Frauenkirche is a Luthern church in the German city of Dresden that is famous for its resurrection after being completely destroyed during WWII. The remaining ruins of the former church served as a war memorial for 50 years, before it was rebuilt.
Dresden Frauenkirche is located on the Neumarkt Square and is built in Baroque style, by the German architect George Bähr. Here’s a complete guide with information for visitors about opening hours, entrance fees, history, and interesting facts.
Entrance fee & Opening Hours
Entrance to the church is free though if you wish to hear stories of the church as you explore, consider purchasing an audio guide, which is available in multiple languages, for €2.50.
If you wish to climb to the top of the church’s dome then there is a small fee of €8. From the top of the dome, visitors enjoy unobstructed views over Neumarkt Square and the city of Dresden.
Church opening hours
The church is open to visitors at the following times:
- Saturday – Sunday: 10am-noon and 1pm – 6pm.
- Monday – Friday: The opening hours depend on special events on the day but tend to stick to the same opening hours as on the weekend.
Viewing platform opening hours
The dome is open to visitors at the following times:
- November to February: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm.
- November to February: Sunday: 12:30pm – 4pm.
- March to October: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm.
- March to October: Sunday: 12:30 – 6pm.
History & more information
Frauenkirche is one of Dresden’s most iconic landmarks, full of history and known for its spectacular architecture and design. Moreover, the viewing platform offers some of the best views of the city.
The church was first constructed in the 18th century as a Lutheran parish church and was designed by George Bahr, the city’s resident architect. It was Bahr who decided to place a 12,000 ton stone dome atop the church which was quite an engineering achievement at that time.
For the next 200 years, the church stood proudly in the center of Dresden and dominated the city’s skyline, right up until WWI when it was entirely destroyed by firebombing. The church survived two days of attacks before finally crumbling to a heap on the ground.
From February 15th, 1945 to 1966 the church remained as rubble on the ground, completely untouched. In 1966 the ruins were officially declared a war memorial.
Reconstruction of the building didn’t begin until 1985 when donations from the public, international sponsors and the funding from the local government made it possible to rebuild Frauenkirche to its former glory.
In June 2004 final touches on the exterior of the building were completed and in 2005 the church was finally consecrated again. Today thousands of visitors from around the world step foot inside to pay homage to its grand architecture and history.
Not only is it a strong reminder of the cruelty of war, but it also serves as a reminder to the local community of how a city rallied together to rebuild something they once loved.
Points of Interest
Inside the basement of the church, you’ll find a special room dedicated to the building’s history. The exhibitions cover the church’s reconstruction from a pile of rubble to a grand building.
Ascent to the Dome
Pay admission to the hike to the top of the dome. The steep climb is rewarded with panoramic views over Dresden. Access to the dome is via entrance G and visitors will travel the first 24-meters up using a lift before tackling narrow stairs and a spiraling ramp.
How to get to Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche stands out from Dresden’s skyline quite clearly and you’ll likely spot it from afar as you approach its location in the middle of the Altstadt in Dresden Neumarkt. If you’re arriving by public transport, see below:
The closest tram stop to the church is Altmarkt which is serviced by tram lines 1,2, and 4. Alternatively, Pirnaischer Platz tram stop is just as close and is serviced by tram lines 1,2,3,4,7, and 12. From both tram stops, it’s just a short walk to Frauenkirche.
The closest bus stop to the church is Pirnaischer Platz which is serviced by bus numbers 62 and 75. From the bus stop, it’s just a short walk to Frauenkirche.
As Neumarkt is part of a traffic reduction zone arriving by car isn’t possible (with the exception of handicapped visitors). Consider leaving your car in a nearby multistory car park or perhaps opt for public transport.
When you arrive at the church you’ll notice it has seven separate entrances, each assigned a letter of the alphabet which sits above the door. Most visitors should arrive through entrance D while handicapped visitors should make their way to entrance A.
Make the most of your time in Dresden by visiting a nearby museum, historical monuments, and galleries. The below attractions are all within walking distance from Frauenkirche:
- Bruhl Terrace
- Procession of Princes
- Royal Palace
- New Synagogue
- New Town Hall
- Military History Museum
Best time to visit
Weekdays are always quieter than weekends if you’re keen to avoid crowds but if you’re not here during the week try visiting the church first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon (an hour or two before closing).
Facts about Frauenkirche
- The church’s design features one of the largest domes in Europe at 315 feet (96 meters) high called die Steinerne Glocke or “Stone Bell.”
- The original ornate church in the center of Dresden was constructed in the early 1700s, replacing a smaller chapel that had stood on the spot for hundreds of years.
- The impressive dome, which became known as the ‘stone bell’, was finished in 1738 and consists of a double shell with two casings that make up the inner and outer dome.
- The bright white altar, reconstructed in 2000, was originally created in 1733 – 1739 by Johann Christian Feige the Elder and Benjamin Thomae.
- In 1849, the church was at the center of May Day (Labor Day) protests. The fighting lasted for days around the church before the rebels were forcibly put down and arrested.
- The church was destroyed during WWII and the ruins were left untouched for 40 years as a reminder of the destructive powers of war.
- The resurrection of the church was funded by local government, foreign countries, and donations made by the public.
- 3643 original stones were saved from the rubble and reused to build the new church. Inside you’ll notice a mismatch of colors were old brick meets new.
- Today the church is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of Protestant architecture in the world.
- A ramp between the inner and outer dome leads to a viewing platform at the top of the dome, just below the cupola. From here visitors can enjoy magnificent views over the inner city and the Elbe river.
FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)
What does Frauenkirche mean?
Frauenkirche is German for “Church of our Lady” in English.
Can I take photos inside Frauenkirche?
Photography and videography are forbidden inside the church and mobile phones, tablets, etc. must be switched off on entry.
Can I bring food and drink inside the church?
Eating, drinking, and smoking is prohibited inside the church. Please leave any of these items inside your bag.
Is the church wheelchair accessible?
Yes. Handicapped guests should enter the church via entrance A and disabled parking is found on the Neumarkt close to the Kunstakademie. Unfortunately, the galleries and the dome is not accessible to visitors in wheelchairs.
Do you have more questions before visiting the Frauenkirche in Dresden? Leave a comment below!