Dresden, the capital of Saxony land, situated on Elbe River, eastern Germany, is the third-largest city in Eastern Germany. It was a historic center which was a storybook for its architecture, gardens, fountains, palaces, and other elegant pieces of art. It was known as Germany’s cultural center. The architectural style was Baroque. 

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On 13th and 14th February 1945, American cities dropped bombs on the baroque capital, Dresden which had devastating effects. This bombing destroyed the historical, social, and cultural buildings. The architectural legacy was obliterated. 

The city which was once called “Florence on the Elbe”, became an axiom for havoc. The Semper Opera house, Zwinger which was a Baroque structure that housed splendid art, became a pile of debris and remained such for decades. The Church of our lady which was a distinctive landmark burned for two days and then collapsed into a heap of charred stones. 

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Restoration and recreation of the city, to restore it in its former glory, started in 1951. After the end of world war two, the Dresden survivors began rebuilding and cleaning the city. The “Trummmer Frauen” were a group of women who were a big part of the reconstruction of the destroyed city. 

It was due to the War that the population of men significantly declined, which resulted in being the population of women 7 billion more than men. These women took the reins and freed cities from debris. Almost 492 men and 580 women helped out in disposal operations.

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The Semper Opera house, Zwinger Palace, Frauenkirche Church were some of the city’s important historic buildings which were rebuilt. The larger areas of the city were rebuilt in socialist modern style to break away from the city’s past and economic reasons. 

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The heart of Dresden is still a cluster of Baroque style. The Opera house and Zwinger palace were reconstructed to look exactly like they were before the war took place. 

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The main square which is also home to the statue of King John of Saxony, Theatreplatz has buildings that are reconstructed to resemble their pre-bombing facades. 

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The Zwinger Palace, located at the head of the square which was once a site of royal celebrations is now filled with three museums. Originally planned as a forecourt, it is now

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The Semper Gallery reopened in 1960. It houses Renaissance and Baroque paintings. The Japanese Place, now rebuilt, is a museum of anthropology and ergonomics. 

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Frauenkirche is also known as the Church of our lady is the symbol and soul of the city. After the dreadful bombing, it was left a pile of rubble which eventually turned into a peace monument. It took over a decade and a fortune of 100 million euros to be rebuilt and reopened in 2005. 

The inside which is the circular nave is welcoming, poignant, and bright, It features a twisted old cross that fell from a height of 300 feet and was burnt in the bombings. Restored from debris in 1993, it now stands at the same place it was found and is intact. This cross symbolizes the themes of the church that are rebirth, faith, and resolution. 

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Neumarkt was once a central square that was ringed by rich merchant’s homes, which have now been rebuilt and resemble the façade of the original structure. The area is now alive with bustling cafes. The Martin Luther statue holding himself translated bible is an admonition of the reformation which took place in Wittenberg.  

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The New Town, Neustadt was not affected by the bombings and hence has retained its prewar character. This area is now emerging as people’s lively zone that’s best after dark and sets the tempo for Dresden’s nightlife. 

A city with great traditions and music, Dresden had The Opera House which was destroyed in the war but later, reconstructed. A music college, college of medicine, teachers’ training, academy of art is also there. 

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Dresden is a dominant center for educational and research work, mainly focused on the atomic field. The Central Institute of Nuclear physics and the German Museum of hygiene is internationally known for the manufacture of transparent plastic anatomical models. The Grosse Garten has botanical and zoological gardens.

The Royal Apartments at the Residential palace reopened after 300 years. The apartments were decided to be restored in 1997 but the actual reconstruction began in 2016. The estimated cost was $350 million. 

The artifacts that managed to survive the bombings were returned to the reconstructed apartments, which included silver furniture, 28 paintings, and the porcelain collection.  These were recreated from the ground up. Drawings, sketchings, and photographs were relied on. The ceiling paintings were preserved by Adolf Hitler. 

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Dresden now is rebuilt and is full of life. This city is wide and open for visitors. The streets portray the city’s highs and lows but show an era of cultural rebirth. Dresden is now in its prime.

Author

Snehal is an ardent architecture student who is always willing to try new things. She believes in being diligent in her work and has introduced herself to a plethora of hobbies. She believes that writing and architecture are art forms that have a beauty that extends beyond their face value.

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