Frauenkirche, Dresden

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    Frauenkirche in 1999

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 14, 2011

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    Frauenkirche in 1999
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    For a long time the church was a reminder of the city’s painful past, its recent transformation. The charred remains of the church were left untouched by East Germany’s communist authorities to serve as a reminder of World War II.

    When I visited Dresden for the second time in 1999 reconstruction was in full strength.

    As far as possible, the church – except for its dome – was rebuilt using original material and plans, with the help of modern technology. The heap of rubble was documented and carried off stone by stone. The approximate original position of each stone could be determined from its position in the heap.
    Every usable piece was measured and catalogued. A computer imaging program that could move the stones three-dimensionally around the screen in various configurations was used to help architects find where the original stones sat and how they fit together.

    It has been reconstructed as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies.

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    Neumarkt platz

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 28, 2011

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    Neumarkt platz
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    The Neumarkt is a central and culturally significant section of the Dresden inner city.
    The Neumarkt is one of the most beautiful squares in Germany. The 95m high dome of the Frauenkirche – the central landmark of the city, which dominates the square.

    After German reunification the decision was made to restore the Neumarkt to its pre-war look.
    The completion of the reconstructed Dresden Frauenkirche in 2005 marked the first step in rebuilding the Neumarkt. Quarter I and the front section of Quarters II, III, IV and V(II) have since been completed.

    You can watch my 6 min 04 sec Video Dresden in August of 2005 out of my Youtube channel.

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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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    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 in 2002

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Frauenkirche in 2002
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    Three years later I saw the church for the third time - the building of the church was almost ready.

    Of the millions of stones used in the rebuilding, more than 8,500 original stones were salvaged from the original church and approximately 3,800 reused in the reconstruction.
    As the older stones are covered with a darker patina, due to fire damage and weathering, the difference between old and new stones will be clearly visible for a number of years after reconstruction.

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    Monument to Martin Luther

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Monument to Martin Luther
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    A bronze statue of reformer and theologian Martin Luther, which survived the bombings, has been restored and again stands in front of the church. It is the work of sculptor Adolf von Donndorf from 1885.

    You can watch my 4 min 57 sec HD Video Dresden 2009 out of my Youtube channel.

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    Frauenkirche " church of women"

    by Antji Updated Oct 23, 2004

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    september 2004

    The Frauenkirche is very popular of Dresden because it was destroyed during the second world war - on 13 th february 1945. In the last years the church will reconstructed through some old stones and new one too. The aim for the end of reconstruction should be in the next two years.

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    Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

    by Nemorino Written Oct 16, 2004

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    Frauenkirche

    Reconstruction of this church did not begin until the 1990s. It was destroyed in the firebombing of February 1945 and the ruins were left for half a century as a memorial to the victims.

    The money to pay for this massive reconstruction project has come from many different sources, including numerous private contributions from all over Germany. I know some musicians in Frankfurt who have been giving benefit concerts regularly for the last decade to raise money for the rebuilding of this church.

    From the outside it looks complete, but on the inside reconstruction continues. When I was there recently a large area around the church was fenced off as a construction site.

    VT member german_eagle lives in Dresden and makes a point of keeping us all informed on reconstruction progress.

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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 in 2009

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Frauenkirche in 2009
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    So four years later (and 14 years after the first visit) we came to see the church for the fifth time.

    Reconsecrated 60 years after being destroyed by the Allied bombings the Baroque sandstone Church of our Lady became a must again for any visitor to Dresden like it had been before the WWII.
    Today it is again the most famous part of Dresden’s skyline.

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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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    Frauenkirche-Church of our Lady

    by BruceDunning Updated Dec 10, 2011

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    Close up of the old and new stone work
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    This is a Protestant church that was the Baroque design of George Bahr and it was built between 1726-1743. An original church was on this site from the 11th century and a major monument until torn down in 1727. Its characteristic dome is called the "stone bell" due to its appearance of an inverted bell that is about 313 feet tall. It weighs 12,000 tons and is of sandstone supported by eight columns on the interior. It was shelled by 100 cannon balls in 1760 Seven Years War but little damage was done to the dome and church.
    WWI caused nearly total damage to the structure and the East wanted it left as a memorial to war and damage that it takes. After the reunification, the church undertaking was to rebuild in its authenticity. They made a catalogue and took each stone apart/down that was still standing beginning in 1994, using 8425 of the old stones and also much of the interior decor. It took until 2005 to complete this project, and today you can see the old dark colored stones compared to the new and lighter colored ones.
    Located in Neumarket area that is a plaza of shops and places to eat near Landsstrasse. It seems as though they have taken away a lot of the reverence by selling trinkets and making the church a place to come and gawk at, rather than revere the reason for the church.
    The open times are Monday-Friday 10-1 and 2-6PM. The weekends are not usually open for visitors. An information/ticket center is located across the plaza. You need a ticket to get in and at you option see a film that lasts about 15 minutes and shows 15 minutes before the hour. Entry to that is 2-4 Euro, and the guided tour to the church is 8 Euro and the tower is 8 Euro within that price--STEEP

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    Frauenkirche in 1995

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Dresden - Frauenkirche in 1995
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    The Dresden Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady is a Lutheran church and one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
    Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II.
    Though reconstruction of the church began in 1992, the impressive ruins of the Frauenkirche still rised, when I saw it for the first time in 1995.
    After the bombing in February of 1945 the ruins of the church were left standing as a reminder of the terrible destruction of the city. In 1966, the remnants were officially declared a "memorial against war", and state-controlled commemorations were held there on the anniversaries of the destruction of Dresden.

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    Frauenkirche in 2005

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 14, 2011

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    Dresden - Frauenkirche in september of 2005
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    In three years (and in ten years after my first visit) we went to see how the church looked like at that moment. That was my fourth visit to Dresden.
    We knew that the reconstruction of its exterior was completed in 2004.
    But it was still closed (in September) because the reconstruction of its interior was going on and in October of 2005 after 13 years of rebuilding, the church was reconsecrated.

    Rebuilding the church cost180 million euro. Dresdner Bank financed more than half of the reconstruction costs via a "donor certificates campaign", collecting almost 70 million euro after 1995. Over the years, thousands of watches containing tiny fragments of Church of Our Lady stone were sold, as were specially printed medals.

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