The beautiful Frauenkirche (“Church of our Lady”) of Dresden was build as a Lutheran Church in 1726-1743 by Georg Bähr. The most unique feature is the bell-shaped dome ("Steinerne Glocke” = Stone bell), one of the biggest rock domes North of the Alps. The dome survived Prussian artillery fire in 1760 and also – initially – the bombing of Dresden in 1945 before it succumbed to the heat created by the firestorm . In the GDR (Eastern Germany) the ruin served as a memorial against war, but became also a gathering place for the (in-official) peace movement.
The reconstruction of the Church of our Lady in Dresden after reunification in 1994-2005 is a shining example of the re-conciliating of former warring enemies. It was largely financed through private fundraising, and prominent figures in an numerous countries played a leading role. The gilded orb and cross on top of the dome was forged by the London goldsmith Alan Smith, whose father, had participated in the bombing as airman in WW2. It was on display in Coventry Cathedral (a town twinned with Dresden which had suffered a similar fate in WW2), Liverpool Cathedral, St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, St Pauls Cathedral in London, and was ceromonially handed over by the Duke of Kent before it found its final place. Very visible and remarkable on the facade is the mosaic of old (dark) stones from the original ruin and of new sandstone.
Shall there never be war in Europe again and shall mankind leave the constraints of nationalism and militarism.
See also the daylight picture in the set “Architecture”
For more detailed information:
Featured in FOCUS and LIGHTING 16/05/2010
Featured in “A Building somewhere…” 30/03/2012