In Dresden, visible evidence of the Second World War is not easy to find

Nearly sixty years of rebuilding erased almost every example of the massive damage Dresden experienced in its much-debated bombing. However, informed locals can identify which buildings have been restored or amended – and in some cases rebuilt from the ground up as historical copies – at various times from 1945 to the present – architectural palimpsests. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a tour guide like my friend Roland who can read the buildings and urban forms like a paleontologist digging through layers of fossils.

These are rare examples of remaining visible damage.

1. Intact ground floor of five-story building c.1910 (now one of the country’s many non-shame-attached sex stores)

2. In almost all cases, new construction has filled in gaps; this is an exception.

3-4. Destroyed church, now a lapidarium where statues, monuments and stone building elements are stored, such as this DDR-era monument.

5. Dormers at the top are post-unification (1990) additions to the original 1920s building. The center section is most likely a signifcant alteration from the 1990s that kept the original 20s stone window surrounds.

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