Place:Dresden, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany


Alt namesDresden-Altstadtsource: FHLC
Dresdesource: Rand McNally Atlas (1994) I-48
Drezdanesource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) I, 252
Ďrežd'anesource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) IV, 221
TypeCapital City
Coordinates51.05°N 13.75°E
Located inDresden, Sachsen, Germany
Contained Places
City district
Dresden-Altstadt ( 1300's - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Dresden (; Upper Saxon: Dräsdn; ) is the capital city of the German state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the 12th most populous city of Germany, the fourth largest by area (after Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne), and the third most populous city in the area of former East Germany, after Berlin and Leipzig. Dresden's urban area comprises the towns of Freital, Pirna, Radebeul, Meißen (Meissen), Coswig, Radeberg and Heidenau and has around 790,000 inhabitants. The Dresden metropolitan area has approximately 1.34 million inhabitants.

Dresden is the second largest city on the River Elbe after Hamburg. Most of the city's population lives in the Elbe Valley, but a large, albeit very sparsely populated area of the city east of the Elbe lies in the West Lusatian Hill Country and Uplands (the westernmost part of the Sudetes) and thus in Lusatia. Many boroughs west of the Elbe lie in the foreland of the Ore Mountains, as well as in the valleys of the rivers rising there and flowing through Dresden, the longest of which are the Weißeritz and the Lockwitzbach. The name of the city as well as the names of most of its boroughs and rivers are of Sorbian origin.

Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor, and was once by personal union the family seat of Polish monarchs. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre. The controversial American and British bombing of Dresden in World War II towards the end of the war killed approximately 25,000 people, many of whom were civilians, and destroyed the entire city centre. After the war, restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city.

Since German reunification in 1990, Dresden has again become a cultural, educational and political centre of Germany. The Dresden University of Technology is one of the 10 largest universities in Germany and part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative. The economy of Dresden and its agglomeration is one of the most dynamic in Germany and ranks first in Saxony. It is dominated by high-tech branches, often called "Silicon Saxony". According to the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and Berenberg Bank in 2019, Dresden had the seventh best prospects for the future of all cities in Germany.

Dresden is one of the most visited cities in Germany with 4.7 million overnight stays per year. Its most prominent building is the Frauenkirche located at the Neumarkt. Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed during World War II. The remaining ruins were left for 50 years as a war memorial, before being rebuilt between 1994 and 2005. Other famous landmarks include the Zwinger, the Semperoper and the Dresden Castle. Furthermore, the city is home to the renowned Dresden State Art Collections, originating from the collections of the Saxon electors in the 16th century. Dresden's Striezelmarkt is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany and is considered the first genuine Christmas market in the world. Nearby sights include the National Park of Saxon Switzerland, the Ore Mountains and the countryside around Elbe Valley and Moritzburg Castle.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Although Dresden is a relatively recent city that grew from a Slavic village after Germans came to dominate the area, the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes c. 7500 BC. Dresden's founding and early growth is associated with the eastward expansion of Germanic peoples,[1] mining in the nearby Ore Mountains, and the establishment of the Margraviate of Meissen. Its name etymologically derives from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning "people of the forest", from Proto-Slavic *dręzga ("dense forest") from *drězgà ("murky space"). Dresden later evolved into the capital of Saxony.

Early history

Around the late 12th century, a Sorbian settlement called Drežďany (meaning either "woods" or "lowland forest-dweller") had developed on the southern bank. Another settlement existed on the northern bank, but its Slavic name is unknown. It was known as Antiqua Dresdin by 1350, and later as Altendresden,[2] both literally "old Dresden". Dietrich, Margrave of Meissen, chose Dresden as his interim residence in 1206, as documented in a record calling the place "Civitas Dresdene".

After 1270, Dresden became the capital of the margraviate. It was given to Friedrich Clem after death of Henry the Illustrious in 1288. It was taken by the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1316 and was restored to the Wettin dynasty after the death of Valdemar the Great in 1319. From 1485, it was the seat of the dukes of Saxony, and from 1547 the electors as well.

Early-modern age

The Elector and ruler of Saxony Frederick Augustus I became King Augustus II the Strong of Poland in 1697. He gathered many of the best musicians, architects and painters from all over Europe to Dresden. His reign marked the beginning of Dresden's emergence as a leading European city for technology and art. During the reign of Kings Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III of Poland most of the city's baroque landmarks were built. These include the Zwinger Royal Palace, the Japanese Palace, the Taschenbergpalais, the Pillnitz Castle and the two landmark churches: the Catholic Hofkirche and the Lutheran Frauenkirche. In addition, significant art collections and museums were founded. Notable examples include the Dresden Porcelain Collection, the Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, the Grünes Gewölbe and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon.

In 1726 there was a riot for two days after a Protestant clergyman was killed by a soldier who had recently converted from Catholicism. In 1745, the Treaty of Dresden between Prussia, Saxony, and Austria ended the Second Silesian War. Only a few years later, Dresden suffered heavy destruction in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), following its capture by Prussian forces, its subsequent re-capture, and a failed Prussian siege in 1760. Friedrich Schiller completed his Ode to Joy (the literary base of the European anthem) in Dresden in 1785.

19th and early 20th century

In 1806, Dresden became the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony established by Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars the French Emperor made it a base of operations, winning there the Battle of Dresden on 27 August 1813. As a result of the Congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Saxony became part of the German Confederation in 1815. Following the Polish uprisings of 1831, 1848 and 1863 many Poles fled to Dresden, among others composer Frédéric Chopin. Dresden itself was a centre of the German Revolutions in 1848 with the May Uprising, which cost human lives and damaged the historic town of Dresden. The uprising forced Frederick Augustus II of Saxony to flee from Dresden, but he soon after regained control over the city with the help of Prussia. In 1852, the population of Dresden grew to 100,000 inhabitants, making it one of the biggest cities within the German Confederation.

As the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony, Dresden became part of the newly founded German Empire in 1871. In the following years, the city became a major centre of economy, including motor car production, food processing, banking and the manufacture of medical equipment. In the early 20th century, Dresden was particularly well known for its camera works and its cigarette factories. During World War I, the city did not suffer any war damage, but lost many of its inhabitants. Between 1918 and 1934, Dresden was the capital of the first Free State of Saxony as well as a cultural and economic centre of the Weimar Republic. The city was also a centre of European modern art until 1933.

Military history

During the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, a large military facility called Albertstadt was built. It had a capacity of up to 20,000 military personnel at the beginning of the First World War. The garrison saw only limited use between 1918 and 1934, but was then reactivated in preparation for the Second World War.

Its usefulness was limited by attacks on 13–15 February and 17 April 1945, the former of which destroyed large areas of the city. However, the garrison itself was not specifically targeted. Soldiers had been deployed as late as March 1945 in the Albertstadt garrison.

The Albertstadt garrison became the headquarters of the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany after the war. Apart from the German army officers' school (Offizierschule des Heeres), there have been no more military units in Dresden since the army merger during German reunification, and the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1992. Nowadays, the Bundeswehr operates the Military History Museum of the Federal Republic of Germany in the former Albertstadt garrison.

Second World War

During the Nazi era from 1933 to 1945, the Jewish community of Dresden was reduced from over 6,000 (7,100 people were persecuted as Jews) to 41, mostly as a result of emigration, but later also deportation and murder. Non-Jews were also targeted, and over 1,300 people were executed by the Nazis at the Münchner Platz, a courthouse in Dresden, including labour leaders, undesirables, resistance fighters and anyone caught listening to foreign radio broadcasts. The bombing stopped prisoners who were busy digging a large hole into which an additional 4,000 prisoners were to be disposed of.

Dresden in the 20th century was a major communications hub and manufacturing centre with 127 factories and major workshops and was designated by the German military as a defensive strongpoint, with which to hinder the Soviet advance. Being the capital of the German state of Saxony, Dresden not only had garrisons but a whole military borough, the Albertstadt. This military complex, named after Saxon King Albert, was not specifically targeted in the bombing of Dresden, though it was within the expected area of destruction and was extensively damaged.

During the final months of the Second World War, Dresden harboured some 600,000 refugees, with a total population of . Dresden was attacked seven times between 1944 and 1945, and was occupied by the Red Army after the German capitulation.

The bombing of Dresden by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) between 13 and 15 February 1945 was controversial. On the night of 13–14 February 1945, 773 RAF Lancaster bombers dropped 1,181.6 tons of incendiary bombs and 1,477.7 tons of high explosive bombs, targeting the rail yards at the centre of the city. The inner city of Dresden was largely destroyed. The high explosive bombs damaged buildings and exposed their wooden structures, while the incendiaries ignited them, denying their use by retreating German troops and refugees. Widely quoted Nazi propaganda reports claimed 200,000 deaths, but the German Dresden Historians' Commission, made up of 13 prominent German historians, in an official 2010 report published after five years of research concluded that casualties numbered between 18,000 and 25,000. The Allies described the operation as the legitimate bombing of a military and industrial target.[3] Several researchers have argued that the February attacks were disproportionate. As a result of inadequate Nazi air raid measures for refugees, mostly women and children died.

American author Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five is loosely based on his first-hand experience of the raid as a POW. In remembrance of the victims, the anniversaries of the bombing of Dresden are marked with peace demonstrations, devotions and marches.

The destruction of Dresden allowed Hildebrand Gurlitt, a major Nazi museum director and art dealer, to hide a large collection of artwork worth over a billion dollars that had been stolen during the Nazi era, as he claimed it had been destroyed along with his house which was located in Dresden.


Following his military service the German press photographer and photojournalist Richard Peter returned to Dresden and began to document the ruined city. Among his best known works Blick auf Dresden vom Rathausturm (View of Dresden from the Rathus Tower). It has become one of the best known photographs of a ruined post-war Germany following its appearance in 1949 in his book Dresden, eine Kamera klagt an ("Dresden, a photographic accusation").

When a skeleton previously used as a model for drawing art classes was found in the ruins of the Dresden Art Academy the photographer Edmund Kesting with the assistance of Peter posed it in a number of different locations to produce a series of haunting photographic images to give the impression that Death was wandering through the city in search of the dead.[4] Kesting subsequently published them in the book Dresdner Totentanz (Dresden’s Death Dance)

The damage from the Allied air raids was so bad that following the end of the Second World War a narrow gauge light railway system was constructed to remove the debris, though being makeshift there were frequent derailments. This railway system which had seven lines, employed 5,000 staff and 40 locomotives, all of which bore women’s names. The last train remained in service until 1958, though the last official debris clearance team was only disbanded in 1977.[4]

Rather than repair them the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) authorities razed the ruins of many churches, royal buildings and palaces in the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Gothic Sophienkirche, the Alberttheater and the Wackerbarth-Palais as well as many historic residential buildings. The surroundings of the once lively Prager Straße resembled a wasteland before it was rebuilt in the socialist style at the beginning of the 1960s.

However compared to West Germany, the majority of historic buildings were saved. Among them were the Ständehaus (1946), the Augustusbrücke (1949), the Kreuzkirche (until 1955), the Zwinger (until 1963), the Catholic Court Church (until 1965), the Semperoper (until 1985), the Japanese Palace (until 1987) and the two largest train stations. Some of this work dragged on for decades often interrupted by the overall economic situation in the GDR. The ruins of the Frauenkirche were allowed to remain on Neumarkt as a memorial to the war.

While the Theater and Schloßplatz were rebuilt in accordance with the historical model in 1990, the Neumarkt remained completely undeveloped. On the other hand buildings of socialist classicism and spatial design and orientation according to socialist ideals (e.g. Kulturpalast) were built at the Altmarkt.

From 1955 to 1958, a large part of the art treasures looted by the Soviet Union was returned, which meant that from 1960 onwards many state art collections could be opened in reconstructed facilities or interim exhibitions. Important orchestras such as the Staatskapelle performed in alternative venues (for example in the Kulturpalast from 1969). Some cultural institutions were moved out of the city center (for example the state library in Albertstadt). The Outer Neustadt, which was almost undamaged during the war was threatened with demolition in the 1980s following years of neglect, but was preserved following public protests.

To house the homeless large prefabricated housing estates were built on previously undeveloped land In Prohlis and Gorbitz. Damaged housing in the Johannstadt and other areas in the city center were demolished and replaced with large apartment blocks. The villa districts in Blasewitz, Striesen, Kleinzschachwitz, Loschwitz and on the Weißen Hirsch were largely preserved.

Dresden became a major industrial centre in the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) with a great deal of research infrastructure. It was the centre of Bezirk Dresden (Dresden District) between 1952 and 1990. Many of the city's important historic buildings were reconstructed, including the Semper Opera House and the Zwinger Palace, although the city leaders chose to rebuild large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons, but also to break away from the city's past as the royal capital of Saxony and a stronghold of the German bourgeoisie.

Until the end of the Cold War, the 1st Armored Guard Army of the Soviet Army and the 7th Panzer Division of the National People's Army were stationed in and around Dresden. Following reunification in 1989, the Soviet / Russian troops were withdrawn from Germany in the early 1990s and the NVA dissolved in accordance with the provisions of the Two-Plus-Four Treaty of 1990.

From 1985 to 1990, the future President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was stationed in Dresden by the KGB, where he worked for Lazar Matveev, the senior KGB liaison officer there. On 3 October 1989 (the so-called "battle of Dresden"), a convoy of trains carrying East German refugees from Prague passed through Dresden on its way to the Federal Republic of Germany. Local activists and residents joined in the growing civil disobedience movement spreading across the German Democratic Republic, by staging demonstrations and demanding the removal of the communist government.


Dresden has experienced dramatic changes since the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s. The city still bears many wounds from the bombing raids of 1945, but it has undergone significant reconstruction in recent decades. Restoration of the Dresden Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church, the rebuilding of which was started after the reunification of Germany in 1994, was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden's 800th anniversary, notably by privately raised funds. The gold cross on the top of the church was funded officially by "the British people and the House of Windsor". The urban renewal process, which includes the reconstruction of the area around the Neumarkt square on which the Frauenkirche is situated, will continue for many decades, but public and government interest remains high, and there are numerous large projects underway—both historic reconstructions and modern plans—that will continue the city's recent architectural renaissance.

Dresden remains a major cultural centre of historical memory, owing to the city's destruction in World War II. Each year on 13 February, the anniversary of the British and American fire-bombing raid that destroyed most of the city, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather to commemorate the event. Since reunification, the ceremony has taken on a more neutral and pacifist tone (after being used more politically during the Cold War). Beginning in 1999, right-wing Neo-Nazi white nationalist groups have organised demonstrations in Dresden that have been among the largest of their type in the post-war history of Germany. Each year around the anniversary of the city's destruction, people convene in the memory of those who died in the fire-bombing.

The completion of the reconstructed Dresden Frauenkirche in 2005 marked the first step in rebuilding the Neumarkt area. The areas around the square have been divided into 8 "quarters", with each being rebuilt as a separate project, the majority of buildings to be rebuilt either to the original structure or at least with a facade similar to the original. The quarters I, II, IV, V, VI and VIII have since been completed, with quarter III and quarter VII still partly under construction in 2020.

In 2002, torrential rains caused the Elbe to flood above its normal height, i.e., even higher than the old record height from 1845, damaging many landmarks (see 2002 European floods). The destruction from this "millennium flood" is no longer visible, due to the speed of reconstruction.

The United Nations' cultural organization UNESCO declared the Dresden Elbe Valley to be a World Heritage Site in 2004. After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city lost the title in June 2009, due to the construction of the Waldschlößchenbrücke, making it only the second ever World Heritage Site to be removed from the register.[5][6] UNESCO stated in 2006 that the bridge would destroy the cultural landscape. The city council's legal moves, meant to prevent the bridge from being built, failed.

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