The rebirth of Dresden
The city of Dresden was heavily damaged during the Second World War, but the lovely city on the Elbe became as good as new or even better, during the last two decades. The city was rebuilt brick by brick and has led to the renaissance of industry in the East of Germany. Saxony was beaten down by the war, twenty years ago and Dresden was destroyed by fire bombing during the war. Most of the inhabitants decided to move to West Germany and the Saxony was getting empty. Anyhow, the city got the courage and power to rebuild its Baroque palaces, museums and churches and this is only one side of the rebirth of Dresden.
Before and after the bombing
Before the bombing, the historical centre of Dresden was considered fairy place with palaces, cathedrals, fountains and elegant baroque buildings. Eight square miles of the city have been demolished by the bombing and more than 35,000 people died. Dresden who was once named the “Florence on the Elbe” was devastated. The Semper Opera House, where Richard’s Wagner and Richard Strauss’s plays were staged for the first time, became a ruin. The Zwinger palace, with art collections from Raphael, Giorgione, Vermeer or Rubens, was also destroyed. Fortunately, most of the artworks were rescued by being evacuated. The tower of Frauenkirche (the Church of Our Lady) burned for days and then it collapsed.
These buildings have all been rebuilt in a very accurate way. The carved cherubs and decorative swags of the Zwinger’s façade have been reproduced in smallest details. The Frauenkirche was built again, but the remains of the old church are still kept in the basement and presented as an ugly mark left by capitalism. The palace was reconstructed, based on old documents, in the same Renaissance and Baroque style.
The city today
Even if Saxony was in deep debts after the war, Dresden came up with a fantastic idea. It was the first German city to sell all the housing it owned and used the income to pay back the debt of more than €700 million, after which it remained debt-free. Nowadays, Saxony is the most productive centre in the East. It is here that BMW, Porches and Volkswagens are manufactured. Volkswagen was the first big company to make a major investment in Saxony and has today the governmental support. Porsche is another symbol of Saxony. Luxury chips and watches are also produced here. Saxony had the highest and fastest gross domestic product growth of all the federal states. We have therefore witnessed the rebirth of Dresden in a very short time and this is because Saxons are clever, innovative and hard workers.