Dresden, Dec. 6

Before departing Berlin for Dresden I took a morning walk to Saint Hedwig, the Catholic cathedral in Berlin.

Saint Hedwig's Cathedral, in Dresden

Saint Hedwig’s Cathedral, in Dresden


The ride to Dresden was brief so I had a whole day to enjoy the city. Dresden was noted as one of Germany’s most beautiful cities; however it was completely destroyed when the Americans and British mounted a vast carpet bombing the night of February 13 and 14 in 1945. I had no idea of the devastation except there are photos and it gives me an appreciation of the meticulous renovation that is still in progress, to restore the historical center to its former glory.

I immediately went to the Zwinger, a beautiful Baroque palace built by August the Strong in 1709 to 1732. The art gallery houses works by Raphael, Dürer, Rembrandt, Van Eyck and Vermeer.  I was anxious to see Raphael’s Sistine Madonna which Pope Julius commissioned. This image was very popular in old missals and much beloved.

The Zwinger, a palace in Dresden

The Zwinger, a palace in Dresden

The Zwinger at night.

The Zwinger at night.

In the late evening I walked by the Staatsoper which is a landmark of Dresden. Then to the Hofkirche which is a monumental Baroque Catholic cathedral in Protestant Saxony.  Then to the Frauenkirche with its shining dome. This too was completely destroyed but now reconstructed.

Then to the Kreuzkirche for Advent vespers featuring works of Melchior Franck, Bertali, and Handel performed by the Dresdner Chor der Sächsischen Posaunenmission Bautzner Bläserkreis. The Lutheran minister preached towards the end of the performance followed by congregational singing of the hymn, “Savior of the Nations Come.” It was thrilling to hear 400 hundred people singing. To commemorate its destruction the interior has not been restored as the exterior to its Baroque glory. Everywhere there are memorials reminding one of the destruction but always with the exhortation to peace and reconciliation.

A few Christmas Market pictures:

Christmas Market, Dresden

Christmas Market, Dresden

Christmas Market, Berlin

Christmas Market, Berlin

Christmas Market, Berlin

Christmas Market, Berlin