Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dresden, Germany

It was off to Dresden for a few days with a brief overnight in Hannover. There we saw an atypical, modern church door at the Marktkirche, which was a war memorial. The large iron doors depicted WWII with oppression, concentration camps, tanks and suffering. It was memorable and striking.




Dresden remains a little but off the main tourist trail, but seems to have it's fair share of tourist groups. Located on the banks of the Elbe it is a charming city with an abundance of grand buildings, museums and culture.

I had been to Dresden more than a decade ago. At that time the Frauenkirche was in the process of being restored, and I was interested to see the finished product. The entire city had been heavily bombed in raids in February 1945 when thousands of tonnes of incendiary bombs destroyed the city. Part of East Germany during the post war through to reunification, the city was reconstructed brick by brick.


One of the last major buildings to be restored was the Frauenkirche. The gold orb on top of the church was donated via British fund-raising of £600,000 and included medeival nails from the cathedral of Coventry, which had suffered similar destruction during the war.


On the other end of the scale was the entirely modern glass VW factory. In an architecturally designed factory very near the centre of town. The outer walls are almost entirely made of glass. The production line was not in operation the day we toured, but the parquet floor and non-robotic assembly line produces the top of the line Phaeton sedan in a clean, light and spacious environment. The Bentley is so similar that this factory can supplement Crewe's production in England, if required. There were a number of Bentleys on the production line awaiting completion, the day we were there.


To be honest the Phaeton itself wasn't visually outstanding (a base model was about €70,000 for a V12 4WD), but the factory and the process was a highlight of our time there.


Having explored the old side of town we checked out the Neustadt which had a more bohemian feel with plenty of street art and amongst the interesting buildings we found a rabbit warren of connected artists shops/houses all decorated in unique ways


Dresden is one of those cities with a nice feel and genuinely nice people. Recommended!


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