Just outside our office building stands the recently built memorial to the Sophienkirche, a church which had a rich and lengthy history in Dresden.
The first mentions of Sophienkirche are documented as far back as 1250, when it was used a Franciscan monastery. The church remained and was expanded upon until the early 1500s and the arrival of the Reformation, when the Franciscans were disbanded. In the years following, until the early 1600s, the church fell into disuse and was revitalised at the instance of Sophie, Electress of Saxony, hence the name Sophienkirche, which it carried from 1603 onward.
The Sophienkirche then experienced a rebirth and was given a new sense of purpose. In 1603 the church was outfitted with a marble tomb for descendants of the House of Wettin, in 1720 a silver organ and throughout the years with various works of art. It became a place of worship for the noble class and one of the most important to the city.
The Sophienkirche, along with many other historical sites in Dresden’s city centre, were destroyed in the 1945 firebombing. A lengthy and heated debate ensued, regarding whether the church should remain under protective status as a historical monument, be rebuilt or be torn down. The decision to tear the church down came 17 years later in 1962 to make way for new buildings.
The Sophienkirche, however, was never forgotten and in 1995 the decision was made to design a memorial to this important piece of Dresden’s history. The memorial is a glass case containing a reproduction of the Busmann Chapel, an ancillary chapel added to the church in 1400, which stands where the Sophienkirche once stood.
It was not until 2009 that the first four pillars were erected, commencing construction. The memorial was complete by 2012 and now stands free to view, a significant landmark in Dresden’s history that was lost, but not forgotten.
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