 1872-1876 and pictures the blue-blooded sovereigns that ruled over Saxonia. All on 20cm squared tiles. Link to German Wiki page for full image.
A statue, with the Hofkirche (church for the heads of state, literally "Court Church") in the background.
An old German post box. These haven't been around for jonx!
A young boy playing violin on the Brühl'sche Terrassen. Loads of trees on a terrace overlooking the Elbe river.
View from the terraces into an alleyway, leading back to the Frauenkirche.
Pedestrian street lights - they are like this everywhere in Dresden, and I think everywhere in former East Germany, although I can't confirm this at the moment. A little girl version, and a little boy version. On bigger intersections they are used next to each other. Too cute!
English wiki page is quite extensive. (I know, I've linked to wiki twice in one post, but there is so much history, it's hard to summarise for a blog.)
We then jumped into the car and drove to what is (I believe, erroneously) referred to as the "Artist's Quarter". Hmm..
I really wanted to go, I thought something along the lines of Montmatre in Paris (which is quite commercial these days, anyway), but no. I really didn't like what was being sold - it was more like junk sales. :(
If you're ever in Dresden, you can skip this. Seriously, save yourself the time!
However, there were a few interesting architectural things to photograph:
Wow, what a long post! Hope you enjoyed this post; if you've got the opportunity to visit this gorgeous city, definitely do! I would recommend a tour guide, there is so much to look at and it's always better to know context.