My visiting friend wanted to go to Ostfriesland on her trip here, as it features heavily in her ancestry. While planning the trip north, I noticed we would be going right past Hildesheim. We didn't make a specific plan to stop there on the way, but I was certainly hoping we'd get the chance - and we did, brief though it may have been!
On March 23, 1945, so near to the end of the war, their fear came true. Seventy-five percent of Hildesheim was obliterated, including the cathedral, St. Michael's church, and the medieval town center.
The Marktplatz remained so until the 1980s, when a couple of the businesses in the buildings there needed to move out for various reasons. Hildesheim had never let go of its dream to restore the original buildings, and they decided to seize the opportunity presented by the businesses moving out. The 1950s-style buildings were destroyed and the Butchers' Guild Hall, Wedekindhaus, and Bakers' Guild Hall were all rebuilt in the original style. Of course, many old buildings in Germany were restored to their original glory after being destroyed in WWII, but there seems to be something extra-special about the towns who restored them later. (See also: Dresden Frauenkirche.) They couldn't restore them right away, but they didn't let the dream die. Later they found the opportunity and the funds and they brought their old towns back. It also proves that the skills to make beautifully detailed buildings are still out there - we think it can't be done, but it can. (It's just really expensive. Together, the restoration of the Butchers' and Bakers' Guild Halls cost about 7 million Euro.) And the details on the Wedekindhaus and the Butchers' Guild Hall are just unbelievable. Amazing. In an interesting twist, the Butchers' Guild Hall has been painted on the front in a traditional style, but on the side with anti-war images and messages. See my photo album below for more! All photos embedded in this post were taken by my friend, but the photos on Picasa were taken by me.
|Hildesheim Okt 11|
A+++, would visit again!!