Very few European cities were as hard hit by World War II as Dresden, Germany. The city was in flaming ruins from the Allied firebomb attacks of February 13, 1945, depicted in Kurt Vonnegut’s classic Slaughterhouse Five. It is estimated that between 35,000 and 135,000 people died in the attacks. Rebuilding began shortly after and some projects were completed as recently as 2005, like the Frauenkirche, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Known as the “Church of Our Lady,” this Lutheran church was turned to rubble in the attack and stood as a monument to peace when it was carefully put back together, stone by stone, like pieces of a puzzle. Of the 8,500 stones recovered from the site, 3,800 were reused. The golden orb atop the tower was donated by the UK as an unspoken apology for the devastation.
What was once known as the “pearl of the Baroque” and home to Saxon kings is now a modern reconstruction of the pre-1945 architecture.