Raw Thought

by Aaron Swartz


Hop on a train from Berlin and before you even notice your eyes have closed you’ll be waking up in Dresden. The streets are dark but the light pours out from bars and you make your way down a sidestreet to your quirky, beaten apartment and tumble into bed, ready to wake up and tackle the next morning.

And what a morning it is: the sun shines through a solid gray sky, giving everything a cast of history and emotional depth. This is how Europe was meant to look — a bridge stretches across a sweeping river to a skyline of grand and time-battered buildings. A man plays old songs on an accordion and you follow the twisting cobblestone streets through the kind of grand edifices that only kings would build.

Upscale shops are mixed in with the glorious old buildings, people bustle every which way, and a fantastic network of streetcars takes you wherever you wish to go. Shops and cafes open onto picturesque views of a city with more charm than you could dare to hope for.

The skyline is made up of churches and synagogues and government buildings and hotels and art museums and schools. The center is surrounded by districts of hip bike stores, clothing shops, restaurants. A church with the top blown off is now used for concerts and parties. Apartment buildings have been built in bomb craters.

There are few places that live up to the beauty of the imagination — Harvard Square exists romantically only for a few days in the fall. But here is Dresden, the picture of beauty, in the heart of Europe. The riverbank sweeps majestically and curves past you and heads off into the distance as the sun sets into its flowing waters. And then you head home.

You should follow me on twitter here.

January 30, 2007


Ever read Slaughterhouse Five? I would love to visit Dresden one day (I was stationed in Bavaria in the 70’s) and if I ever make it over there, I will. Thanks. G

posted by G Milner on January 31, 2007 #

When I was on my quest for a place to study, my decision was against Dresden and for Munich. Which is (imho) even more beautiful. =)

posted by Justin on January 31, 2007 #

You can never compare Dresden with Munich, they are just too different. It is like comparing New York with London, you can not rule out one, you have to see both.

Yes Munich is beautiful, buts its a kind of beauty that you’ll find anywheree in Europa, in Vienna, Rome or Paris. Dresden has a Beauty that can be found nowhere else; the only places that come close to Dresden are the Italian cities, but even they are different, it is hard to explain.

Dresden is a bizarr mixture of incredible beauty in a small city center, surrounded by ugly concrete blocks and large empty spaces in the inner city; the debris has been cleared but those sites still breath the tragedy of the largest destruction of a city in Europe’s History. Many sites of the former beauty survived the war, but then the Communists blew up what was left; Dresdners called this the “2nd Destruction of their City”.

In Munich you’ll have a good Time. Dresden will touch your heart.

I am partly of Jewish origine myself, my Grandmother and my Grand Uncle, famous Author Kurt Baschwitz, survived the Holocaust. But still, it bothers me why only the crimes to one part of my family are recognized, whilst crimes to the other part are not. I love both parts of my familiy, the German Christians and the German Jewish.

Americans and British should become honest and start banning Bombs on innocent Civilians. It was ordinary Germans who risked (AND LOST) their lives in order to save my Grandmother. And it was Allied people, who finally betrayed them. It is high time for America and England to revise their stereotypes.

The truth has to be spoken, but now i wish you a good trip to Europe and please help us rebuild Dresden. Reconstruction of large parts of the historic old town is only starting now! Modernist Architects and incompetent urban city planers try to implant vile ugly blocks into the historic sites, we are the trying to prevent this. Please help us prevent Dresden from being destroyed a 3rd time.

This is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Dresden belongs to all of mankind, regardless of race or ethnic origine. Please help us rebuild, i am not talking about money, i only ask you to inform yourself - in case you are interested.

Thank you, and all the best



posted by Peter Thelen on February 1, 2007 #

Dresden from the point of view of a nearly former citizen. One great think from the 90s a remember is the first fab from AMD, at this time a was going to school. In this past i think, i will be study physics, but later this was IT (Informatik). Now i live near Stuttgart, but I want back to Dresden, because its my home.

posted by Max on February 7, 2007 #

You can also send comments by email.

Email (only used for direct replies)
Comments may be edited for length and content.

Powered by theinfo.org.