The Evangelic-Lutheran Kreuzkirche is the main parish church of Dresden. First mentioned around 1200 it was built and destroyed a couple of times in the last centuries. The facades as we see them nowadays date back to the late 18th century. After a fire in 1897 the interior was redesigned in Art Nouveau style. The structure of the church survived the bombing in 1945, but the fire destroyed the interior. After the war the decision was made to not restore the interior in original style. Instead the plan was to show the scars of the war - a raw plaster covers the walls and huge pillars, the few remaining sandstone embossments were left damaged, only the lower parts of the altar are intact. Miraculously the altar painting survived the fire, only the colours darkened. This unusual restoration gave the church a very special, moving, noble atmosphere.
I like this church a lot, even more than the rebuilt Frauenkirche. I use to go there often, attend church services and so. As the church is also the home of the famous boys choir called "Kreuzchor" the services and concerts held in the church are special. Christmas Eve without attending the Christvesper there is out of the question for example. Or think of the Striezelmarkt - the opening service takes place in the Kreuzkirche.
The Kreuzkirche played a similar role in the peaceful revolution in 1989 as the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig did. Church groups demanded "Make peace without weapons" and "Swords to Ploughshares". The Kreuzkirche provided shelter for opponents of the communist regime etc.
Eventually I made it to the city centre of the Old Town!
One of my first sights, was Dresden's first church, the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) that was built in 1215. The church was re-consecrated in 1388 as the Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross) after the marriage of "Henry the Illustrious," whose wife brought a relic of the Holy Cross to Dresden.
A 92 metre high tower was added to the church between 1579 and 1584. It is open to the public and has a balcony from which there are good views over Dresden.
The church has a history of being burnt to the ground, not once, but 5 times!
In 1760, the Church was heavily damaged by the Prussian Army during the "Siege of Dresden." Rebuilding the Church in Neo- classicist style began in 1764 and took till 1792 before the Parisioners could return. The Tower which happened to survive, collapsed five years later during reconstruction work.
WWII, and disaster struck again! Once again, reconstruction was needed, this time work began quite soon afterwards [1946,] taking until 1955 to complete.
INSIDE THE CHURCH.
I ventured inside and found a massive emptiness, a very high ceiling, but it was so plain and a dull looking grey. I read it was left this way on purpose. The Altar was lovely, as was the Organ. The sheer size was impressive!
I also walked around the whole of the Church and found the door in my photo which was very nicely decorated.
You could be in for a treat if your here on a Saturday afternoon, when the Kreuzkirche Boy’s Choir, one of the best in Europe, is performing.
VISIT TO THE TOWER
Admission: €2 (€1 w/ the Dresden Card)
Tower Hours: May-Oct: Mon-Sat, 10am-5:30pm (Sun open at noon)
Nov-Mar: Mon-Sat, 10am-3:30pm (Sun open at noon)
April: Mon-Sat ,10am-4:30pm (Sun open at noon)
On a beautiful day you have splendid views from the 92 metre high bell tower of Kreuzkirche. The staircase into the tower starts in a huge hallway which rather reminds you of a university or palace of justice than a church.
Do not forget a city map, so you can identify all the many towers and other interesting buildings which poke into the sky. The river is the Elbe… ;-)
April – Nov: Mon – Sat 10am – 5.30pm, Sun 12noon – 5.30pm
Jan – March: Mon – Sat 10am – 3.30pm, Sun 12noon – 3.30pm
December: Mon – Sat 10am – 7.30pm, Sun 12noon – 7.30pm
Admission 2 Euro
Check out my General Tip for more towers you can climb in Dresden.
Photo 2 shows the tower of Kreuzkirche.
This unique church is located at Altmarkt (Old Market).
It is so very different to to the colourful Italian splendour of Frauenkirche, for example.
The only thing that survived the war bombs was an altar painting. What you see today was originally planned to be an interium solution. But now they have kept the rough-cast walls because it underlines the serenity of the big hall.
The first impression is that you are in a medieval church. But having a closer look you notice the type of curved balconies you can also see in Frauenkirche, just bare of any colour or ornaments. So absolutely not what you would expect of any kind of a Baroque church.
The church dates back to the 12th century and then was dedicated to St. Claus (Nikolaus). Earl Markgraf Heinrich der Erlauchte donated a splint from the Holy Cross which is Habsburgian wife Constanze had brought into the marriage. For this relic a chapel – the Cross Chapel – was built in 1235. The church was later named after this chapel.
The church was destroyed in the big fire of 1491. The basilica was replaced by a Gothic hall church where Dresden’s first Lutheran service was held in 1539. Prussian King Friedrich II destroyed this church which then was replaced by a classic Baroque building.
In more modern times Kreuzkirche made headlines as a meeting place of the GDR regime’s opposition. In the late 1980s those people held Peace Prayers (Friedensgebete) in the church. This is repeated every Friday at 12noon to commemorate those peaceful demonstrations – a prayer for peace and reconciliation.
If you are interested in choral singing, go to Kreuzkirche on a Saturday evening (6pm in summer, 5pm in winter) and listen to the so called Kreuzchor.
What I found kind of strange was that one of the supervising ladies in the church raced towards me and asked me not to use my mini tripod for photographing. It was allowed to take pictures but not using a tripod. She could not answer my question why this was prohibited. It would have been okay for me, had she said tripods scratch the floor, make to much noise, or I looked like someone who wanted to print postcards and sell them on the internet and ruin their merchandising efforts… But just disallowing something and not being able to say why is a silly attitude.
On photo 2 you see the round galleries very well.
Photo 3 shows the organ.
'Altmarkt' is in Downtown of Dresden. It´s the market place where you can find the Striezelmarkt ( christmas market ) in december.
This pictures shows the Altmarkt and in the backround you can see the Kreuzkirche. Kreuzkirche is very popular for the important chor - the Kreuzchor.
On the right hand side is the new shopping-center "Altmarktgalerie" where you can exzellent go shopping and eating.
The Kreuzkirche or Holy Cross Church is the main reformed church of Dresden.
Its history started in 1206, when at his spot a small chapel was located for travelling tradesmen.
In 1215 a Basilica was built named "Nikolaikirche", after the protecting saint for the tradesmen.
In 1388 the Meißen Bishop renamed the church into Holy Cross Church (as in 1234 a spinter of the original cross was given to and stored inside the church).
In 1491 the church is destroyed by fire. A new church is built in Gothic style.
In 1539 the first Lutherian service is held in the church, now being the main reformed church of town.
In 1584 the tower is added to the church, but in 1689 is destroyed by fire and rebuilt.
In 1760 the church gets damaged during the seven year war.
In 1792 a new church is built in Baroque style; much of the outer design is still visible in the present building.
In 1897 another fire damaged the center section; the reconstruction is done in Jugenstil.
In 1945 the church is burned to the ground during the bombardments.
In 1955 the church is reopened again, but the building is restored and improved in the years after.
This church is somewhat hidden behind the main Landsstrasse. It is the fourth church to be erected on this site. It was first dedicated in 1388, and after 1491 it burned down five times. This last church reopened in 1955 is built in Baroque and Classical style mix between 1764 and 1800. It has a famed boys' choir founded in the 13th century, and the church is steeped in music with memories of Heinrich Schultz in the chapel. The interior is rough plaster that signifies the WWI devastation.
The church is to be open (not while we were there) 10-5:30PM Monday-SAturday and until 3:30 Nov-Mar, and Sunday 12-4:30PM. Entry to the 270 feet tower is 2 Euro.
The Church of the Holy Cross is situated at the south-eastern side of the Old Market. It was first erected in the the 14th century. After it had been destroyed, loosing its original baroque furnishing during the destruction in 1945, it was rebuilt in Baroque style. The 91 meters high steeple with its elegant bonnet is accessible for visitors (€1.00 only). The Church of the Holy Cross is the home of the "Kreuzchor" (a famous boy choir).
Read more about the Kreuzchor (Kreuz-Choir)
This church at the entrance of the "Alter Markt" - square has an almost cave-like interior without much ornamental design, just bare walls and ceilings. The reason is a fire in 1897 that had the church completely burn out. Quite a contrast to the splendour of the "Frauenkirche". From the tower of the church, there is an excellent view over Dresden.
Not only does the Kreuzkirche have a storied past but the very ground upon which it is built was home to the city’s first church, the Nikolaikirche built in 1215 and later reconse crated as the Kreuzkirche in 1388. It went through many incarnations from a short lived Gothic one that burned down in1492 to the first Lutheran in 1539. A ninety meter tower was built between 1579 and 1584 but that was destroyed by the Prussian bombings of 1760. It was rebuilt in its present neo-classical form between 1764 and 1792 from a design by Johann Georg Schmidt. Unfortunately, this was also partially destroyed by the WWII bombings that left much of the city in ruin. It was rebuilt by 1955 as it was not as leveled as other buildings in the city. It is noted for its acoustics, playing home to the city’s famous choir.
Named after splinters of the original cross that Jesus was crucified on, the original splinters have been destroyed in a fire. This church was under renovation when I was there and I was only allowed to stay in specified parts of the church.
Here you see the Firework from the "Unity Dresden NIght" close by the Kreuzkirche and the Altmarkt.
In Dresden are often such beautiful Fireworks on special events.