A tale of two cities (Dresden & Prague)

Dresden, looking across the Elbe

Today is officially my first day back at work. I could show you a photograph of my desk but I don’t think that’s such a great plan! Suffice it to say I have several archeological layers of accumulated detritus to deal with.

The fact of this morning is overwhelm. Overwhelmed not just with the work but also the stories I want to share with you all.

In fairness I’m going to have to let everything I need to write come out a little at a time. I want to organize some of the best pictures to post, and I want to try to make sense of everything I have learned. So please expect “Reading Between the Lines” to be both an inspirational faith resource and a travel blog for the next couple of weeks.

Two Cities:

Today I want to share a little context. Both Dresden (Saxony) and Prague (Bohemia) are located on beautiful rivers, the Elbe and the Vltava.

Dresden is the only major city in Europe that has not walled in its river. Because of that the Elbe is (was) a World Heritage Site (the designation was lost when a new bridge failed to follow UNESCO guidelines, but the river and its natural meadows remain the same).

This Vltava is the longest river within the Czech Republic, running southeast along the Bohemian Forest and then north across Bohemia before finally merging with the Elbe at Mělník.


From the dome of the Frauenkirche – Dresden and the Elbe River

Dresden – also known as “Florence on the Elbe” – was traditionally recognized as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. It was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945, then suppressed by Soviet spite and dictatorial communist rule until 1989 (I plan to write more about 1989 in an upcoming post).

However – and Rebekah and I love a good resurrection story – Dresden has flourished over the past three decades to become not only beautiful once again but deeply inspirational.


Classic Prague vista from the Charles Bridge crossing the Vltava River

Only 20% of historical Prague was significantly damaged in World War Two. The first serious raid was due to a navigational error during the Dresden bombing. The Allies apologized for the error…. then bombed Prague on purpose a couple of months later (no apology when it’s deliberate!).

In consequence Prague is still very much an authentic medieval city. It is in many ways spellbinding and we simply must return.


For today I am sharing photos that show the context of the river, the Elbe and the Vltava. But the scope of the views can only come into clear focus when you stand on one of the bridges and turn your head to take it all in. These photographs are good, but they do not even begin to tell the story you must explore for yourself if you ever have the opportunity.

Enjoy the images, then plan to continue reading over the next couple of weeks as I take you deep into Dresden, Prague, Leipzig, and Meissen.

Peace and blessings – DEREK

watch the slides for all today’s photographs


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