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Aerial view of the city of Dresden

Dresden ( ) is the capital city of the Free State of Saxonymarker in Germanymarker. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near Czech bordermarker. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Trianglemarker metropolitan area.

Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxonymarker, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendour. The city was completely destroyed by the controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East Germanmarker socialist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirchemarker, the Semperopermarker and the Dresdner Frauenkirchemarker. Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has re-emerged as a cultural, educational, political and economic centre of Germany.

The Elbe Valley of Dresden was for five years an internationally recognised site of cultural significance by the UNESCOmarker World Heritage Committee. After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city had its status as world heritage site formally removed in June 2009, for the wilful breach of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, through the construction of a highway bridge across the valley within 2 km of the historic centre. It thereby became the first ever place in Europe to lose this status, and the second ever in the world.


Although Dresden is a younger city of Slavic origin, the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes ca. 7500 BC. Dresden's founding and early growth is associated with the eastward expansion of Germanic peoples, mining in the nearby Ore Mountainsmarker, and the establishment of the Margraviate of Meissen. Its name etymologically derives from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning people of the riverside forest. Dresden later evolved into the capital of Saxonymarker.

Early history

The Fürstenzug — the Saxon sovereigns.
Around the late 12th century, a Slavic settlement called Drežďany ("alluvial forest dwellers" ) had developed on the southern bank. Another settlement existed on the northern bank, but its Slavic name is unclear. It was known as Antiqua Dresdin verifiable since 1350 and later as Altendresden. 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 margravate. It was restored to the Wettin dynasty in about 1319. From 1485 it was the seat of the dukes of Saxony, and from 1547 the electors as well.

Modern age

The Elector and ruler of Saxony Frederick Augustus I became King August the Strong of Polandmarker in personal union. He gathered many of the best musicians, architects and painter from all over Europe to Dresden. His reign marked the beginning of Dresden's emergence as a leading European city for technology and art. Dresden suffered heavy destruction in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763). Friedrich Schiller wrote his Ode to Joy (the literary base of the European anthem) for the Dresden Masonic Lodge in 1785.

The city of Dresden had a distinctive silhouette, captured in famous paintings by Bernardo Bellotto and by Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl.

Between 1806 and 1918 the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Saxonymarker (which was a part of the German Empiremarker from 1871). During the Napoleonic Wars the French emperor made it a base of operations, winning there the famous Battle of Dresdenmarker on August 27 1813. Dresden was a center of the German Revolutions in 1849 with the May Uprising, which cost human lives and damaged the historic town of Dresden.

During the 19th century the city became a major centre of economy, including motor car production, food processing, banking and the manufacture of medical equipment. The city's population quadrupled from 95,000 in 1849 to 396,000 in 1900 as a result of industrialization.

In the early 20th century Dresden was particularly well-known for its camera works and its cigarette factories. Between 1918 and 1934 Dresden was capital of the first Free State of Saxony. Dresden was a center of European modern art until 1933.

Military history

The Schützenkaserne (pictured during a royal military parade in 1910) is the only building of the Albertstadt that was destroyed during the Second World War.

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 at 17 April 1945 on the railway network (especially towards Bohemia). 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 Museummarker of the Federal Republic of Germany in the former Albertstadt garrison.

Second World War

Dresden, 1945 — over ninety percent of the city centre was destroyed.

Dresden in the 20th century was a leading European centre of art, classical music, culture and science until its complete destruction on 13 February 1945. Being the capital of the German state of Saxonymarker, Dresden had not only garrisons but a whole military borough, the Albertstadt. This military complex, named after Saxon King Albert, was never targeted in the bombing of Dresden.

During the final months of World War II Dresden became a safe haven to some 600,000 refugees, including women, children, and wounded soldiers with a total population of 1.2 million. Dresden was attacked seven times between 1944 and 1945, and was completely occupied by the Red Army after German capitulation.

The bombing of Dresden by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force between 13 February and 15 February 1945, remains one of the more controversial Allied actions of the Western European theatre of war. The inner city of Dresden was largely destroyed by 800 RAF and USAAF bombers that let loose 650,000 incendiaries and 8,000 lb of high explosives and hundreds of 4,000 lb bombs in three waves of attacks — approximately one bomb for every two people. Early reports estimated 150,000 to 250,000 deaths but a recent commissioned report claims there were 25,000 civilian casualties.

The inhabited city centre was almost wiped out, while larger residential, industrial and military sites on the outskirts were relatively unscathed. Some of the Allies described the operation as the justified bombing of a military and industrial target. In a report from the British Bomber command it stated that the military target was the Railway Marshalling yard Dresden-Friedrichstadt which housed 4,000 trucks at most per 24 hours. Prime Minister Winston Churchill tried to distance himself from the attack, even though he was heavily involved with the organisation and planning of the raid. Several researchers have argued that the February attacks were disproportional. American novelist Kurt Vonnegut witnessed the raid as a POW; his novel Slaughterhouse-Five is based on that experience. In remembrance of the victims, the anniversaries of the bombing of Dresden are marked with peace demonstrations, devotions and marches.

Post-war period

After the Second World War, Dresden became a major industrial center in the German Democratic Republicmarker with a great deal of research infrastructure. Many important historic buildings were rebuilt including the Semper Opera Housemarker, the Zwingermarker Palace and a great many other historic buildings, although the city leaders chose to reconstruct large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons but also in order to break away from the city's past as the royal capital of Saxony and a stronghold of the German bourgeoisie. However, some of the bombed-out ruins of churches, royal buildings and palaces, such as the Gothic Sophienkirchemarker, the Alberttheater and the Wackerbarth-Palais were razed by the Soviet and East German authorities in the 1950s and 1960s instead of being repaired. Compared to West Germanymarker, the majority of historic buildings were saved.

From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Vladimir Putin, the future President of Russia, in Dresden. On 3 October 1989 (the so-called "battle of Dresden"), a convoy of trains carrying East German refugees from Praguemarker passed through Dresden on its way to the Federal Republic of Germanymarker. 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 non-democratic 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 Frauenkirchemarker was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden's 800th anniversary, notably by privately raised funds. The urban renewal process, which includes the reconstruction of the area around the Neumarkt squaremarker 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 center 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 in Cold War times). In recent years, however, white power skinheads have tried to use the event for their own political ends. In 2005, Dresden was host to the largest Neo-Nazi demonstration in the post-war history of Germany. Between five and eight thousand Neo-Nazis took part, mourning what they call the "Allied bomb-holocaust".

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 flood). The destruction from this "millennium flood" is no longer visible, due to the speed of reconstruction.

The United Nations' cultural organization UNESCOmarker declared the Dresden Elbe Valleymarker 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 Waldschlößchenbrückemarker, making it only the second ever World Heritage Site to be removed from the register. 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.

Coat of arms

On a golden shield showing a black lion to dexter and two black pales to sinister. The lion is looking to dexter and has a red tongue.



View over Dresden from the south-eastern slopes
Dresden lies on both banks of the river Elbe, mostly in the Dresden Basin, with the further reaches of the eastern Ore Mountainsmarker to the south, the steep slope of the Lusatian granitic crust to the north, and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to the east at an altitude of about 113 meters. The highest point of Dresden is about 384 meters in altitude.

With a pleasant location and a mild climate on the Elbe, as well as Baroque-style architecture and numerous world-renowned museums and art collections, Dresden has been called "Elbflorenz" (Florence of the Elbe).The incorporation of neighboring rural communities over the past 60 years has made Dresden the fourth largest urban district by area in Germany after Berlinmarker, Hamburgmarker, and Cologne.

The nearest German cities are Chemnitzmarker (80 km/50 miles to the southwest), Leipzigmarker (100 km/ 62 miles to the northwest) and Berlinmarker (200 km/ 124 miles to the north). Praguemarker is about 150 km/ 93 miles to the south; the Polish city of Wrocławmarker is about 200 km/ 124 miles to the east.

Greater Dresden, which includes the neighboring districts of Kamenz, Meißenmarker, Riesa-Großenhain, Sächsische Schweiz, Weißeritzkreis and part of the district of Bautzenmarker, has a population of around 1,250,000.


63% of Dresden is green areas.
Dresden claims to be one of the greenest cities in Europe, with 63% of the city being green areas and forests. The Dresdner Heide to the north is a forest 50 km² in size. There are four nature reserves. The additional Special Conservation Areas cover 18 km². The protected gardens, parkways, parks and old graveyards host 110 natural monuments in the city. The Dresden Elbe Valleymarker is a former world heritage site which is focused on the conservation of the cultural landscape in Dresden. One important part of that landscape is the Elbe meadows which cross the city, 20 kilometers long. Saxon Switzerland is an important nearby-location.


Winter time in Dresden.
Dresden has a cold-moderate to continental climate. The microclimate in the Elbe valley differs from that on the slopes and in the higher areas. Klotzsche, at 227 meters above sea level, hosts the Dresden weather station. The weather in Klotzsche is 1-3°C colder than in the inner city. In summer, temperatures in the city often remain at 20°C even at midnight.

The average temperature in January is −0.7°C and in July 18.1°C. Summers are hotter in Dresden and winters are colder than the German average. The inner city temperature is 10.2°C averaged over the year. The driest months are February and March, with precipitation of 40 mm. The wettest months are July and August, with 61 mm per month.

Flood protection

Elbe Flood in March 2006: Dresden is often endangered by manageable floods while disastrous events as like in 2002 or 1845 are not likely to happen twice within hundred years
Because of its location on the banks of the Elbe, into which some water sources from the Ore Mountains flow, flood protection is important. Large areas are kept free of buildings to provide a floodplain. Two additional trenches about 50 meters wide have been built to keep the inner city free of water from the Elbe river by dissipating the water downstream through the inner city's gorge portion. Flood regulation systems like detention basins and water reservoirs are almost all outside the city area.

The Weißeritzmarker, a normally rather small river suddenly ran directly into the main station of Dresden during the 2002 European floods.

However, many locations and areas have to be defended by walls and sheet pilings. A number of districts become waterlogged if the Elbe river is flooding some of its old bayous.

City structuring

Dresden is a spacious city. Its districts differ in their structure and appearance. Many parts still contain an old village core, while some quarters are almost completely preserved as rural settings. Other characteristic kinds of urban areas are the historic outskirts of the city, and the former suburbs with scattered housing. During the German Democratic Republic, many apartment blocks were built. The original parts of the city are almost all in the districts of Altstadt (Old town) and Neustadt (New town). Growing outside the city walls, the historic outskirts were built in the 18th century. They were planned and constructed on the orders of the Saxon monarchs, which is why the outskirts are often named after sovereigns. From the 19th century the city grew by incorporating other districts. Dresden has been divided into ten districts called "Ortsamtsbereich" and nine former boroughs ("Ortschaften") which have been incorporated.


The population of Dresden reached 100,000 inhabitants in 1852, making it the third German city to reach that number. The population peaked at 649,252 in 1933 but dropped to 450,000 in 1946 as the result of World War II during which large residential areas of the city were destroyed. After large incorporations and city restoration the population grew up to 522,532 again between 1950 and 1983.

Since German reunification demographic development has been very unsteady. The city has had to struggle with migration and suburbanization. The population was raised to 480,000 as a consequence of several incorporations during the 1990s but it fell to 452,827 in 1998. Between 2002 and 2007 the population grew quickly by more than 28,000 inhabitants due to a stabilized economy and reurbanization. Alongside Leipzigmarker, Dresden is one of the ten fastest-growing cities in Germany while the population of surrounding new federal states is still shrinking.

In Dresden, about 51.3% of the population is female. Foreigners account for about 4%. The mean age of the population is 43 years, which is the lowest among the urban districts in Saxony.


Dresden is one of Germany's 16 political centers and the capital of Saxony. It has institutions of democratic local self-administration that are independent from the capital functions. Some local affairs of Dresden receive national attention.

Dresden hosted some international summits such as the Petersburg Dialogue between Russia and Germany, the European Union's Minister of the Interior conference and the G8 labor ministers conference in recent years.

Municipality and city council

The City Council defines the basic principles of the municipality by decrees and statutes. The council gives orders to the "Bürgermeister" ("Burgomaster" or Mayor) by voting for resolutions and thus has some executive power.

Currently, there is no stable governing majority on Dresden city council.

The Supreme Burgomaster is directly elected by the citizens for a term of seven years. Executive functions are normally elected indirectly in Germany. However, the Supreme Burgomaster shares numerous executive rights with the city council. He/She is the executive head of the municipality, and also the ceremonial representative of the city. The main departments of the municipality are managed by seven burgomasters.

Local affairs

Local affairs in Dresden often center around the urban development of the city and its spaces. Architecture and the design of public places is a controversial subject. Discussions about the Waldschlößchenbrückemarker, a planned bridge across Elbe, received international attention because of its position across the Dresden Elbe Valleymarker World Heritage Site. Opponents of the bridge are concerned that its construction would cause the loss of World Heritage site status. The city held a public referendum in 2005 on whether to build the bridge, prior to UNESCO expressing doubts about the compatibility between bridge and heritage.

In 2006 Dresden sold its publicly subsidized housing organization, WOBA Dresden GmbH, to the US-based private investment company Fortress Investment Group. The city received 987.1 million euro and paid off its remaining loans, making it the first large city in Germany to become debt-free. Opponents of the sale were concerned about Dresden's loss of control over the subsidized housing market.

The construction of a new football stadium has been in planning for several years. The start date for upgrading the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadionmarker into a single use football stadium with a capacity of 32,770 was November 2007.

International relations

Removal of UNESCO World Heritage status

Dresden Elbe Valleymarker that obtained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004 was placed on the list of endangered World Heritage sites in 2007. In 2009, Dresden had its status as UNESCO World Heritage formally removed for the destruction of world heritage through the building a controversial highway bridge across the site.

Twin towns - Sister cities

Along with its twin city Coventrymarker, Dresden was one of the first two cities to twin with a foreign city. Similar symbolism occurred in 1988, when Dresden twinned with the Dutchmarker city of Rotterdammarker. The cities became twins after World War II in an act of reconciliation, as they had suffered incisive destructions from bombings. The Coventry Blitz and Rotterdam Blitz bombardments of the German Luftwaffe are also considered to be disproportional. Dresden has a triangular partnership with Saint Petersburgmarker and Hamburgmarker since 1987. Dresden has twelve twin cities.

Culture and architecture

Dresden is seeking to regain the kind of cultural importance it held from the 19th century up until the 1920s when it was a centre of art, architecture and music. Richard Wagner had a number of his works performed for the first time in Dresden. During that period, other famous artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka, Richard Strauss, Gottfried Semper and Gret Palucca were active in the city. Dresden is also home to several important art collections, world-famous musical ensembles, and significant buildings from various architectural periods, many of which were rebuilt after the destruction of the Second World War.


The stage of the Saxon State Opera, completely rebuilt during the German Democratic Republic and reopened in 1985
The Saxon State Opera descends from the opera company of the former electors and Kings of Saxony in the Semperopermarker. After being completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war, it was rebuilt by the German Democratic Republic. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548. The Dresden State Theatre runs a number of smaller theaters. The Dresden State Operetta is the only independent operetta in Germany. The Herkuleskeule (Hercules club) is an important site in German-speaking political cabaret.

There are several choirs in Dresden, the best-known of which is the Dresdner Kreuzchor (Choir of The Holy Cross). It is a boy's choir drawn from pupils of the Kreuzschule and was founded in the 13th century. The Dresdner Kapellknaben are not related to the Staatskapelle but to the former Hofkapelle, the Catholic cathedral, since 1980. The Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra is the orchestra of the city of Dresden.

Throughout the summer the outdoor concert series "Zwingerkonzerte und Mehr" is held in the Zwingerhof. Performances include dance and music.

In summer 2006, as part of Dresden's 800th anniversary celebrations, the Pet Shop Boys performed together with the Dresdner Sinfoniker (symphony orchestra) on the pedestrian mall at Prager Straße. The backdrop for the performance was a GDR-era concrete apartment block upon which a light show was displayed.

A big event each year in June is the Bunte Republik Neustadt.

Museums, presentations and collections

[[File:Mohr mit Smaragdstufe Grünes Gewölbe Dresden.jpg|thumb|100px|"Moor with emerald plate" byBalthasar Permoser in the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) which is the former royal Schatzkammermarker or treasury]]Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which are, according to the institution's own statements place it among the most important museums presently in existence. The art collections consist of eleven museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meistermarker and the Grünes Gewölbemarker are the best known.

Other museums and collections owned by the Free State of Saxony in Dresden are:
  • The Deutsche Hygiene-Museum, founded for mass education in hygiene, health, human biology and medicine
  • The Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte (State Museum of Prehistory)
  • The Staatliche Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden (State Collection of Natural History)
  • The Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden (Museum of Ethnology)
  • The "Universitätssammlung Kunst + Technik" (Collection of Art and Technology of the Dresden University of Technology)
  • Verkehrsmuseum Dresden (Transport Museum)

The Dresden City Museum is run by the city of Dresden and focused on the city's history. The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehrmarker is in the former garrison in the Albertstadt.

The Botanischer Garten der Technischen Universität Dresdenmarker is a botanical garden maintained by the Dresden University of Technologymarker.


Although Dresden is often said to be a Baroque city, its architecture is influenced by more than one style. Other eras of importance are the Renaissance and Historism as well as the contemporary styles of Modernism and Postmodernism.

Dresden has some 13 000 cultural monuments enlisted and eight districts under general preservation orders defined.

Royal household

Bridge at the Kronentor (crowned gate) of the Zwinger Palace.
The royal buildings are among the most impressive buildings in Dresden. The Dresden Castlemarker was once the home of the princely and royal household since 1485. The wings of the building have been renewed, built upon and restored many times. Due to this integration of styles, the castle is made up of elements of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist styles.

The Zwingermarker Palace is across the road from the castle. It was built on the old stronghold of the city and was converted to a center for the royal art collections and a place to hold festivals. Its gate (surmounted by a golden crown) by the moat is famous.

Other royal buildings and ensembles:

Sacred buildings

The Hofkirche

The Hofkirchemarker was the church of the royal household. Augustus the Strong, who desired to be King of Poland, converted to Catholicism, as the Polish kings had to be Catholic. At that time Dresden was strictly Protestant. Augustus the Strong ordered the building of the Hofkirche, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, to establish a sign of Roman Catholic religious importance in Dresden. The church is the cathedral "Sanctissimae Trinitatis" since 1980. The crypt of the Wettin Dynasty is located within the church.

In contrast to the Hofkirche, the Lutheran Frauenkirchemarker was built almost contemporaneously by the citizens of Dresden. It is said to be the greatest cupola building in Central and Northern Europe. The city's historic Kreuzkirche was reconsecrated in 1388.

There are also other churches in Dresden, for example a Russian Orthodox Church in the Südvorstadt district.

Contemporary architecture

The locally controversial UFA-Palast
Dresden has been an important site for the development of contemporary architecture for centuries, and this trend has continued into the 20th and 21st centuries.

Historicist buildings made their presence felt on the cityscape until the 1920s sampled by public buildings such as the Staatskanzleimarker or the City Hall. One of the youngest buildings of that era is the Hygiene Museum, which is designed in an impressively monumental style but employs plain facades and simple structures. It is often attributed, wrongly, to the Bauhaus school.

Most of the present cityscape of Dresden was built up after 1945, a mix of reconstructed or repaired old buildings and new buildings in the modern and postmodern styles. Important buildings erected between 1945 and 1990 are the Centrum-Warenhaus (a large department store) representing the international style, the Kulturpalast, and a lot of smaller and two bigger complexes of Plattenbau housing, while there is also housing dating from the era of Stalinist architecture.
The New Synagogue

After 1990 and German reunification, new styles emerged. Important contemporary buildings include the New Synagoguemarker, a postmodern building with few windows, the Transparent Factorymarker, the Saxon State Parliament and the New Terrace, the UFA-Kristallpalast cinema by Coop Himmelbau (one of the biggest buildings of Deconstructivism in Germany), and the Saxon State Librarymarker. Daniel Libeskind and Norman Foster both modified existing buildings. Foster roofed the main railway station with translucent Teflon-coated synthetics. Libeskind changed the whole structure of the Military History Museum by placing a wedge through the historicist arsenal building.

Other buildings

Other buildings include important bridges crossing the Elbe river, the Blaues Wundermarker bridge and the Augustusbrücke, which is on the site of the oldest bridge in Dresden.

There are about 300 fountains and springs, many of them in parks or squares. The wells serve only a decorative function, since there is a fresh water system in Dresden. Springs and fountains are also elements in contemporary cityspaces.

The most famous sculpture in Dresden is Jean-Joseph Vinache's golden equestrian sculpture of August the Strong called the Goldener Reiter (Golden Cavalier) on the Neustädter Markt square. It shows August at the beginning of the Hauptstraße (Main street) on his way to Warsaw, where he was King of Poland in personal union. Another sculpture is the memorial of Martin Luther in front of the Frauenkirche.

Dresden-Hellerau — Germany's first garden city

The Garden City of Helleraumarker, at that time a suburb of Dresden, was founded in 1909. In 1911 Heinrich Tessenow built the Hellerau Festspielhausmarker (festival theatre) and Hellerau became a centre of modernism with international standing until the outbreak of World War I.

In 1950 Hellerau was incorporated into the city of Dresden. Today the Hellerau reform architecture is recognised as exemplary. In the 1990s the garden city of Hellerau became a conservation area.

Living quarters

Dresden's urban parts are subdivided in rather a lot of city quarters, up to around 100, among them relatively many larger villa quarters dominated by historic multiple dwelling units, especially but not only along the river, most known are Blasewitzmarker, Loschwitzmarker and Pillnitzmarker. Also some Art Nouveau living quarters and two bigger quarters typical for communist architecture - but much renovated - can be found. The villa town of Radebeulmarker joins the Dresden city tram system, which is due to the lack of an underground system rather expanded.

Cinemas and cinematics

There are several small cinemas presenting cult films and low-budget or low-profile films chosen for their cultural value. Dresden also has a couple of multiplex cinemas, of which the Rundkino is the oldest.

Dresden has been a centre for the production of animated films and optical cinematic techniques. The Dresden Filmfest hosts a competition for short films which is among the best-endowed competitions in Europe.


Dresden is home to Dynamo Dresden which had a tradition in UEFA club competitions up to the early 1990s. Dynamo Dresden won eight titles in the DDR-Oberliga. Currently the club is a founding member of the 3rd Liga after some seasons in the Fußball-Bundesliga and 2. Fußball-Bundesliga.

In the early 20th century, the city was represented by Dresdner SC, who were one of Germany's most successful clubs in football. Their best days coming during World War II, when they were twice German Champions, and twice Cup winners. Dresdner SC is a multisport club. While its football team plays in the sixth-tier Landesliga Sachsen, its volleyball section has a team in the women's Bundesliga. Dresden has a third football team SC Borea Dresden.ESC Dresdner Eislöwen is an Ice hockey club which is playing in the 2nd Bundesliga again. Dresden Monarchs are an American football team in the German Football League.

Major sport facilities in Dresden are the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadionmarker, the Heinz-Steyer-Stadion and the Freiberger Arena (Ice hockey).



The longest trams in Dresden set a record in length

The Bundesautobahn 4 (European route E40) crosses Dresden in the northwest from west to east. The Bundesautobahn 17 leaves the A4 in a south-eastern direction. In Dresden it begins to cross the Ore Mountains towards Prague. The Bundesautobahn 13 leaves from the three-point interchange "Dresden-Nord" and goes to Berlin. The A13 and the A17 are on the European route E55. Several Bundesstraße roads crossing or running through Dresden.

There are two main inter-city transit hubs in the railway network in Dresden: Dresden Hauptbahnhofmarker and Dresden-Neustadt railway stationmarker. The most important railway lines run to Berlin, Prague, Leipzig and Chemnitz. A commuter train system (Dresden S-Bahn) operates on three lines alongside the long-distance routes.

Dresden Airportmarker is the international airport of Dresden, located at the north-western outskirts of the town. Its infrastructure has been improved with new terminals and a motorway access route.


Dresden has a large tramway network operated by the Dresden Transport Authority. Because the geological bedrock does not allow the building of underground railways, the tramway is an important form of public transport. The Transport Authority operates twelve lines on a 200 km network. Many of the new low-floor vehicles are up to 45 metres long and produced by Bombardier Transportation in Bautzenmarker. While many of the system's lines are on reserved track (often sown with grass to avoid noise), many tracks still run on the streets, especially in the inner city.

The CarGoTram is a tram that supplies Volkswagen's Transparent Factorymarker, crossing the city. The transparent factory is located not far from the city centre next to the city's largest park.

Public utilities

Dresden is the capital of a German Land (federal state). It is home to the Landtag of Saxonymarker and the ministries of the Saxon Government. The controlling Constitutional Court of Saxony is in Leipzig. The highest Saxon court in civil and criminal law, the Higher Regional Court of Saxony, has its home in Dresden.

Most of the Saxon state authorities are located in Dresden. Dresden is home to the Regional Commission of the Dresden Regierungsbezirkmarker, which is a controlling authority for the Saxon Government. It has jurisdiction over eight rural districts, two urban districts and the city of Dresden.

Like many cities in Germany, Dresden is also home to a local court, has a trade corporation and a Chamber of Industry and Trade and many subsidiaries of federal agencies (such as the Federal Labour Office or the Federal Agency for Technical Relief). It also hosts some subdepartments of the German Customs and the eastern Federal Waterways Directorate.

Dresden is also home to a military subdistrict command but no longer has large military units as it did in the past. Dresden is the traditional location for army officer schooling in Germany, today carried out in the Offizierschule des Heeres.


Factories of AMD
The International Congress Centre Dresden

In 1990 Dresden — an important industrial centre of the German Democratic Republic — had to struggle with the economic collapse of the Soviet Unionmarker and the other export markets in Eastern Europe. The German Democratic Republic had been the richest eastern bloc country but was faced with competition from the Federal Republic of Germany after reunification. After 1990 a completely new law and currency system was introduced in the wake of the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and eastern Germany's infrastructure was largely rebuilt with funds from the Federal Republic of Germany. Dresden as a major urban centre has developed much faster and more consistently than most other regions in the former German Democratic Republic, but the city still faces many social and economic problems stemming from the collapse of the former system, including high unemployment levels.

Until famous enterprises like Dresdner Bank left Dresden in the communist era to avoid nationalisation, Dresden was one of the most important German cities. The period of the GDRmarker until 1990 was characterised by low economic growth in comparison to western German cities. The enterprises and production sites broke down almost completely as they entered the social market economy. Since then the economy of Dresden has been recovering.

The unemployment rate fluctuates between 13% and 15% and is still relatively high. Nevertheless, Dresden has developed faster than the average for Eastern Germany and has raised its GDP per capita to 31,100 euro, equal to the GDP per capita of some poor West German communities (the average of the 50 biggest cities is around 35,000 euro).

The economy of Dresden involves extensive public funding. Thanks to extensive public funding of technology, the proportion of highly-qualified workers is around 20%. Dresden is ranked among the best ten cities in Germany to live in.


Three major sectors dominates the Dresden economy:

The semiconductor industry was built up in 1969. Major enterprises today are AMDmarker's spin-off GlobalFoundries, Infineon Technologies (now partly owned by Qimonda), ZMDmarker and Toppan Photomasks. Their factories attract many suppliers of material and cleanroom technology enterprises to Dresden.

The pharmaceutical sector came up at the end of the 19th century. The Sächsisches Serumwerk Dresden (Saxon Serum Plant, Dresden), owned by GlaxoSmithKline, is a world leader in vaccine production. Another traditional pharmaceuticals producer is Arzneimittelwerke Dresden (Pharmaceutical Works, Dresden).

A third (traditional) branch is that of mechanical and electrical engineering. Major employers are the Volkswagen Transparent Factorymarker, EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerkemarker (Elbe Aircraft Works), Siemens and Linde-KCA-Dresden.

Tourism is another sector of the economy enjoying high revenue and many employees. There are 87 hotels in Dresden, a noted site for heritage tourism.


The media in Dresden include two major newspaper: the Sächsische Zeitung (Saxonian Newspaper, circulation around 300,000) and the Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (Dresden's Latest News, circulation around 50,000). Dresden has a broadcasting centre belonging to the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. The Dresdner Druck- und Verlagshaus (Dresden printing plant and publishing house) produces part of Spiegel's print run, among other newspapers and magazines.

Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden

Education and science


Dresden is home to a number of renowned universities, but among German cities it is a more recent location for academic education.

Other universities include the "Hochschule für Kirchenmusik", a school specialising in church music, the "Evangelische Hochschule für Sozialarbeit", an education institution for social work. The "Dresden International University" is a private postgraduate university, founded a few years ago in cooperation with the Dresden University of Technology.

Research institutes

Dresden also hosts many research institutes, some of which have gained an international standing. The domains of most importance are micro- and nanoelectronics, transport and infrastructure systems, material and photonic technology, and bio-engineering. The institutes are well connected among one other as well as with the academic education institutions.

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

The Max Planck Society focuses on fundamental research. In Dresden there are three Max Planck Institutes (MPI); the "MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Geneticsmarker", the "MPI for Chemical Physics of Solids" and the "MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems"

The Fraunhofer Society hosts institutes of applied research that also offer mission-oriented research to enterprises. With eleven institutions or parts of institutes, Dresden is the largest location of the Fraunhofer Society worldwide. The Fraunhofer Society has become an important factor in locatino decisions and is seen as a useful part of the "knowledge infrastructure".

The Leibniz-Gemeinschaft operates a research centre in Rossendorf, which is the largest complex of research facilities in Dresden, a short distance outside the urban areas. It still focuses on nuclear medicine. The "Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research" and the "Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research" are both in the material and high-technology domain, while the "Leibniz Institute for Ecological and Regional Development" is focused on more fundamental research into urban planning.

Higher secondary education

Dresden has 21 Gymnasien which prepare for a tertiary education. Five are private. The "Sächsisches Landesgymnasium für Musik" with a focus on music is supported by the State of Saxony, rather than by the city. There are some Berufliche Gymnasien which combine vocational education and secondary education and a Abendgymnasium which prepares higher education of adults avocational.


  1. Designated by article 2 of the Saxon Constitution
  2. Region Sachsendreieck: Map of the Sachsendreieck (Saxon triangle)
  3. "Prehistoric times". Retrieved April 24, 2007.
  4. Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam: Man-animal relationships in the Early Neolithic of Dresden (Saxony, Germany)
  5. Fritz Löffler, Das alte Dresden, Leipzig 1982, p.20
  6. Geschichtlicher Hintergrund des Jubiläums “600 Jahre Stadtrecht Altendresden” (German)
  7. Dresden in the Time of Zelenka and Hasse
  8. Rüdiger Nern, Erich Sachße, Bert Wawrzinek. Die Dresdner Albertstadt. Dresden, 1994; Albertstadt – sämtliche Militärbauten in Dresden. Dresden, 1880
  9. Air Force Historical Studies Office: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN including a list of all bombings
  10. Bergander, Götz. Dresden im Luftkrieg: Vorgeschichte-Zerstörung-Folgen, p. 251 ff. Verlag Böhlau 1994, ISBN 3412101931
  11. The carpet bombing of Dresden by the British and US forces is largely overlooked by historians who want to portray the heroic achievements of the Allied forces. However, many perceieve the actions of the RAF in particular to be as a direct retaliation for the destruction brought upon the ancient city of Coventry, whose medieval center was destroyed in earlier raids by the Luftwaffe. The bombing raid destroyed the 500 year old Cathedral along with almost all of the ancient centre of the city.
  12. name="USAFHSO_Analysis">Air Force Historical Studies Office: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE 14-15 FEBRUARY 1945 BOMBINGS OF DRESDEN including a list of all bombings
  13. Addison, Paul & Crang, Jeremy A. (eds.). Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden. Pimlico, 2006. ISBN 1-8441-3928-X. Chapter 9 p.194
  14. Dresden Elbe Valley, UNESCO World Heritage Register. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  15. Dresden loses UNESCO world heritage status, Deutsche Welle, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  16. Bridge takes Dresden off Unesco world heritage list, The Guardian, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  17. Weltkulturerbe: Unesco-Titel in Gefahr, Focus, 14 March 2007; accessed 15 May 2007
  18. Dresden is deleted from UNESCO’s World Heritage List, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 04 July 2009.
  19. Location, area, geographical data
  20. List of cities in Germany with more than 100,000 inhabitants
  21. Regionales Entwicklungskonzept Dresden: Map of Greater Dresden
  22. Dresden: Dresden—a Green city
  23. Deutscher Wetterdienst: Average of the period from 1961 to 1990
  24. Dresden: Einwohnerzahl
  25. Statistical office of the Free State of Saxony: Population and area of Saxony from 1815 on
  26. Dresden: Population
  27. Statistical office of the Free State of Saxony: Sachsen sind im Durchschnitt 45 Jahre alt - Dresdner am jüngsten, Hoyerswerdaer am ältesten (german)
  28. Gemeindeordnung für den Freistaat Sachsen (SächsGemO), §2
  29. City Council
  30. Dresden: City Council
  32. UNESCO: World Heritage Committee threatens to remove Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany) from World Heritage List
  33. Dresden: Selling of the WOBA Dresden GmbH (German)
  34. Sport1
  35. Semperoper: History of the Sächsische Staatskapelle
  36. Staatsoperette Dresden
  37. Kreuzchor
  38. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: Museums
  39. Deutsches Hygiene-Museum: Deutsches Hygiene-Museum – The Museum of Man
  40. State Museum of Prehistory
  41. Dresden: Monument preservation
  42. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: The History of the Royal Palace
  43. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: History of the Zwinger and Semperbau
  44. Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen: Kathedrale Ss. Trinitatis in Dresden
  45. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kreuzkirchgemeinde Dresden: History of the Church of the Holy Cross
  46. Dresden Transport Authority: Profile
  47. Dresden Transport Authority: CarGoTram
  48. Sächsischer Landtag
  49. Oberlandesgericht Dresden
  50. Bundesagentur für Arbeit: Data and time series of the German labour market
  51. State Office for Statistics of the Free State of Saxony: Regional GDPs of 2004
  52. Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (organisation of an employer association): [1]
  53. Technische Universität Dresden: Profile of the TU Dresden
  54. University of Applied Sciences Dresden: press notice to the 2006 matriculation
  55. Fraunhofer Society: Institutes
  56. IPF
  57. IFW
  58. Official Dresden City Webpage

Further reading

  • Dresden: Tuesday, 13 February 1945 by Frederick Taylor, 2005; ISBN 0-7475-7084-1
  • Dresden and the Heavy Bombers: An RAF Navigator's Perspective by Frank Musgrove, 2005; ISBN 1-84415-194-8
  • Return to Dresden by Maria Ritter, 2004; ISBN 1-57806-596-8
  • Dresden: Heute/Today by Dieter Zumpe, 2003; ISBN 3-7913-2860-3
  • Destruction of Dresden by David Irving, 1972; ISBN 0-345-23032-9
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, 1970; ISBN 0-586-03328-9
  • "Disguised Visibilities: Dresden/"Dresden" by Mark Jarzombek in Memory and Architecture, Ed. By Eleni Bastea, (University of Mexico Press, 2004).
  • Preserve and Rebuild: Dresden during the Transformations of 1989-1990. Architecture, Citizens Initiatives and Local Identities by Victoria Knebel, 2007; ISBN 978-3-631-55954-3
  • La tutela del patrimonio culturale in caso di conflitto Fabio Maniscalco (editor), 2002; ISBN 88-87835-18-7

External links


Important institutions Tourism and business

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