Saxony and the Swiss

This summer Derek’s Tour Company (Insider Tours) began running tours in Dresden. It involves a two hour bus ride from Berlin to the state of Saxony which Dresden is it’s capital city. During our two hour ride Derek and John (Hebrew speaking guide)  kept us well informed with historical facts. After sitting for that length of time (actually bus was very comfortable) walking was definitely needed and Derek made sure we did plenty of that.

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Historical Dresden is filled with titillating tales, religious discord, a long line of royalty that filled Dresden with culture and artistic splendor which later would be almost completely destroyed during a still controversial aerial bombing near the end of WW II.  The image below is the courtesy of  Dr. Torsten Henning who released it to the public domain. I thank him for this as it beautifully shows the Elbe river which splits Dresden into the “old city” and “new city”. Click on picture for full size.

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The death of his brother from smallpox given to who him by his mistress  enabled Frederick Augustus to become the Electorate (ruler) of Saxony in 1694. Augustus became known as Augustus the Strong for his physical strength and iron rule, somehow I think it had more to do with his sexual stamina. He had at least 10 or more mistresses and the exact number of illegitimate children will probably never be known, 365-382 has been suggested. Yet Augustus did leave behind a legacy of castles, Meissen porcelain and as mentioned before culture and arts.

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The most flamboyant of his castles was the Zwinger it’s open square   once lined with pavilions and arcade galleries that later would become exhibition galleries and library halls. After his death an Opera house was added to the square.  Much was destroyed during the aerial bombings or carpet bombing raids in 1945. Dresden’s dedication to restoring the Zwinger and the rest of it’s city is an amazing sight to behold.

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Like many times before from ashes and rubble  history waiting to unfold and perhaps turn into something beautiful.

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Does August 17th, 2002 mean anything to you? It does for the people of Dresden. It is the day flood waters from the Elbe river reached historic levels 9.39  meters or how about 31 feet.IMG_3090 Derek is standing underneath a bridge where a broze plaque  marks the level the waters reached forcing over 30,000 people from their homes. It seems Dresden will always have a history of rebuilding itself.

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Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm  Comments (1)