Before being completely destroyed in World War II, the Neumarket square was the elegant center of Dresdens Old Town.
It was once lined by many beautiful Baroque patrician houses and was also the site of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche). The original plans of the Protestant church were drawn up by the architect George Bähr, who drew inspiration from the domes of Italian churches. Construction began in 1727 but Bähr died in 1738. His successor on the project was Johann Georg Schmid, one of his students, who completed the 95m high Baroque structure with its monumental cupola in 1743.
The Church of Our Lady survived the Dresden air raids of February 13th – 14th, 1945. However the massive sandstone building was not able to withstand the terrible fire storm that swept through the city in the aftermath of the bombing. After being gutted from within, it collapsed on February 15th, 1945.
The official reconstruction of the Frauenkirche began on May 27th, 1994, and work was completed in 2006. Stones from the ruins are being integrated in the new building. Part of the financing for the enormous project is coming from private donations and sponsors. The Tower Cross, a gift to the Dresden trust from Great Britain was presented by the Duke of Kent on February 13th 2000.