For decades it was a bombed-out silhouette that became synonymous with the tragedy of Dresden.
Now, after painstaking and expensive reconstruction, the Frauenkirche has been consecrated, turning it into a symbol of rebirth after the horror of World War Two.
Dignitaries from around the world joined senior German politicians for the ceremony.
The designated chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, said “It is a wonderful day for me, because we have taken lots of small stones and built a wonderful edifice. We have reconsecrated a church which breathes confidence.”
Also attending was Britain’s Duke of Kent, the patron of the fundraising Dresden trust.
His involvement has been hailed as emblematic of Anglo-German rapprochement.
“For many years the Frauenkirche was a symbol of the destruction of war. Today it has become a famous symbol for the reconciliation between Great Britain and Germany, and for our determination to dispel the ghosts of the past.”
Once a jewel of Baroque architecture, the city was obliterated on February 13th 1945.
The bombing sparked a firestorm that killed around 35,000 people. To this day debate rages over whether Dresden was a legitimate military target.