Dresden is the capital city of Saxony. It was the third largest city in the former German Democratic Republic. Allied carpet-bombing raids in World War II virtually destroyed the city.
Dresden was originally known as Drezdzany, a Slavonic fishing village on the Elbe River that grew as two distinct settlements on opposite banks. A German colony was established on the south bank of the Elbe opposite a Slav settlement on the north bank. More recent settlements became known as Altstadt (Old Town) while the older Slav settlements, paradoxically, were known as Neustadt (New Town).
In the 11th century, Dresden was the power centre for Margrave Henry the Illustrious of Meissen. After his death it passed to the King of Bohemia. From the 15th century it became the residence of the Saxon Dukes and as such Dresden was the capital of an important Protestant territory and the centre of the most powerful German state after the Habsburg territories. It was during this period that...