Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frauenkirche is German for Church of Our Lady . Naturally there are a lot of churches named Frauenkirche. Probably the two most famous ones are the Frauenkirche in Munich, which is also the landmark of the city, and the Frauenkirche in Dresden to which the following text refers.
The Frauenkirche in the German city of Dresden was destroyed in the Bombing of Dresden in the Second World War and is currently (2005) being restored inside after the rebuilding of its external struture was completed in 2004.
The church was built in the years 1726 to 1743, designed by George Bähr, who died in 1738, missing the completion of his greatest work. The dome, called the "Stone Bell", towered over the inner city of Dresden. It gave the city a distinctive silhouette, captured in famous paintings by Bernado Bellotto (better known as Canaletto). After initial doubts the dome proved to be extremely stable: In 1760 it was shelled by the Prussian army led by Friedrich II, but the shells simply bounced off, the church survived.
In 1849 the church was at the heart of the revolutionary disturbances known as the May Uprising. The Frauenkirche was surrounded by barricades and fierce fighting raged for days before the rebels who had not already fled were rounded up in the church and arrested.
There had already been intentions to rebuild the church during the last months of the Second World War. However, due to political circumstances in the GDR, the reconstruction later came to a halt. The heap of ruins was conserved as a monument within the inner city of Dresden.
After the reunification of Germany efforts were revived; in 1994 the foundation stone was laid, and in 1996 the construction work began. The reconstruction, costing an estimated 130 million Euro, is mainly financed through donations from all over the world.
As far as possible, the church, except for its dome, is being rebuilt using original material and plans, with modern technology. To this end, the heap was carried off stone by stone. Every usable piece then was measured and catalogued. The original position of each stone could be determined from its position in the heap.
As older stones are covered with a darker patina, due to weathering, the difference between old and new stones will be clearly visible during the early years. Because of that, the rebuilt church will remain a monument, reminding people of its history. It is created to be a symbol of hope and conciliation.
Reproducing a facsimile of the original organ of Johann Gottfried Silbermann , however, was declined. Instead, a modern organ will stand in the church in a baroque case. Also, seven new bells were cast and rang for the first time for the Pentecost celebration in 2003.
The external structure of the Frauenkirche was completed on June 22, 2004 . For the first time since the war, the completed dome and its gilded cross grace Dresden's skyline as in centuries prior. The intensive efforts over the last few years to rebuild this world famous Protestant landmark give justifiable hope that by the year 2006 - the 800th anniversary of Dresden - the Frauenkirche will be completed in its entirety - interior and exterior. As its destruction in the Second World War was a testament to the worst realities of mankind, its reconstruction is a testament to the highest aspects of our nature.
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