History
Founded on the site of a Slavic fishing village, Dresden first appears in official records in 1206. From the 15th century onwards, the Dukes, Electors and later Kings of Saxony were resident here. The city has experienced magnificent triumph and horrific tragedy alike. A glittering fulcrum of European politics, commerce and culture in the 18th century, it would come to symbolise the apocalyptic devastation of war just two centuries later.

It was here in 1785 that Friedrich Schiller wrote "Ode to Joy", the lyrical foundation for the anthem of the European Union. The city grew exponentially in the decades after 1850, boosted by booming local industries in precision engineering, optical lenses, confectionary and cigarettes. The citizens constructed a new Town Hall, Opera House and any number of grand municipal buildings.

After the declaration of the German Empire in 1871, the city became home to a one of the biggest imperial garrisons, quartered in extensive purpose-built barracks. At the turn of the century, a population in excess of half a million made Dresden the fourth-largest city in the Empire. From 13-15 February 1945, area bombing raids by waves of British and American bombers rained thousands of tons of explosives and incendiary devices on the city, leaving much of it in ruins and reducing the Old Town to ashes within a matter of hours. The little that remained of old Dresden was demolished when the city was part of the GDR. A handful of historic buildings - the Zwinger Palace, the cathedral and Semper opera house - were preserved and restored. Dresden was also badly affected by freak flooding in August 2002, when many valuable cultural and historic landmarks were badly damaged.

Portrait
Dresden is the capital of the Free State of Saxony. Situated on both banks of the Elbe, it is Germany's fourth-biggest city by area. The attractive surrounding landscape and Mediterranean architecture earned Dresden the soubriquet "Florence on the Elbe". It is one of Europe's "greenest" cities with 63 percent of the land mass designated as parks, fields and forest. Grosse Garten, a park featuring elements of baroque styling and symmetrical pathways, is located close to the city centre.

The name Dresden is derived from the Slavic word for forest-dweller. The city has long been a prominent international artistic and cultural centre. The Semper opera house, constructed between 1871 and 1878 to plans drawn up by master builder Gottfried Semper, staged premieres of operas by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Largely destroyed in the war, the Semper opera was reconstructed between 1977 and 1985. The Old Masters Gallery in the Semper wing of the Zwinger Palace holds over 700 old master paintings, including the Sistine Madonna altarpiece by Raphael (Raffaelo Santi) from 1512-13.

The collection includes later works by Caspar David Friedrich and Max Liebermann. The Zwinger Palace, preserved in close to its original condition, was constructed in the baroque style between 1711 and 1722 on a disused part of the city fortress as a location for ceremonies and cultural exhibitions. Running along the banks of the Elbe in the city centre, some ten metres above the river, Brühl's Terrace is a reconstructed promenade with a number of historic structures. Dresden Castle was the residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony. The city's most famous landmark is the protestant Church of our Lady ( Frauenkirche), completely reconstructed with the assistance of donations from around the world and rededicated on 30 October 2005.

Sights:

  • Frauenkirche
  • Zwinger Palace
  • Semper opera house
  • Dresden Castle
  • Riverbank promanade

Football
Dynamo Dresden is the city's leading club. Once a police sports club, Dynamo were a major force in the GDR top flight, winning the championship eight times and the Cup seven times. Dynamo earned a Europe-wide reputation with victories over the likes of AS Roma and Juventus. After reunification, the club spent five seasons in the Bundesliga.

The club suffered compulsory relegation to the third tier in 1995. After a period of turbulence and varying fortunes, they are currently in the third division north, playing their home games at the Rudolf-Harbig stadium. Former Germany coach Helmut Schoen was born in Dresden, while "Dixi" Dorner, Ulf Kirsten and Matthias Sammer played for Dynamo.

President OC Venue 

  • Klaus Reichenbach (President Saxony Football Association)

Ambassadors

  • Stephanie Stumph
  • Matthias Sammer