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In Dresden, an anniversary of reconciliation and hope
By Tom Adkinson

Dresden Frauenkirche exterior
Dresden Frauenkirche exterior; image by Tom Adkinson

DRESDEN, Germany – The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a year with few celebrations, but a touching milestone was reached this month in this lovely city on the Elbe River. It is the 15th anniversary of the completed reconstruction of the Church of Our Lady (the Frauenkirche), destroyed during a devastating air raid in the waning days of World War II. It was one of the war’s most debated operations.

Dresden Frauenkirche interior
Dresden Frauenkirche interior; image by Tom Adkinson

The baroque church, dating to 1743, rose above everything in Dresden. Its dome was 315 feet high. It appeared to have survived the massive air raid on Feb. 13, 1945, but it collapsed onto itself two days later and disappeared from the city’s skyline. The rubble of Germany’s largest Protestant church remained for decades, even as the city rebuilt, a reminder of the ferocity of war.

Work to recreate the Frauenkirche began in 1993, and funding came from many countries. Construction featured stones gleaned from the rubble along with new materials. Coventry, England, whose own cathedral had been destroyed by German bombs, donated the golden cross and orb that crown the building. What had been a symbol of destruction became a living symbol of reconciliation.

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(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published October 30, 2020

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