Dresden Germany

Dresden Germany is the capital city of the state of Saxony and sits in an area that races back human habitation to the Neolithic period. In approximately 600 B.C., Germanic tribes settled in the Elbe river region. These settlers left about a thousand years later, making way for the Slavonic peoples who eventually founded Drezdany—a settlement where Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) currently stands. It's from Drezdany that the later settlement of Dresden would derive its name. There are some sections of the city —Zschertnitz and Gompitz—that show its Slavonic roots. Dresden's rich cultural heritage makes it a popular tourist site in Germany.

Perhaps the best way to start off a trip through Dresden is by taking a walk through the Old Town. Many of the main tourist attractions in Dresden Germany can be found under a mile from there. Old Town suffered heavy damage during World War II, but since reunification, efforts have been undertaken and Old Town is in the process of being restored to its former elegance.

Some of the highlights of Dresden travel include its many historic structures. Built during the eighteenth century, Zwinger Palace today houses several museums and contains more than 2000 paintings; the foremost among the paintings is the famous Sistine Madonna by Raphael. One can also find other relics of Saxony inside. Another of the popular tourist attractions in Dresden Germany is the Semper Opera House—a building that exemplifies neo-renaissance architecture. It was destroyed by fire in both 1869 and 1945, but the building that stands there today is an exact replica. Typically the only performances you'll see here are classic opera. If you're looking for contemporary works, you're best served to check out the Kleine Szene Theater.

The Frauenkirche is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dresden Germany. Designed by Dresden's architect—George Bähr, a master of the Baroque style—in the eighteenth century, the church featured an usually large 314-foot dome. The dome weighed 12,000 tons and contained no internal supports. However, the Frauenkirche was destroyed during World War II. Reconstruction was attempted throughout the years, but it wasn' until 1993 that the revival actually began. The price was steep, over $200 million, but by 2004 the outside of the church had been restored. The inside was due to be finished just in time for the city's 800-year-anniversary. Upon completion, the Frauenkirche further cemented its status as a great tourist site in Germany.

Perhaps the single greatest hardship suffered by the citizens of Dresden, Germany was the firebombing that took place toward the end of World War II. On Valentine's Day, 1945, Allied planes carpet bombed the Altstadt (Old Town). Dresden was not considered militarily strategic, but the allies unleashed a bombing campaign because the Soviet army was merely fifty miles east of the city. The bombing was to aid the advance of the Red Army. The goal was to create a fire storm amidst the factories and buildings and prevent German resistance. However, ideal weather conditions caused a massive inferno that gutted tens of thousands of buildings. Yet it is because of this damage, and the subsequent attempt at revival, that makes Dresden a popular tourist site in Germany.

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