Frauenkirche (Church of the Virgin Mary) in Dresden - a baroque church rebuilt after 50 years
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Date of build
1726 - 1743
The history of the church dates back to the 11th century, when the old church stood still in the same place. At the beginning of the 18th century, the church became too small for the growing population of the faithful in Dresden, so in 1722 the city council decided to build a new and larger building.
Dresden's chief carpenter, George Bähr, designed an impressive and 91-meter tall baroque church with a 23.5-meter-long stone dome. The building is 50 meters long and 42 meters wide.
The construction of the Frauenkirche church began in 1726, and was consecrated only seven years later.
The impressive dome, which was called the "stone bell", was completed in 1738 and consists of a double shell with two shields, they form the inner and outer dome. The dome weighed 12,000 tons and supported on eight supporting pillars.
This magnificent church was completed in 1743, after which, thanks to its dome, it quickly became a world-famous symbol of the city.
The church miraculously survived the heavy bombings and fire of February 13, 1945. Unfortunately, as a result of these attacks and partial damage, two days later (February 15, 1945) the sandstone building could not stand and did not manage to hold a 12,000-tonne dome and collapsed.
In the same year, the local church began a campaign to collect donations for the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche, but these efforts were stopped shortly after the end of the war. Forty-five years later, shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the inhabitants of Dresden began a new initiative to reconstruct the most characteristic city building.
Soon after, the Saxon church and city authorities supported the initiative and in 1993 preparations for the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche began.
All remaining debris has been secured, so you can re-use many original stones. A total of 3643 stones were used for construction and can easily be identified on a newly-looking church: they have a much darker shade than new sandstones.
The circular nave is surrounded by galleries with a height of four storeys. The nave is covered with an inner dome, which is painted bright and depicts four virtues and four evangelists.
The bright altar was reconstructed in 2000, it was originally created in 1733-1739 by Johann Christian Feige and Benjamin Thomae. Baroque decorations on the altar show the figure of Christ on the mountain of olives. Above the altar there are church organs, decorated with equally rich baroque ornaments.
At the top of the dome there is an observation platform, and a ramp located between the outer and inner dome leads to it. You can admire the wonderful views of the city center and the Elbe river from here.
The Frauenkirche church was reconstructed using original plans from 1726. Colorful church paintings and artistically carved oak doors have been recreated using old wedding photographs. As a sign of reconciliation, the golden cross on top of the church was made by a British goldsmith whose father was an Allied pilot in air raids over Dresden.
On October 30, 2005, the consecration of the restored Frauenkirche church in Dresden took place.