Red Corner: Dresden Turns 800

It’s not so often one gets to celebrate a birthday after being fire-bombed by 3,900 tons of ordnance. And yet, the city of Dresden–80% of which was destroyed after the infamous World War II air campaign which leveled the city–turns 800 this month.

Celebrating Dresden’s 800th birthday is rather odd if you ask me; nothing standing in the city today is more than 60 years old.

As you can tell by the depiction above, Dresden was an extraordinarily beautiful city before the controversial bombings. Quite a bit of it has been rebuilt, first by the communists who threw in their share of ugly socialist architecture, and then later by the unified German state. The result is hardly as wonderful as the original, however, but it’s a nice start. I’d be curious to visit sometime in the future when all the reconstruction is finally done.

In the meantime, for those you who want to pop on over and pay Dresden a birthday visit, the New York Times has a pretty good write-up in last Sunday’s paper on what to see and where to stay while there. Just don’t tell anyone you’re American or British…