George Bähr

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Frauenkirche in Dresden

George Bähr (born March 15, 1666 in Fürstenwalde , † March 16, 1738 in Dresden ) was a German builder of the Baroque era . His main work is the Dresden Frauenkirche .

Location of Bähr's birthplace in Fürstenwalde
Bähr memorial stone in Fürstenwalde

Live and act

George Bähr was the son of a carpenter (other sources write a line weaver) and grew up in a poor family. His school education was promoted by the village chaplain. Bähr completed his school education and carpenter apprenticeship in Lauenstein .

In 1693 Bähr went to Dresden, where he worked as a carpenter. He actually wanted to go to Italy to get to know famous buildings, so he studied mechanics on the side, called himself artist and mechanic, and designed organ prospectuses, castles and palaces.

At the age of 39, Bähr was appointed council carpenter in Dresden in 1705, although he did not have a master craftsman's certificate. Even in this office, Bähr tried to modernize the church building. In his opinion, the existing church buildings no longer did justice to evangelical worship.

George Bähr's first building was the parish church of Loschwitz near Dresden with an elongated, octagonal floor plan. The church was completed in 1708.

George Bährs grave in the lower hall of the Dresden Frauenkirche. (Implemented when the old Johannisfriedhof was dissolved in 1858)

The orphanage church in Dresden was built around 1710, followed by the village church of the Holy Trinity in Schmiedeberg and the churches in Beitzsch (Biecz) near Pförten (Brody) (1716–1719) and Forchheim (1719–1726) in 1713–1716 . As a master builder and consultant, Bähr was also involved in the construction and reconstruction of the churches in Königstein (1720–1724), Kesselsdorf (1723–1725), Hohnstein (1724–1728) and the Schmannewitz (1731–1732 ) church ) involved.

In addition, numerous residential buildings were built in Dresden according to Bähr's specifications . Bähr himself lived in a house on Seegasse near the Altmarkt. Between 1732 and 1738, he oversaw the construction of the original of Matthew Daniel Pöppelmann designed Dreikönigskirche in Dresden-Neustadt.

Bähr's main work is the Frauenkirche in Dresden . In 1722 he was commissioned to do this, and in 1726 the design was approved and implemented. In 1734 the interior of the Frauenkirche was inaugurated. The church was completed on May 27, 1743, almost five years after the death of George Bähr, with the addition of a dome cross (which Bähr did not want) .

Bähr has been using the title of architect since 1730 - the fitting term civil engineer did not exist at the time.

His predilection for building organs led George Bähr to also perform compositions for these musical instruments.

In 1738, eight days before his death, as a result of an illness that confined him to bed, George Bähr resigned as council carpenter. He died the day after his 72nd birthday. Rumors of suicide have been refuted. Contrary to his wish to be buried in the Frauenkirche, he was buried in the Johanniskirchhof in front of the Pirnaischer Tor . When the city decided to secularize the cemetery in 1854 , at the request of a great-grandson, his bones were transferred to the crypt of the Frauenkirche, and the tomb was later transferred there.

George Bähr was married three times. He had six children with his third wife, Johanna Juliane Wahl, who was 22 years his junior and whom he married in 1730. When the first child was born (1730), Bähr was 64 years old. His student and brother-in-law was the builder Johann George Schmidt .

DNA analysis

At the beginning of 2018, scientists from the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Man in Jena published the results of an analysis of the DNA of a skeleton from the crypt of the Frauenkirche, which is attributed to George Bähr. Based on the DNA analysis, George Bähr most likely had brown eyes, a light skin color and was genetically of Central European origin. However, the wrong bones were recovered in the Johanneskirchhof at the time, as the Dresden council archivist Otto Richter was able to show. The DNA analysis should therefore not be conclusive with regard to Bähr.

Gallery of important church buildings


Street sign in Leipzig

Street names

In Dresden today, George-Bähr-Straße ( Südvorstadt district ) is named after the famous architect of the Frauenkirche , which was destroyed in 1945 and rebuilt between 1990 and 2005. Streets are also named after George Bähr in Leipzig's “Architects' Quarter” and in Forchheim .

George Bähr Prize

In 2008, the George Bähr Forum for Building Culture and Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Dresden , together with the George Bähr Foundation, awarded the George Bähr Prize, which is advertised throughout Europe and is endowed with 5000 euros. The award was originally supposed to be given every three years to architects and engineers who succeed in a special way in achieving a synthesis of design, construction and realization of a building. In particular, the award winners should do justice to George Bähr's work as a master builder. The prize was awarded in 2008 to the Berlin architect Henning von Wedemeyer for his work "Vilnius in the Air".

Individual evidence

  1. Eberhard Görner: A heaven made of stone. (One section is titled Organ Composer in Dresden .) Chemnitzer Verlag, Chemnitz 2005, ISBN 3-937025-12-X .
  2. ^ Paul Gautsch:  Bähr, George . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, p. 768.
  3. Short biography of George Bähr on the website of the Frauenkirche Dresden ( Memento from February 10, 2013 in the web archive ).
  4. Alexander Peltzer, Alissa Mittnik, Chuan-Chao Wang, Tristan Begg, Cosimo Posth, Kay Nieselt and Johannes Krause: Inferring genetic origins and phenotypic traits of George Bähr, the architect of the Dresden Frauenkirche , Scientific Reports 8 (2018).
  5. Klaus Günzel: The stone bell . In: The time . November 8, 2013, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed April 15, 2019]).
  6. Winner of the George Bähr Prize 2008 on: ( Memento from September 19, 2012 in the web archive )


  • Paul Gautsch:  Bähr, George . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, p. 768.
  • Otto Schubert:  Bähr, George. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , p. 518 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Angelica Dülberg: George Bähr - the Frauenkirche and civil building in Dresden. Exhibition in the Georgenbau of the Dresden Palace December 21, 2000 to March 4, 2001. Dresden 2000.
  • Horst Fischer: Research on George Bähr and the Saxon Baroque. I. and II. Part. Dissertation. Dresden 1967.
  • Siegfried Gerlach: George Bähr: The builder of the Dresden Frauenkirche. A picture of time. Böhlau, Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-412-22805-2 .
  • Werner Lange: The directed central building George Bährs. A contribution to the history of Saxon church building. Leipzig 1940.
  • Heinrich Magirius : The Dresden Frauenkirche by George Bähr. Origin and meaning. Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-87157-211-X .
  • Wilhelm Möllering: George Bähr, a Protestant church builder of the Baroque. Leipzig 1933.
  • Kurt W. Leucht: George Bähr - A life for a building. In: German architecture. Issue 2, year 1953, p. 75.

Web links

Commons : George Bähr  - Collection of images, videos and audio files