Frauenkirche, Dresden

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    Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

    by german_eagle Updated Dec 19, 2010

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    Without any doubt it is one of the most important buildings of Dresden - both architecture and spirit wise - for Dresden.

    It was built in early 18th century (architect George Bähr) in Baroque style. It was one of Germany's - if not Europe's - most important protestant churches and had the hugest cupola made completely of (sand)stone north of the Alps (height 95 m). In 1945 it was destroyed in the air raid (it burnt out and sank down two days later). The ruins were a memorial for the victims of the air raid and WWII in general.

    After the wall came down the idea came up to rebuild the church. Donations from all over the world made it possible to collect enough money to make this dream come true. The re-consecration took place 2005, Oct 30.

    The church is open for visitors every day (free, little donation welcome) except when services, concerts or rehearsals are going on. To enjoy the view from the cupola's top you have to pay 8 Euro (seniors 5). Services at noon and at 6 pm almost daily, usually with organ play. Very often first rate concerts take place in the Frauenkirche - have been to many and was rarely disappointed (note that the acoustics are tricky - the church was built for Baroque music, of course, and romantic era music for big orchestra might come out as less than optimal if the conductor isn't up to the task).

    Highlights of the interior are the stunning altar by Johann Christian Feige (mostly original, only few pieces had to be replaced), the frescos at the ceiling (originally by Giovanni Battista Grone, Italy, and re-painted by Prof. Wetzel, Dresden). The organ is an amazing masterpiece by Daniel Kern and his workshop (Strasbourg), in the tradition of Gottfried Silbermann, who had built the original organ (destroyed). And ... simply take in the ambience, the architecture, listen to the organ ...

    Don't miss to go down to the underchurch - room of silence - where you can see original pieces of gravestones found during the reconstruction. Also, you can see the epitaph of the architect George Bähr, a beautiful modern/new altar and the list of donators who made the reconstruction possible.

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    Frauenkirche

    by pieter_jan_v Written Jun 28, 2010

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    Frauenkirche - Dresden
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    The Frauenkirche was build in the period between 1726 and 1743 under management of Baumeisters George Bähr.

    The church was one of the best European examples of Barock style churches.

    For 200 year the building dominated the Altstadt of Dresden.

    In World War II the church was completely destroyed and it lasted till October 30, 2005 to restore the building to its former beauty.

    Nowadays millions of visitor come to see this beautiful church, admire its inner architecture and climb the tower.

    Open to visitors:
    Mo-Sa: 9.30AM - 6PM (closed during religeous services)

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    Frauenkirche

    by nepalgoods Updated Jan 9, 2010

    There is still a lot of rebuilding going on. But the old city center with its baroque palaces and churches is almost complete now. Most visited is the Frauenkirche, which has been a baroquean church. If you now see this building just remember, it is not the original church but was rebuilt with a lot of effort after reunification. Only the black stones in the walls are original stones of pre-war times.

    During the weeks of christmas-markets you should avoid the masses visiting the church. Long queues snake their way through the markets and the church is so full, that there is no way to enjoy the overwhelming architecture or to light a candle.

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    Frauenkirche construction site

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 16, 2008

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    1. Frauenkirche construction site 2004
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    If you enlarge this photo of the Frauenkirche you can see that they have used a few of the original darkened stones in the reconstruction, along with a lot of new lighter-colored ones.

    I took this first photo in September 2004.

    Second photo: Four years later, in 2008, construction had been finished, the fences cleared away and the square was again open to the public, with a statue of Martin Luther in front of the church.

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    Frauenkirche: Climbing The Dome

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 9, 2008

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    Inside the Frauenkirche dome
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    Climbing the dome of the Frauenkirche is a great way of both experiencing the architecture and construction of the building and enjoying the view from the top. The climb is comparatively easy. A lift takes you halfway up to the beginning of the dome, then you walk up a ramp most of the way. There are, however, still some stairs to cover so it's not suitable for disabled people. The way down is not by lift but stairs.

    Warning: The entrance fee is 8 €, which is definitely overpriced compared to the other towers in the old town which can be climbed for a fee in the range of 2.50-3.50 €.

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    Rebuilding Of The Neumarkt

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 8, 2008

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    'Baroque' house under construction
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    The whole old city centre of Dresden was flattened during the air raid of February 1945. The quarter around the former Neumarkt remained empty during GDR times. The pile of rubble that once was the Frauenkirche was left the way it was and served as a memorial against the madness of war. Only after the reunification of Germany in 1990 plans to rebuild not only the Frauenkirche but also the surrounding square became practicable. The deep wound in the heart of the city is to be concealed. Work is still in progress.

    Whatever tourist guides tell you - these buildings are NOT baroque. The 'general impression' is a fake. The general outline of the facades and some details correspondend with the destroyed originals. Anyway, behind the wallpaper facades they are new concrete buildings, erected with modern technology. So enjoy the square with a grain of salt.

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    Frauenkirche: Attending A Service

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 4, 2008

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    The Frauenkirche is overrun with crowds. Its flair is more like that of a noisy train station because many tourists don't know how to behave inside a church. There is only one way to experience the Frauenkirche as what it is, a place of worship: Attend a service (if your personal faith allows).

    A service or a concert is the only chance to get onto the galleries. From there you have the best view of the magnificent room.

    Sunday morning services usually begin at 11 a.m. Be there a bit earlier. You'll see long lines in front of the main entrance to the nave. Go for the galleries instead.
    The galleries are not accessible from the main entrance but from the two side doors in the corners, marked "Empore", where hardly anyone queues.
    The first open gallery is on the SECOND floor - see photo 2. You first reach the Betstubenempore, that's where the closed 'boxes' are. Go one stair further up to 1. Empore. I was lucky and got the best seat of all in the very centre opposite of the altar.

    Photography is strictly not allowed. By being there early, however, you have the chance to sneak some photos before the service begins. Sitting in the front row you can use the balustrade as tripod substitute. Do not use flash!!! It disturbs everyone (and betrays you). Please do not take photos during the service, respect people's devotion.

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    A Symbol of War and Survival

    by Kakapo2 Written Aug 28, 2008

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    The galleries give the church a light feeling.
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    I have never seen more visitors in a church than in Frauenkirche, ok, perhaps the Dom in Cologne. You certainly cannot enjoy the serene atmosphere and peace you normally would find inside a church, it was filled with murmur, resounding steps, permanent movement, like in a theatre shortly before the start of a performance.

    The people of Dresden are hugely proud of their (protestant) Frauenkirche, and there are good reasons to share and understand this pride. The church is a symbol of international reconciliation after World War II. Built from 1726 to 1743, and called Stone Bell due to its massive Baroque dome dominating the city scape, the church was bombed and destroyed in the last days of World War II. They left the ruin more or less untouched as a memorial against war and destruction – and partly, of course, because the GDR regime had no interest in building churches.

    But after the reunification of Germany plans were developed to reconstruct the church. It took a lot of donations and eleven years to put up stone on stone again, following the original plans of the architect Georg Bähr, mostly using historic materials, like 8425 old limestone blocks, making up 45 per cent of the used materials. The pulpit includes even eighty per cent of its original materials. They call this kind of building “archaeological reconstruction”. The total cost came to 182.6 million Euro. 60 years after its destruction the church was reopened on 30 October 2005. You just cannot visit Dresden without visiting Frauenkirche.

    However, I cannot fully share the enthusiasm about this building. I think Baroque buildings are often a balancing act between grandeur and kitsch. Whereas the exterior and the proportions of Frauenkirche are magificent the interior goes over the top for me. I know that my view is that of a minority, and you do not have to share it, of course. As it is a must to visit Frauenkirche when visiting Dresden, regardless if you like this church or not, you can make up your own mind.

    Somebody said I would only not like it because of the pastel colours of the columns and galleries. This is not the case – as I absolutely loved Nikolaikirche in Leipzig. There, I thought, they got the colours perfectly right, going to the limit and not overstepping the line to kitsch. The painting job in Frauenkirche reminded me more of candyfloss, the hue just one nuance too strong - too much yellow in the green, too much red in the pink, too much yellow in the blue.

    Like it or like it not - but the Italian theatre- and concert-hall-like round galleries, spread over five different levels, give the 24 metre high interior dome a magnificent lightness, and as it encloses the hall on three sides you get a feeling of perfect closeness.

    If there are no special events Frauenkirche is open Mon – Fri 10am – 12noon and 1pm – 6pm.
    On weekends it can become difficult, due to weddings, baptisms, mass and concerts.
    Audio Guides available (2,50 Euro) in German, English, French, Italian and Japanese

    Centrally guided tours (the guide gives explanations from the pulpit, 50 min) after service, normally Mon – Sat at 12am, Mon – Wed and Fri also at 6pm, the visitors remain seated. Free but donations welcome. You must visit the service before this, I would call it: seated tour.

    They also show films about Frauenkirche in the so called Rotunde once an hour, starting at a quarter to the full hour, from 9.45am to 4.45pm.

    Visitor Centre open Mon – Sat 9.30am – 6pm

    Picture 2 shows the altar, picture 3 the view up into the dome.

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    The Frauenkirche

    by richiecdisc Updated Jan 26, 2008

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    Frauenkirche glowing as the sun goes down
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    That the Frauenkirche has had a storied existence is an understatement. The land on which it was built and has been rebuilt has been utilized for religious purposes since the 11th century but it was not until 1726 that construction of the now familiar “stone bell’ began as designed by Dresden's master carpenter George Bähr. Work was not completed on the 95 meter baroque church until 1743 though it was consecrated nine years earlier and stood as the highest dome north of the Alps. It remained the symbol of the city until its destruction during WWII when it seemed to have inexplicably survived the city’s bombing only to crumble to ruin once the sand stone from which it was built cooled down. The ruin was left as a memorial until the Iron Curtain fell when work on its rebuilding took initiative.

    The newly rebuilt church was purposely not part of the rest of the city’s renovation after destruction as a poignant reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. But it was decided the “hole” in the city center had done its duty and that a painstaking recreation would garner even more attention than letting it remain in ruins. Completed in 2006, the Frauenkirche adds an imposing component to an already majestic skyline that is underrated in not only Germany but all of Europe. Whether this endeavor has been entirely successful is a matter of conjecture. Many consider that the general public visiting the site do not heed its thought provoking message but rather create a circus atmosphere. Hopefully, this will die down but one thing is certain with upwards of 10,000 daily visitors, it has brought in much needed Euros that should go far in helping to restore even more of the city to its historical grandeur.

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    Frauenkirche - The Soul of Dresden

    by nicolaitan Written Jan 12, 2008

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    The stated mission of the Frauenkirche today is to "build bridges, live reconciliation, and strengthen faith". The church provides religious services and hosts concerts, but is open to those of all faiths for prayer and "personal devotion". It was constructed under the aegis of August the Strong from plans by master German architect George Bahr and featured a great organ by Silberman. The most striking feature was the 100 meter plus tower called the Stone Bell, which had no internal supports and was an architectural marvel of the time. The tower survived intact the onslaughts of the Seven Years War.
    The tower initially survived the bombings of WWII but collapsed two days later as the supports melted from the intense heat, bringing the rest of the church down as well. During GDR times, the rubble remained in remembrance of the war. As time passed and the Iron Curtain weakened the marketplace around the church became the site of political gatherings as Dresden assumed a lead role in the quest for reunification. Local activists and many foreign contributors began reconstruction lasting from 1994-2006 with placement of the cupola and cross on the dome in 2004.
    The accurate rebuilding is the stuff of legends. Amazingly, both the plans of Bahr and Silberman were intact as models. Dresden residents who had taken stones in remembrance returned them and usable materials from the rubble were incorporated in the new building. With the aid of computers, many pieces were placed in their original positions. To rebuild the doors, prewar wedding party photographs were used as models. The accompanying images detail the old dark stones from the original church set into the current building, striking. The Frauenkirche is more than a church - it is a place for remembering the past.

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    Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

    by Leipzig Updated Jul 27, 2007

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    by night
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    Background:
    On February 13, 1945, several hundred bomber dropped thousands and thousaands of phosphor bombs on Dresden. The fire of them cannot be extinguished by water. The next morning, some hundred bombers pounded the city again. In this single action about 150,000 refugees were killed who had found shelter in the streets. The resulting firestorm raged for seven days.

    The church was orginally built between 1726 and 1743. Once the massive dome with its cross-topped stone lantern reached 93 m (307 ft) into the sky. Archaeologists in 1993-'94 recovered over 8,000 facade stones and about 90,000 lining bricks to be used in the reconstruction. Entire large sections survived the WWII collapse intact.

    In these days, the Frauenkirche, one of Germany's lasting reminders of the horrors of World War II is rising again. The church is to be fully restored by 2005. The cross-shaped vault of the cellar has been in use since August 1996.

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    Lutheran Cathedral

    by el_ruso Written Nov 30, 2006

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    This building actually is an exact replica, rebuilt in two years, and finished in 2006.

    Frauenkirche is the city's Lutheran cathedral, and there is his statue in its front. It is a very beautiful and elegant building, with its shape hiding its great size.

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    Steinerne Glocke

    by lina112 Written Oct 25, 2006

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    frauenkirche
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    The Frauenkirche was erected between 1726 and 1743, following the designs of George Bähr.
    Its characteristic dome, called the "stone bell" owing to its shape, collapsed on February 15th, 1945 under the rain of bombs however was reopened after the war on the 60s. For its reconstruction was used many fragments of stone of the original construction.

    La iglesia de la señora fue construida entre 1726 y 1743 por el arquitecto George Bähr. También se la conoce como la campana de piedra por su forma. Fue destruida por las bombas en Febrero de 1945 y reconstruida nuevamente después de la guerra y reabierta en los 60. Para su reconstrucción usaron fragmentos de piedra recogidos de entre los cascotes.

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    Frauenkirche interior

    by King_Golo Written Oct 4, 2006

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    Frauenkirche dome

    The Frauenkirche's outside is already fascinating, but wait until you are inside. The church interior is built in baroque style - ornaments and decorations are nearly everywhere on its pastel coloured walls. As the church is round, your first way is to go into the middle where the immense size of the inside can be seen. Look up to the dome which towers 37m above you, and which then goes on even further up to a height of 68m. On one side of the church you will come across an iron cross which looks somehow strange: It was found in the rubble of the destroyed church and has been placed here after the reopening of the Frauenkirche. The strange form is due to the enormous temperatures during the destruction - the cross simply melted.
    The inside of the Frauenkirche is used for several events through the week. Try to visit one of the organ performances inside (Mo to Sa at 12pm, Mo, We, Fr at 6pm).

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    Resurrected!

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Sep 19, 2006

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    The "Frauenkirche" has recently been rebuild to its former glory after its nearly complete destruction in World War 2. Always crowded, yet a must-see. Note that the blackened limestones are the original ones left from the rubble - the lighter coloured stone is new. You can easily see there was not much old building material left to begin with.

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