Dresden is the capital of Saxony (Sachsen). It's often referred to locally as Elbflorenz, or "Florence on the Elbe", reflecting its location on the Elbe river and its historical role as a centre for the arts and beautiful architecture - much like Florence in Italy. While Florence flourished during the early renaissance, the Golden Age of Dresden was in the 18th century when, under August the Strong and his son, Friedrich August II, Saxony was a rich and important state and the rulers invested in lush architectural projects in their capital and supported artists of worldwide renown.
Dresden suffered catastrophic damage from Allied bombing in 1945 and then lost much of its remaining architectural heritage at the hands of East German city planners. However, the city has managed to resurrect some of its charm by rebuilding various landmarks. The reconstruction of the famous Frauenkirche was completed just in time for the what was marketed as the city's 800th birthday in 2006 (dated from the first mention in extant historical documents, as is common in Germany).
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