Photographed at Dresden, Germany.
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Dresden is the capital of the German federal state of Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen). Located on the Elbe River and is an industrial, governmental and cultural centre, known worldwide for Bruehl’s Terrace and its historic landmarks in the Old Town (Altstadt). Dresden became a city in 1206 and recently celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006. It was home to many Saxon princes and kings, the most famous of them being August der Starke (Augustus the Strong), whose kingdom included Poland as well. They appertained to the family of the Wettiner and were closely related to many other European royal families. Many buildings date from their reign and especially the rich art collections are testimony of their extreme wealth. The “Madonna Sixtina” was for instance bought by the son of August the Strong. The historical centre of Dresden was 75% destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945. These events are deeply marked in the history of the city and are still remembered each year in processions and ceremonies. More than 30,000 people died in the bombing – the exact number is unknown.
For many years the ruins and now the newly rebuilt Frauenkirche, with its donated gold cupola from the UK, acted as a call for peace among the different nations of the world. The historical centre is nowadays largely restored to its former glory, however some parts are still under reconstruction. Dresden has about ten million tourists a year, most of them from Germany. The Zwinger was rebuilt in 1964, the Semper Opera house in 1985, and the now most famous landmark of Dresden, the Frauenkirche, in 2005. When asked what they like most about their city, Dresden citizens will reply Old Town (which is quite compact, even though it has a lot of well-known attractions and museums of worldwide meaning), Dresden-Neustadt (an alternative central quarter) and the surroundings like the wine town Radebeul, the climbing area Saxon Switzerland, lots of castles, and most of the city landscape of about 80 quarters. The level of international tourism is growing, especially from the US and China since Dresden is a stop between Prague and Berlin. Architecturally, Blasewitz is the most interesting living quarter, despite it being a hilly landscape. The city can look a bit gloomy, as most of the pre-war buildings are still black and burnt, but this also is one of the attractions of the city, as there are not many other German cities – apart from Berlin – where evidence of WW2 is so visible.