Friday, August 14, 2015

Dresden: The Moschee-looking Building Along the River

On the south side of the Elbe River in the prominent Yenidze building.   From the distance, it's a unique looking building and you'd said right up was an Islamic Mosque structure., it's not.

Around the early part of the 1900s, this Jewish businessman (Hugo Zietz) had this growing tobacco and cigarette sales operation.  A lot of the tobacco that Hugo used for his maket.....came from what is Turkey. Somewhere in his travels.....he was impressed with the Islamic structures built in the region.

So, Hugo came back to Dresden for this idea of a new cigarette factory along the river.  The design started in 1907 and it was completed in 1909.  Renovation took place around fifteen years ago and it's still a prominent point in Dresden, with a large beer-garden operation on the side of it.

Oddly, it's a comical situation when you view the whole story.  Today?  Germans actually refer to the building as the "Tabakmoschee" (the tobacco Mosque).

The general story is that the city council got fairly upset with the whole idea of the factory in general being that close to the 'old-city' and culture zone.....but the Mosque-look just wound the city authority up another notch or two.  The Minarets?  Those are the two chimney-looking deals with cones over the top.  Well...they were actual chimneys and meant to hide the industrial side of the whole structure.....with smoke that would pour out of the Minaret-looking tops.

Hugo had one of the larger industrial operations in town and employed a thousand employees in this era of 1910.  Ninety percent of the employees?  Women.  Local historians note that Hugo paid a higher wage for the women, and had far better facilities (probably meaning bathrooms) than any other operation in town.  For all these reasons, and the threat that he might up and leave Dresden.....Hugo got his way to build this unique building.

The ownership of the company and Tabakmoschee?  Well....Hugo ran the operation successfully for fifteen years after it was built.  He sold it around 1925 and he died in 1927.  Not much is said over his last year or two, or the contributing factors of his death.  The sales profit of the company?  In 1925, it was valued at $4 million dollars.  Today, that value would be in the range of $600 to $700 million.  Oddly, he took the profits and moved them around to twenty-three different banks in Germany, Europe and the US.  After his death, it became a four-star taxation issue with various countries thinking they were deserved a piece of the pie.

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