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#1763 Dresdner Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) - Dresden (Germany)

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The "Dresdner Frauenkirche" (Church of Our Lady) is a Lutheran church in Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony.
Although the original church was Roman Catholic until it became Protestant during the Reformation, the current Baroque building was purposely built Protestant. It is considered an outstanding example of Protestant sacred architecture, featuring one of the largest domes in Europe. Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during World War II. The remaining ruins were left as a war memorial, following decisions of local East German leaders. The church was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany. The reconstruction of its exterior was completed in 2004 and its interior in 2005. The church was reconsecrated on 30 October 2005 with festive services lasting through the Protestant observance of Reformation Day on 31 October. It now also serves as symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies. The Frauenkirche is often called a cathedral, however it is not the seat of a bishop. The bishop's church is the "Kreuzkirche" (Church of the Holy Cross) in Dresden.

Using original plans from builder Georg Bähr in the 1720s, reconstruction finally began in January 1993 under the direction of church architect and engineer Eberhard Burger. The foundation stone was laid in 1994, the crypt was completed in 1996 and the inner cupola in 2000. As far as possible, the church – except for its dome – was rebuilt using original material and plans, with the help of modern technology. The heap of rubble was documented and carried off stone by stone. The approximate original position of each stone could be determined from its position in the heap.
Every usable piece was measured and catalogued. A computer imaging program that could move the stones three-dimensionally around the screen in various configurations was used to help architects find where the original stones sat and how they fit together. Of the millions of stones used in the rebuilding, more than 8500 original stones were salvaged from the original church and approximately 3800 reused in the reconstruction.
As the older stones are covered with a darker patina, due to fire damage and weathering, the difference between old and new stones
will be clearly visible for a number of years after reconstruction.

Author
Matthijs van Wageningen
Created on
Sunday 10 July 2005
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