Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area with 2.4 million inhabitants. 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 splendour. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center. A controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II killed 25,000 civilians and destroyed the entire city center. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German communist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche. Since German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centers of Germany and Europe. The Dresden University of Technology is one of the 10 largest universities in Germany and part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative. Restoration of the Dresden Frauenkirche 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 paid for and donated by the City of Edinburgh as a mark of the bond between the two cities. 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.