Heavily destroyed by the WWII bombardments, Dresden is restoring its former glory little by little
It was a turn of destiny that on our way to Berlin we decided to stop for a while in Dresden. Actually trying to avoid a stau( traffic jam) on the highway we took another road which changed our route completely. so willy-nilly we had to pass through Dresden.
Getting closer to it, I remembered that it was almost completely destroyed during WWII. In 1945 massive bombing raids in which incendiary bombs were used, transformed the city into a pile of rubble. Up to 25000 people lost their lives. The fires and the high temperatures that reached 1000 degrees transformed Dresden in a real pit of hell.
I was astounded. I had no expectation and what I was seeing truly amazed me.
Crossed the river Elbe reaching the Altstadt( Old City) and I could not believe how this city was greeting me with all its panache.
During the history, the fire seemed to mark crucial transformations to this city. Dresden rose from the ashes of fires of the 15th and 16th century even more beautiful than before. Passed through the Seven Years`War losing only the fortifications. During Napoleon`s Campaign, Dresden was his centre of military operations. He defeated outside the city the armies of Prussians, Austrians and Russians.
Before WWII, Dresden was named The Florence on the Elbe being considerate one of world`s most beautiful cities. Its baroque architecture so rich in details and numerous art treasures were giving the city the good name.
But little was left after WWII. The impressive palaces and doms which can be seen on the south bank of Elbe river were rebuilt after their original plans after the war.
The Altstadt is majestic and somehow seemed to dissipate the wounds of war letting in the glamour which breaths out in every dome or window.
Probably the most emblematic is the statue of Pheme/Fema on top of the glass dome. The gilded winged statue it is trumpeting the glory of the reborn city. According to Greek mythology, the Pheme is the personification of fame but in the same time, she can become a tremendous gossip.
Like a living body, Dresden regenerate itself. In 2004 they finished the reconstruction of Frauenkirche destroyed in 1945. With a large dome named the Stone Bell is comparable with Michelangelo`s dome for Saint Peter Basilica in Rome. Eight sandstone pillars were sustaining the construction and were still standing after two days of bombardments offering shelter. When the outside temperatures reached 1000 degrees the pillars become red and the entire structure collapsed. For 50 years the ruins were kept as a monument against war.
After the 1990s a reconstruction project was started, so in 2004 after 180 million dollars spent a newly reconstruct Frauenkirche has risen again.
Dresden is about humanity, arts, beauty and hope. It is a reminding of what devastation war can bring. It is a city of the present but also a city of the past.
I learned a lesson and I watched the sun brightening up the glass domes as it was going down to set. I was thinking that I wasn`t very enthusiastic about the idea of visiting Germany and now, I am so glad I did it. I wish I could have stayed more, but, the road was calling me again, It was time to continue my journey to Berlin.