Dresden Catholic Cathedral
Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History
[ source: Wikipedia]
The Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide) Hofkirche, or The Catholic Church of the Royal Court of Saxony, is the most important Catholic church in the city. It is also significant as the largest church in the state of Saxony and is considered by many to be the last great Baroque building to be constructed in Dresden. Designed by Gaetano Chiaveri, an Italian Baroque architect, between 1738 and 1751, the Dresden Catholic Cathedral was commissioned by the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, Frederick Augustus II, to supposedly offset the construction of the famed Protestant Frauenkirche, which was funded by the city of Dresden. A further motivation was provided by the ruling situation of Frederick Augustus II and his father, August the Strong. In 1697, August the Strong converted to Roman Catholicism in order to be eligible for the Polish throne. This conversion surprised many of his contemporaries in staunchly Protestant Saxony. The now Catholic ruling family decided to mark its conversation by the construction of the cathedral.
Frederick Augustus II met Chiaveri in Warsaw, while he was fulfilling his duties as king of Poland. Chiaveri arranged for Italian masons to work on the sandstone structure, but neither he nor they could speak any German, a situation which created friction and dissatisfaction and which ultimately resulted in Chiaveri leaving the project before the Dresden Catholic Cathedral was completed. The church was finished in 1755, under German architectural leadership, and it was quite expensive in the end, with costs surmounting three times the costs associated with the Frauenkirche.
The Catholic cathedral was badly damaged in the bombing of Dresden in February 1945. Although stabilization efforts began in 1946 and reconstruction started in 1955, the restoration of the church was not completed until 1987.
Reflecting Baroque stylistic trends, the Dresden Catholic Cathedral is oval in shape and its tower reaches 272 feet in height. 78 statues of religious and historical figures adorn the roof line, and the cathedral contains the final and largest organ built by famed organ builder, Gottfried Silbermann. Although the exterior of the cathedral is lively, the interior is plain, lacking ceiling paintings and colored marbling as is usually typical of Baroque cathedrals of this era.
[ source: wikipedia.org ]
About this Article
This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.
Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).
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