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May, 2006 - Nr. 5


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Rebuild to Former Glory
Berlin Academy of the Arts
A Bitter Heritage

Historic hotel rebuilt to former glory in Dresden

  TWIG - Dresden’s famed Hotel de Saxe reopened this week on a prime spot within sight of the city’s reconstructed Baroque Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), marking yet another milestone as the city works to rebuild its historic heart, destroyed by bombing at the end of World War II.

Opened in 1786, the original Hotel de Saxe played a storied role in Dresden history. Pianist Clara Schumann once performed the debut of her husband composer Robert Schumann’s piano concerto in its famous halls, for example.

But unlike other historic buildings being rebuilt feverously in the Saxon capital, the Hotel de Saxe has not existed for 117 years. It was torn down in 1888 to make way for what was, by all accounts, a distasteful Wilhelmine-era post office.

The new hotel, with rooms ranging from 125 to 130 Eur ($159-165) per night, employs 104 people, many of them young, from the surrounding communities.

Original plans called for a five-star hotel, but investors worried about the lack of a high-end visitor base to the city scaled down the glam. That seems a reasonable decision, since the hotel is booked to nearly 80% into the foreseeable future.

The hotel should also serve as a comfortable choice for the 1.2 million foreign visitors and whopping 3.2 million business professionals that visit Dresden each year.

Since German unification in 1990, plans have been in motion to recreate the Baroque splendor that once made Dresden the "Florence of the Elbe."

But city planners and Dresden citizens alike have for years bashed heads over how to develop the rest of the Neumarkt area surrounding the Frauenkirche.

"Out of respect for the Frauenkirche, the Neumarkt requires special sensibility," said Heinz Diedrichsen, head of tourism in Dresden.

In all, 60 new buildings of the 250 destroyed buildings are slated to be erected in the next few years around the church - many of them bearing architectural elements that reflect Dresden in its 18th century heyday.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


Hotel de Saxe


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