Finishing touches on Dresden's Frauenkirche

22nd June 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 June 2004 , DRESDEN - Up to 30,000 people were expected to gather in central Dresden Tuesday to observe the final stages of the reconstruction of the landmark Frauenkirche church, destroyed in the massive Allied bombing of the city during the Second World War. A construction crane will hoist the massive 28-tonne cupola and replice golden cross - the original was destroyed in the bombing - into place on top of the church's 91-metre steeple, marking the final phase in an 11-year exterior restoration progr

22 June 2004

DRESDEN - Up to 30,000 people were expected to gather in central Dresden Tuesday to observe the final stages of the reconstruction of the landmark Frauenkirche church, destroyed in the massive Allied bombing of the city during the Second World War.

A construction crane will hoist the massive 28-tonne cupola and replice golden cross - the original was destroyed in the bombing - into place on top of the church's 91-metre steeple, marking the final phase in an 11-year exterior restoration programme.

The ceremony is to be conducted during open-air church services attended by prominent guests including the Duke of Kent, a cousin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and president of the "Dresden Trust", a private group which financed the replica cross as an act of British- German reconciliation.

The silversmith who built the new cross is the son of one of the British bomber pilots who participated in the massive firebombing raid on the night of February 13, 1945, which killed an estimated 135,000 people.

The baroque Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Germany's largest Protestant church, had dominated Dresden's skyline for two centuries after it was first built in 1743 but collapsed two days after the Allied raids.

For more than four decades under the former communist eastern German regime, the site remained derelict, its 6,000 tonnes of stone coming to be regarded as a symbol of the war.

After German unification in 1990, Dresden residents launched an initiative to rebuild the massive church despite formidable and costly architectural challenges, using as much of the original stone as possible.

The reconstruction of the church has cost an estimated EUR 11 million, with much of the money coming from donations around the world.

Interior work on the church is still underway, with the official dedication ceremonies set for 30 October 2005.

 

DPA

Subject: German news

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