Dresden is a wonderful place to be

Dresden Travel Blog

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Corner of the buildings connected to the Opera seen from Terassenufer

Dresden lies on both banks of the river Elbe, mostly in the Dresden Elbe Valley Basin, with the further reaches of the eastern Ore Mountains to the south, the steep slope of the Lusatian granitic crust to the north, and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to the east at an altitude of about 113 meters. The highest point of Dresden is about 384 meters in altitude.

With a pleasant location and a mild climate on the Elbe, as well as Baroque-style architecture and numerous world-renowned museums and art collections, Dresden has been called "Elbflorenz" (Florence of the Elbe).

Taken at Theaterplatz
The incorporation of neighboring rural communities over the past 60 years has made Dresden the fourth largest urban district in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne.

Dresden claims to be one of the greenest cities in Europe, with 63% of the city being green areas and forests. The Dresdner Heide to the north is a forest 50 km² in size. There are four nature reserves. The additional Special Conservation Areas cover 18 km². The protected gardens, parkways, parks and old graveyards host 110 natural monuments in the city. The Dresden Elbe Valley is a world heritage site which is focused on the conservation of the cultural landscape in Dresden. One important part of that landscape is the Elbe meadows which cross the city, 20 kilometers long.

Being the capital of a state, it also had garrisons and military industry during the Second World War.

Excavation showing the old Dresden. Schlossstrasse
None of all these garrisons’ military sites had ever been targeted on 13th February 1945 by the Allies. Therefore, the bombing of Dresden by the Royal Air Force and by the United States Air Force between February 13 and February 15, 1945, remains one of the more controversial Allied actions of the Western European Theater of war.

The inner city of Dresden was completely destroyed during what later proved to be the final weeks of war in Europe. While the inhabited city center was literally wiped out, larger outlying villa and industrial areas outside the city center suffered little, relatively speaking. Some of the Allies described the operation as the justified bombing of a military and industrial target[18] whilst others say it was "Terror", like British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (in his famous memorandum in which he tried to distance himself from the attack he had ordered himself).

The clouds were wonderful that day and the reflections as well. This picture is taken at Jüdenhof

 

Several researchers have argued that the February attacks were disproportional. Dresden was attacked seven times between 1944 and 1945. It was completely captured by the Red Army after German capitulation.

After the Second World War, Dresden became a major industrial center in the German Democratic Republic with a great deal of research infrastructure. Many important historic buildings were rebuilt including the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger Palace and a great many other historic buildings, although the city leaders chose to reconstruct large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons but also in order to break away from the city's past as the royal capital of Saxony and a stronghold of the German bourgeoisie.

Miss Gold checking her wings
However, some of the bombed-out ruins of churches, royal buildings and palaces, such as the Gothic Sophienkirche, the Alberttheater and the Wackerbarth-Palais were razed by the Soviet and East German authorities in the 1950s and 1960s instead of being repaired. Compared to West Germany, the majority of historic buildings were saved.

From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Vladimir Putinin Dresden. On 3 October 1989 (the so-called "battle of Dresden"), a convoy of trains carrying East German refugees from Prague passed through Dresden on its way to the Federal Republic of Germany. Local activists and residents joined in the growing civil disobedience movement spreading across the German Democratic Republic by staging demonstrations and demanding the removal of the non-democratic government.

Dresden has experienced dramatic changes since the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s.

Töpferstrasse toward Am Der Frauenkirche
The city still bears many wounds from the bombing raids of 1945, but it has undergone significant reconstruction in recent decades. Restoration of the Dresden Frauenkirche was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden's 800th anniversary. The urban renewal process, which includes the reconstruction of the area around the Neumarkt square on which the Frauenkirche is situated, will continue for many decades, but public and government interest remains high, and there are numerous large projects underway — both historic reconstructions and modern plans — that will continue the city's recent architectural renaissance.

Dresden remains a major cultural center of historical memory, owing to the city's destruction in World War II. Each year on 13 February, the anniversary of the British and American fire-bombing raid that destroyed most of the city, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather to commemorate the event.

Neumarkt
Since reunification, the ceremony has taken on a more neutral and pacifist tone (after being used more politically in Cold War times). In recent years, however, white power skinheads have tried to use the event for their own political ends. In 2005, Dresden was host to the largest Neo-Nazi demonstration in the post-war history of Germany. Between five and eight thousand Neo-Nazis took part, mourning what they call the "Allied bomb-holocaust".

In 2002 torrential rains caused the Elbe to flood 9 m above its normal height, i.e. even higher than the old record height from 1845, damaging many landmarks. The destruction from this "millennium flood" is no longer visible, due to the speed of reconstruction.

The United Nations cultural organization UNESCO declared the Dresden Elbe Valley to be a World Heritage Site in 2004.

The most famous symbol of reconstruction in the city centre is the Dresden Frauenkirche Church, the magnificent baroque dome, which already today dominates the city centre.
After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city is most likely going to lose the title in July 2007 due to the construction of the Waldschlößchenbrücke. UNESCO stated in 2006 that the bridge will destroy the cultural landscape. The city council's legal moves to prevent the bridge being built failed.

Chokk says:
Thanks for all the comments and smiles
Posted on: May 17, 2008
hummingbird50 says:
Thanks for the blog. I love reading and seeing the history of all the buildings. So much over there! Great job:)
Posted on: May 17, 2008
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Corner of the buildings connected …
Corner of the buildings connected…
Taken at Theaterplatz
Taken at Theaterplatz
Excavation showing the old Dresden…
Excavation showing the old Dresde…
The clouds were wonderful that day…
The clouds were wonderful that da…
Miss Gold checking her wings
Miss Gold checking her wings
Töpferstrasse toward Am Der Fraue…
Töpferstrasse toward Am Der Frau…
Neumarkt
Neumarkt
The most famous symbol of reconstr…
The most famous symbol of reconst…
A Trabant Limo - why not!
A Trabant Limo - why not!
A busy Münzgasse
A busy Münzgasse
The most famous symbol of reconstr…
The most famous symbol of reconst…
The figures on roof of the Semper …
The figures on roof of the Semper…
Walking next to the Semper Opera H…
Walking next to the Semper Opera …
The Hofkirche was the church of th…
The Hofkirche was the church of t…
The bike for 7 persons driving aro…
The bike for 7 persons driving ar…
A bike for 7 persons
A bike for 7 persons
One fabulous street light
One fabulous street light
The Frauenkirche was erected betwe…
The Frauenkirche was erected betw…
The Hofkirche was the church of th…
The Hofkirche was the church of t…
The Frauenkirche was erected betwe…
The Frauenkirche was erected betw…
The Frauenkirche was erected betwe…
The Frauenkirche was erected betw…
Losscwitzer Brügge
Losscwitzer Brügge
Dresden
photo by: aloneinthecrowd