"A Symbol of War and Survival" Top 5 Page for this destination Frauenkirche - Church of Our Lady Tip by Kakapo2

  The galleries give the church a light feeling.
by Kakapo2
 
  • The galleries give the church a light feeling. - Dresden
      The galleries give the church a light feeling.
    by Kakapo2
  • The altar - and a lot of people... - Dresden
      The altar - and a lot of people...
    by Kakapo2
  • Look into the dome. - Dresden
      Look into the dome.
    by Kakapo2
 

I have never seen more visitors in a church than in Frauenkirche, ok, perhaps the Dom in Cologne. You certainly cannot enjoy the serene atmosphere and peace you normally would find inside a church, it was filled with murmur, resounding steps, permanent movement, like in a theatre shortly before the start of a performance.

The people of Dresden are hugely proud of their (protestant) Frauenkirche, and there are good reasons to share and understand this pride. The church is a symbol of international reconciliation after World War II. Built from 1726 to 1743, and called Stone Bell due to its massive Baroque dome dominating the city scape, the church was bombed and destroyed in the last days of World War II. They left the ruin more or less untouched as a memorial against war and destruction ? and partly, of course, because the GDR regime had no interest in building churches.

But after the reunification of Germany plans were developed to reconstruct the church. It took a lot of donations and eleven years to put up stone on stone again, following the original plans of the architect Georg Bähr, mostly using historic materials, like 8425 old limestone blocks, making up 45 per cent of the used materials. The pulpit includes even eighty per cent of its original materials. They call this kind of building ?archaeological reconstruction?. The total cost came to 182.6 million Euro. 60 years after its destruction the church was reopened on 30 October 2005. You just cannot visit Dresden without visiting Frauenkirche.

However, I cannot fully share the enthusiasm about this building. I think Baroque buildings are often a balancing act between grandeur and kitsch. Whereas the exterior and the proportions of Frauenkirche are magificent the interior goes over the top for me. I know that my view is that of a minority, and you do not have to share it, of course. As it is a must to visit Frauenkirche when visiting Dresden, regardless if you like this church or not, you can make up your own mind.

Somebody said I would only not like it because of the pastel colours of the columns and galleries. This is not the case ? as I absolutely loved Nikolaikirche in Leipzig. There, I thought, they got the colours perfectly right, going to the limit and not overstepping the line to kitsch. The painting job in Frauenkirche reminded me more of candyfloss, the hue just one nuance too strong - too much yellow in the green, too much red in the pink, too much yellow in the blue.

Like it or like it not - but the Italian theatre- and concert-hall-like round galleries, spread over five different levels, give the 24 metre high interior dome a magnificent lightness, and as it encloses the hall on three sides you get a feeling of perfect closeness.

If there are no special events Frauenkirche is open Mon ? Fri 10am ? 12noon and 1pm ? 6pm.
On weekends it can become difficult, due to weddings, baptisms, mass and concerts.
Audio Guides available (2,50 Euro) in German, English, French, Italian and Japanese

Centrally guided tours (the guide gives explanations from the pulpit, 50 min) after service, normally Mon ? Sat at 12am, Mon ? Wed and Fri also at 6pm, the visitors remain seated. Free but donations welcome. You must visit the service before this, I would call it: seated tour.

They also show films about Frauenkirche in the so called Rotunde once an hour, starting at a quarter to the full hour, from 9.45am to 4.45pm.

Visitor Centre open Mon ? Sat 9.30am ? 6pm

Picture 2 shows the altar, picture 3 the view up into the dome.

Address: Neumarkt
Directions: City centre
othercontact: fuehrungen(at)frauenkirche-dresd
Phone: (0351) 656 06 100
Website: http://www.frauenkirche-dresden.de/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 28, 2008
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