On this date, 60 years ago, the German city and capital of The Free State of Saxony, Dresden, was firebombed by British and American aircraft. The resulting devastation left one third of the population dead and over seventy-five percent of the city destroyed; essentially reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to little more than smoldering ash and brick.
Today, the skyline of Dresden has almost returned to its former glory. The city commemorated the event with 50,000 people lighting candles in an evening rally in memory of victims. The events centered around the Frauenkirche- the Church of Our Lady- which was almost completely destroyed in the raid and has acted as not only the symbol of the city, but also the signifier of tragedy. The decision to rebuild the church was controversial because for many, the remains of the Fraunekirche were a memorial more powerful than anything that an artist or architect could ever hope to design.
Dresden truly is an incredible city. With Baroque theatres and palaces by Gottfried Semper & others, Government offices in a Socialist 1960’s and 70’s style, and new buildings by Coop Himmelblau and Norman Foster, the architecture of Dresden is incredibly rich and diverse. I’ve spent two of the best weeks of my life in Dresden and recommend it as a must-visit to anyone travelling through Germany.