Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2011

The many faces of Frauenkirche

October 30, 2005: The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche is reconsecrated. Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany which was destroyed in the fire-bombing of Germany during World War II. The church was originally built in the 11th century outside the city walls of Dresden. It was the seat of the Diocese Meissen until the Reformation when it became a Protestant church. The first church was torn down in 1727 and rebuilt to accommodate a larger congregation. The citizens paid for the new construction.

This Baroque church was built between 1726 and 1743 and was designed by Dresden’s city architect, George Bahr. He did not live to see the church finished. A three-manual, 43-stop organ was built for the new church and dedicated by Johann Sebastian Bach. The church was crowned by a 315-foot high dome called die Steineme Glock or “Stone Bell.” The stability of the sandstone dome resting on eight supports was proven when it was stuck by more than 100 cannonballs during the Seven Year’s War.

Although able to stand the Prussian assault, on February 13, 1945 the Allied Forces proved to be too much for the church. They began their bombing of Dresden on that day and did not immediately destroy the church. However, after days of dropping over 650,000 incendiary bombs on the city, the church was felled by the intense heat. The dome collapsed on February 15 at 10 AM with the pillars glowing red from the 1000 degree heat.

Reconstruction was delayed after the war due to political issues. When finally underway, the original plans of George Bahr were used. Reconstruction finally began in January 1993 under engineer Eberhard Burger’s direction. There were millions of stones used in the rebuilding and of those about 3,800 were salvaged from the wreckage of the older church. The new dome was forged in London using as many of the 18th century techniques as possible. Once a month, an Anglican Evensong in English is held at the church with clergy sent from Berlin. The Church of Our Lady is a testament to the reconciliation between two warring enemies.

“Germany’s fate is decided first and foremost in Europe. Reconciliation and cooperation in Europe have brought us freedom, peace and prosperity. Who would have dared to believe so much 50 years ago?” – Horst Koehler

“In history, the moments during which reason and reconciliation prevail are short and fleeting.” – Stefan Zweig

“Reconciliation requires changes of heart and spirit, as well as social and economic change. It requires symbolic as well as practical action.” – Malcolm Fraser

“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.” – Nhat Hanh

Also on this day:
“Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.

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