German Language Blog

Die Dresdner Frauenkirche – Church of Our Lady Dresden Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in Culture


The Frauenkirche Dresden is an Evangelical Lutheran church of the Baroque period and is considered as the most magnificent credential of Protestant scared buildings. It is an old and new landmark of the city, which can look back on a 1000-year history.

The church’s name Frauenkirche refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Originally, it was called Kirche Unserer Lieben Frau (lit. Church of Our dear Lady), but the name was shortened over time and eventually resulted in Frauenkirche. Its name even retained after the Reformation in spite of the fact that the Protestant Church does not adore the Virgin Mary. By the way, you can find ‘similar’ names in other European countries as well, for example: “Notre Dame” or “Our Lady”.

As mentioned above, the Frauenkirche Dresden can look back on a 1000-year history. According to that, today’s construction is a replacement of former buildings. In 1722, the Council of the City of Dresden decided to erect a new building and commissioned George Bähr – ein Zimmermeister (a master carpenter) – to design a new building. After four years of planning, construction works began on August 26, in 1726 and continued until 1743. Bähr himself could not see the completion of the church as he died in 1938 – the same year in which the most unmistakable feature of this masterpiece, the stone dome, was completed. The stone dome has become the actual landmark of the city of Dresden.

Unfortunately, the church was destroyed shortly before the end of World War II. On February 13, 1945 Dresden was bombed. At first, it looked as if the church had survived the devastating bombing, since other buildings had immediately been destroyed by the attack and firestorm. But in the end, the church could not stand the heat of the fire. Eventually, the sandstones exploded from the piers and the building collapsed because the piers could not carry the immense weight of 12,000 tons of the dome.

The Frauenkirche Dresden lay in ruins for decades. The government of the former German Democratic Republic was not interested in the reconstruction of a church. Consequently, respective conditions were only given after the political changes. In the beginning of the 1990s, the Dresden City Council consented to the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche.

Reconstruction, however, could not be conducted immediately. It was intended to use as many originally stones as possible for the rebuilding, thus, a clearing and sifting through the rubble according to archaeological principles was necessary at first. This took about 17 months. Only in 1994, the actual reconstruction began and lasted eleven years. The conclusion of the church’s reconstruction was finally celebrated on October 30th 2005 with the official consecration.

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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. guy hyde:

    This is indeed a beautiful site. My wife and I were priviledged to stay in a hotel directly across the street from this construction site while the excavation was taking place. I watched for several hours as on side of the large excavation site, large trucks and cranes took massive loads of dirt and rubble out of the site, after it had been carefully reviewed by archeaologists. On the other end of the excavation, there were many (over 50) people in the site carefully digging with small trowels and brushes, searching for any artifacts to be saved and restored to the restored church. It was truly an amazing and captivating vision.

    • Sandra:

      @guy hyde Hello Guy,

      thank you very much for sharing this with us.


      Sandra 🙂

  2. ryazan:

    i need to do a project on this, dates on the actual first construction in the 11th century would be appreciated.