Greetings and good health. News from the silken river

text: Falk Goernert

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a river called Elv or Labe. People flocked from near and far to settle on its banks. The first settlements were established, first on one side of the river and then on the other. Over the following centuries, more and more independent settlements followed, castle ramparts were erected, a merchant’s settlement was formed… People created and found a home. A town grew up and was given its name in a document. It became the seat of princes, a place of cultural prosperity and wealth for some and poverty for others. Fires ravaged the town. Later, various industries were established on its banks and beyond. The buildings grew taller. A new metal bridge was built over the river, old ones were maintained. And then the city was bombed and rebuilt… And the river watched these changes and developments on both its banks and knew of its prominent position in the construction of the cityscape. It flowed northwards, a sandy stream with floodplains, pastures and meadows along its banks. At irregular intervals, it had repeatedly stretched out its feelers, overflowed its banks and flowed into the streets and houses, as if it wanted to (re)take possession of the land or was simply looking to see what was going on.

And the people? Some cross the river countless times in their lives, on their way to work, when moving around the city, visiting friends… Others prefer to stay on their side and watch the water from a distance. The river, the city’s lifeline, is constantly moving through all of this. Sometimes it seems to catch the light on its surface, to play and dance with it, and sometimes it covers itself with a dark skin that is able to ward off any gaze. Almost from the very beginning, it has found its way into your conversations and stories. As the old saying goes, when you listen to a river, you sense a closeness.

“I walk around my neighbourhood and sit by the river. And you?”

“I’m about to set off back on my bike. This morning on my way to work, I bumped into the old man with his St Bernard again. The Elbe terraces seem to be his favourite. We have now started to greet each other with a nod of the head. Contact as a morning routine?”

“Well, sometimes I think the water calms people down and makes them friendlier to themselves and others. At least in their so-called free time. Durable?”

“Mhm… why not. What ancient Greek said: ‘Everything flows’?”

“Right: truism – everything is in flux.

” In the river!!! :-). A fortnight ago on a Sunday opposite Übigau Castle. A couple of guys with a barbecue and a hammock, next to them a family trying out dinghies. Above them the sun in full broadside.”

“And that’s not all: did I ever tell you about the herd of buffalo? Passing through at dawn on the Augustus Bridge?”

“And last winter I saw a polar bear on the meadow at Johannstädter Fährgarten. Totally normal! You just have to keep your eyes open!” “As I said, everything flows :-). And yes – the Elbe meadows. Like a big blanket for everyone.

Dresdner Nachbarschaften – sichtbar, vernetzt, engagiert!

Neighbourhoods are everywhere – we are right in the middle of it. With district walks, conversations in the green, creative workshops, exhibitions and much more.

Supported by

The project is funded by the State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion. This measure is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament within the framework of the state programme Integrative Maßnahmen.