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I think I understand the meaning of this sentence, but I don't understand how it's constructed.

I'm assuming ansteigen (to rise) is the verb, and ein Kuppeldach (a dome) is the subject and Nach der Mitte means 'towards the middle', but I don't understand the role of the words zu, sie or wie.

I'd really appreciate any help.

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What the hell... Is this a German sentence? - Das versteht kein Schwein... – Em1 Sep 6 '13 at 11:22
@Em1: The verb gives you orientation: Split into 3 pieces Nach der Mitte zu|stieg sie an|wie ein Kuppeldach, and that may help you to understand the structure – äüö Sep 6 '13 at 11:53
@Em1: Nach ... zu ist sehr literarisch (oder regional?), ansonsten geht's. Das Buch hat übrigens den Deutschen Jugendbuchpreis erhalten; es ist aber auch schon vierzig Jahre alt. – chirlu Sep 6 '13 at 12:12
@chirlu: 40 Jahre schon? Verdammt ... ;-) – alk Sep 7 '13 at 8:11
Es ist schon sehr traurig, wenn ein Satz von Muttersprachlern nicht mehr verstanden wird, nur weil eine Konstruktion etwas älter ist oder aus einer anderen Region stammt. – Carsten S Sep 7 '13 at 10:49
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The subject is sie (referring to something before that sentence).

Nach ... zu is a somewhat unusual synonym of zu ... hin; your translation "towards the middle" is fine (but consumes the zu as well).

Wie means "like". It introduces a description (by comparison) of the way in which the whatever rises: "like a dome".

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Some additional data. – Carsten S Sep 7 '13 at 10:52

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