Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dresden

I traveled down to Dresden by train and arrived at a modern hotel just opposite the station. It was so new there was construction inside of the adjacent areas, and at first I thought that was the hotel and it wasn't open!! False alarm. The hotel, lovely room and service, gave me a free travel card for the trams, so on the 2nd day I got in the swing of them and found getting around in the heat more easy.
The city of Dresden is in some ways, best known for having being flattened by allied bombing at the end of WW2. It has been rebuilt, and with some treasures undamaged including the amazing F├╝rstenzug in the Augustusstrasse, at the back side of the Royals Mews, a 102 m. long mural known as the Procession of Princes, it depicts a parade of rulers of the House of Wettin since 1127. It was originally painted between 1870 and 1876 by Wilhelm Walter. When the stucco started to deteriorate it was replaced between 1906 and 1907 with almost 25,000 ceramic tiles from the porcelain manufacturer Meissen. The tiles miraculously survived the bombardments of February 1945.
The Goldener Reiter a statue of Augustus the Strong who ruled till 1733, also escaped unscathed from the allied bombardments as it had been dismantled and stored in an underground cave in Pillnitz in 1944.
The oldest part of the Royal Palace is the Georgenbau, a beautiful sandstone building in renaissance style.The inner courtyard has the most beautiful facade, recently renovated, it is decorated in white sgrafitto (a technique made by scratching through to the layer underneath) on a gray background. Stunning!!

The Zwinger means 'interspace' and originates from its location between former city fortifications. The Zwinger, with its large inner courtyard, was used for court festivities, tournaments and fireworks.It also has a beautiful a small enclosed courtyard the Nymphenbad, with a baroque fountain featuring numerous statues of nymphs and tritons.
The magnificent church, Frauenkirche boasting the largest dome north of the alps soon became a world-known symbol of the city. It seemed to miraculously survive the heavy allied bombings and subsequent fires of February 13, 1945, but on the 15th, after the building's sandstone had started to cool down, the whole building collapsed.
The reconstruction is a great symbols of world support and action. That same year the local church started a campaign to gather donations for a reconstruction of the Frauenkirche, but those efforts were halted soon after the end of the war. 45 years later, shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Dresden citizens started a new initiative aimed at reconstructing the city's most renowned building. The church of Saxony and the city of Dresden soon supported the initiative and in 1993 reconstruction of the Frauenkirche finally started.That year all the rubble was sorted and put on shelves, so that as much of the original stones could be reused. Those stones can be easily identified on the now brand new looking church: they have a much darker tone than the new sandstones. Most of the funds for the recontruction came from donations world wide. The most symbolic is the new replica of the 4,7m high steeple cross, donated by a group of British donors.
Dresden, also known for Meissen china was also a great opportunity to see several exhibitions of porcelein

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