Wednesday, January 20, 2010
On the way back from Berlin, the buddymollys and I stopped for a day in Dresden. The city is split in half by the Eble River- the old town (Altstadt) is filled with churches and palaces built during the 1700s when the city served as the capital of Saxony. (And all this time I thought Saxons were British- whoops!) Almost all of the old town was destroyed on a single night in 1945 when the allies firebombed the city during WWII. Kurt Vonnegut was a POW held in Dresden at the time and references the event in one of my favorite books, Slaughterhouse-Five. The city has since been rebuilt and restored. New town, or Neustadt, is located north of the river and is a funky, modern area filled with shops, bars, and all sorts of ethnic restaurants- Molly wanted to move there by the time we were through.
After WWII, Dresden was part of East Germany, and you can still see the remnants in a few big ugly concrete buildings that apparently served as the inspiration for Boston's own City Hall. We also spotted a communist mural (how very Shepard Fairey) as well as pedestrian lights with the beloved Ampelmännchen- the East German "little traffic light man" who has remained popular following unification.