One of the sweetest times I’ve started having this year is long walks with my friend Carol.We meet at Eagle Lake and walk, talk, pray, and laugh. We are also known to dream and cry. Each spot on this walk has a different dream, a different prayer attached with it. We wonder about the wandering, whisper heartaches, celebrate triumphs. We ask What’s Next? These walks are good for my soul.
The “Frauenkirche” (Church of Our Lady) was first built in 1726-43 by George Bähr. After the bombing of Dresden in 1945, the heat was so great the sandstone church succumbed and was destroyed. The church was left in ruins for 45 years as a memorial and reminder of the war. Rebuilding was started in 1994 and the outside of the church was completed in 2004, consecrated in October 2005 once the inside was complete, and reopened.The dark color of the old stones mingled with the different sized and lighter stones from the re-building resemble old scars of healed wounds, a mosaic of past and present. They also speak of overcoming hostility and hope and reconciliation. The motto of the building project is “Building bridges, living reconciliation, strengthening faith”.I love how people from other countries came together to help rebuild this church, making it a symbol of reconciliation between former enemies.Oh, the splendor of the Frauenkirche in Dresden! The sheer size of this church is alone amazing! The main sanctuary was closed for Mass when we first arrived, so we trekked to the top to get a bird’s eye view of Dresden.From here we were also able to see the old city ruins, which are being built over so the fences block viewing from street level. I think it would have been fun to walk through there. Some of the ruins are already filled in.From our perch we saw the Cathedral and Hausmannsturm in the distance. We later walked past the Cathedral and Palace it is connected to.We also saw City Hall and the Driekönigskirche. We later ate at a little Mexican restaurant named Don Pancho right outside the Driekönigskirche, which was quite the experience! I never thought I’d eat authentic Mexican in Germany! The woman who owns the restaurant imports her spices from Mexico. It is a place to stop if you are ever in Dresden!The Augustusbrücke is the oldest bridge in Dresden, built in 1727 by Augustus II the Strong of Poland and rebuilt in 1907. Further back is the Marienbrücke.Janet is a very good tour guide. Not even her fear of heights kept her from taking us here! The heights are quite dizzy-ing, so I appreciated that Janet took us up and went out on the viewing platform. And she didn’t die! Neither did I. Or Erika. We could see pretty far, even with the fog.The top half of the climb is narrow, winding hallways like this. We were lucky to be able to miss the steps going up by taking the elevator! Seeing into the center of the church, and out the windows, made the walk more interesting.After spending a long time at the viewing platform, 25-ish stories up, we headed back down to see the incredible nave and down to the depths of the Frauenkirche too see the historical displays. Looking from the ground floor up through the many levels of the Frauenkirche to the viewing platform. The ceiling paintings were originally painted by Giovanni Battista Grone of Venice between May and November of 1734. The paintings (and door carvings!) were painstakingly recreated based of old wedding photos and church plans that survived the war.There are original plans on display from 1726, which is how architects determined were each stone should be placed from its place in the rubble based on the stone’s medallion. The altar is glorious in size and detail. Carved from sandstone in 1738 by Johann Christian Feige, it was pieced together after WWII from more than 2,000 fragments. There are 4,876 pipes, and only a small portion are visible The smallest one is less than one centimeter and the largest one is over 5 meters. The altar shows Christ praying alone in Gethsemane with his sleeping disciples and the soldiers approaching to arrest him. A sermon unfolds in the sweeping altar with the message of God’s mercy.
The day we spent in Dresden was partly cloudy and just the right temperature. We took the train in so we wouldn’t have to keep track of the car, or time! We got off the train and took a long walk through Prager Straße.
In shame and sorrow
Remember Christians the Jewish people of this city.
In 1933, 4675 Jews lived in Dresden. 1945 there were 70.
We were silent, as their church burned, deprived of the right of citizenship as Jews, they were expelled and murdered. We did not recognize in them our brothers and sisters.
We ask for forgiveness and Shalom.
Our first stop was at Kreuzkirche (Cross Church), first built around 1168 and was dedicated to Saint Nicholas. It has been through many re-buildings, fires, and renovations from 1401 to 1945. It re-opened in1955 in its current form.
Dresden is a beautiful city built along the Elbe river. Dresden has a wealth of cultural and art treasures and was the residence of sovereigns and kings starting in 1425. Although it was badly destroyed in the Dresden Bombing of 1945, it has been rebuilt and is a splendor to view. We spent some time in Dresden’s Frauenkirche, which I’ll post more about next week. There is entirely too much to see in Dresden in just one day, but we did a fair amount of wandering around and enjoying the views of Elbe, walking through Theatreplatz, seeing König Johann’s statue, the Hofkirche and Royal Palace (Residenzschloss), Semperoper (Semper Opera House), Goldener Reiter, Albertinum, Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, Brühlsche Terrassen…this list would be very long if I listed everything we saw!
This feels like forever ago. I found these photos left on my camera while I was in Germany, and they were already a few months old! Now they are even older, and we are deep into fall so I want to remember spring for a day!