Friday, December 16, 2011

nächtlicher Spaziergang: nighttime sightseeing

 After thoroughly amusing ourselves at the Christmas market, we continued on to see more of the old city, the baroque center of old Saxony: the Frauenkirche, the Residenzschloss, and the Semperoper. Until its destruction in WWII, Dresden was known as one of the most beautiful European cities, called "Florence on the Elbe".  Now the old city along the river has been almost completely rebuilt.

Everywhere we went we also ran into more Christmas markets. They had them everywhere in this city. Around the Frauenkirche, in the castle...This was definitely a great time of year to visit Dresden. 

The gorgeous baroque Frauenkirche (left) was almost completely destroyed in the bombing of Dresden February 13, 1945. For a long time, the pile of rubble was a memorial to the war. The reconstruction was only recently finished (2005). You can see in some of the daylight photos how they tried to re-incorporate some of the old stones, black from the firebombing.

eating some roasted chesnuts (heiße Maronen)

Elisabeth on the Brühlsche Terasse, the "balcony of Europe"
 To the left below you see part of the Residenzschloss, the neo-Renaissance palace of Saxony. I guess not a lot of this was rebuilt during East German days, but is also largely just recently rebuilt (since reunification in 1989). It's really fascinating how East Germany has this different history and how often it comes up. "Oh, here there used to be a memorial to the Soviet Army"... "Oh, this was an anti-war memorial reminding everyone of the destruction of Dresden by the West"...
from the Terrasse: the Residenzschloss and the Kathedrale (Hofkirche)
 Below you can see the Fürstenzug, a golden frieze made out of 24,000 tiles of Meissen porcelain. It shows Saxony's rulers 1123-1904. We had fun reading all their names: Otto der Reiche (Otto the Rich)... Friedrich der Strenge (Friedrich the Strict)...Georg der Bärtige (Georg the Bearded)...August...Friedrich August...Friedrich August II...
the awesome (literally) Fürstenzug

 As the protestant Frauenkirche was being built, August III had this cathedral built to be the largest in Saxony.

Cathedral (Hofkirche)

 Below is the Semperoper, the opera house. This building, too, was destroyed in the war. In the original, Richard Wagner premiered Tannhäuser and other operas. The architect (Gottfried Semper)went on to become very famous (we just recently saw another building by him in Bern, Switzerland).

 Below are a few pictures of the Zwinger...sorry we don't have better ones. It's this awesome complex of bulidings near the castle, very symmetrical and has nice fountains/gardens in the inner courtyard.
inside the Zwinger

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