Dresden

This past weekend, PC and I took a quick trip to Dresden.

Dresden had been on my “visit” list for awhile.  Beautiful, lots of history, and only two hours from Berlin? Deal.

Our consciousness of Dresden derives largely from the allied fire bombing that leveled it during WWII.  Slaughterhouse Five, anyone? Of course, it also has one of the more striking silhouettes of Germany owing to an illustrious centuries long dominance of the Saxony region.  In fact, Dresden’s nickname was the “jewel box”, for its wealth, and opulent baroque and rococo architecture.

Frauenkirche

Unfortunately, most of the city was destroyed in the allied bombing, and while there are few clear statistics on the death toll (stat manipulation by nazis, commies and allies), approximately 25,000 seems to be the horrific sum.

Maybe the most recognizable symbol of the city is the Frauenkirche.  Toppled in the bombing, the Protestant church was painstakingly put back together using as many of its original stones as possible. The original stones are darker in color, and it’s fascinating to walk around and admire this massive puzzle. Horrible and fascinating.  There are few exhibits, few plaques, frankly almost no mention of the allied bombing.  I guess no matter how terrible an event you suffer, if you’re the aggressor in war, you don’t get to play the victim.

The city has been returned to some of its former glory, and the streets are chock full of breathtaking Baroque buildings, and gorgeous reminders of its influential past.

Prince’s Procession

We made a visit to the Zwinger Palace for a look at Raphael’s Sistine Madonna.   Although the Zwinger is filled with works of the likes of Vermeer and Titian, we decided to narrow our focus the large exhibit on the Madonna.  It’s one of those arresting paintings which seems to become more alive the more you stare at it.

The legends and facts about the creation, acquisition, and survival of the painting are remarkable.   Plus, I had never realized how those two little cherubs, who’ve been pasted onto everything from toilet paper to postcards, ever came into being.

The next day, we walked through the city ending up at the Pfund dairy.  It’s the fanciest damn cheese shop I’ve ever seen.

Baroque Dairy

Continuing with the whole odd and unique direction our day had taken, we stopped for a visit to the German Hygiene Museum.  Yeah, hygiene.

Ok really it was more of a “learn about the human body and its processes” museum.  Most interesting was the extensive sexuality wing, which had all manner of hilarious and embarrassing information.  It even had a thermal imaging camera which encouraged you to kiss in front of it to get a picture of the heat you generate.

I guess we didn’t generate too much heat…hey, you try to kiss in the most awkward exhibit of the HYGIENE museum.  Tell me how that goes.

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4 thoughts on “Dresden

  1. Ah, I love how you write about all the historical stuff! So much more interesting than…anything else :).

    I must go to that cheese shop. It has to happen. Someday.

  2. On June 25, 1992 we (Trevor,Marc,Luke,Paul and I ) visited Dresden as part of our
    camping adventure through Europe. The Frauen kirche and the Prince’s Procession were renovated but 20 years ago there was still more rubble than buildings!
    Paul was 6 years old and Marc and Luke were 9, I wonder if they remember visiting
    Dresden.I wrote in my diary that we loved our visit and that it was nice and quiet since all the traffic was directed away from the city center.(it was a balmy 28’C)
    Love the story of the 2 gorgeous Cherubs Erin.

  3. It’s amazing what has been rebuilt in Germany. My boss’es parents were in Germany during the war. They lived outside one of the bombed cities, and said they would see the sky fill with 800 bombers. There were places in Dresden where you could stand in the street, do a 360, & have nothing block your view for a mile.

  4. So much to comment on. Fire bombing deaths, rebuilt miracles, admiring cherubs, river side beauty, a cheese shop Monty Python would die for, cool green passionate “hygiene”, and classic European architecture! As Cogsworth said, “If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!” Sorry – couldn’t stop myself 🙂

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