I was fortunate enough to travel to Dresden, Germany a couple of years ago and stay with a good friend at her home there. She lives stateside, but grew up in Dresden during the cold war era. Dresden was decimated in World War II. It was only occupied by residents and was considered one the most beautiful cities in all of Europe at the time. The war in Europe had all been won, Hitler was gone, yet the British decided to make one final stamp on their victory and destroy the city. Thankfully, my friends parents, who were teenagers at the time, survived. After the war, most the ruins were just built on top of by the communist. What once was a beautiful city was covered in post war, benign, ugly architecture. Now, there are excavation sites everywhere. Most post war buildings are being torn down, but what is revealed are basements, many with the stairs and doors still intact. Like a stairway to nowhere. Its hard to get good photos of them, as the fencing impedes this. I’ve included one, though, its not great. In the rest you will see the rebuilding and work and effort and pride they take in restoring this beautiful city!
This church is an amazing testament to German engineering-not because it has some tricky butressing thing or anything, but the blackened bricks are original to the church. All the bricks in the original building were numbered, and since the plans had survived, the usuable bricks which survived were placed in their original spots. One of the things I love about Europe is their dedication to preserving their history.