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[http://www.dresden.de/dwt/en/ '''Dresden'''] is the capital of the [[Germany|German]] federal state of [[Saxony]] (''Freistaat Sachsen'').
Located on the Elbe River and is an industrial, governmental and cultural centre, known worldwide for Bruehl's Terrace and its historic landmarks in the Old Town (Altstadt).
Dresden became a city in 1206 and celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006.
It was home to many Saxon princes and kings, the most famous of them being ''August der Starke'' (Augustus the Strong), whose kingdom included Poland as well. They appertained to the family of the Wettiner and were closely related to many other European royal families. Many buildings date from their reign
and especially the rich art collections are testimony of their extreme wealth. The "Madonna Sixtina" was for instance bought by the son of August the Strong.
[[Image:PC280033b.jpg|thumb|200px|Dresden's most famous landmark, the '''Frauenkirche''' in winter.]]
The last Saxon king abdicated in 1918.
75% of the historical centre of Dresden was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945. These events have left deep scars on the
city and are still remembered each year with processions and ceremonies. More than 30,000 people died in the bombing - the exact number is unknown.
For many years the ruins and now the newly rebuilt Frauenkirche, with its
donated gold cupola from the UK, acted as a call for peace among the different nations of the world.
The historical centre is nowadays largely restored to its former glory, however some parts are still under reconstruction.
Dresden has about ten million tourists a year, most of them from Germany. The Zwinger was rebuilt in 1964, the Semper Opera house in 1985, and the now most famous landmark of Dresden, the Frauenkirche, in 2005. When asked what they like most about their city, Dresden citizens will reply Old Town (which is quite compact, even though it has a lot of well-known attractions and museums of worldwide meaning), Dresden-Neustadt (an alternative central quarter) and the surroundings like the wine town [[Radebeul]], the climbing area [[Saxon Switzerland]], lots of castles, and most of the city landscape of about 80 quarters.
The level of international tourism is growing, especially from the US and China since Dresden is a stop between [[Prague]] and [[Berlin]]. Architecturally,
Blasewitz is the most interesting living quarter, despite it being a hilly landscape.
Some people think that the sand stone buildings look black because of burnings or
polution. This is not true. Sandstone turns naturally dark after a while. You can see the dark stones as well in the near by saxon switzerland and on pictures of Dresden from the 18th Century, where the sandstone-buildings are black as well.
Dresden lies in the former German Democratic Republic and the GDR architecture is still
well visible in the city. In the city center The "Prager Straße" and the "Kulturpalast" are examples for classical GDR architecture. If you leave the center you will find a lot of appartment blocks, called "Plattenbau" as they are typical in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Traces of World War II are not visible in the city anymore.
[http://www.dresden.aero '''Dresden-Klotzsche Airport'''] is located north of the city and can be reached by bus (line 77 and 97) and tram line 7 (change for the bus at tram station ''Infineon Nord''). Even faster is the connection with local train lines (''S-Bahn'', line S2) which takes 21 minutes to reach the main station.
Flights leave to nearly all important German cities and a few European destinations, like [[Moscow]] and [[Zurich]] (not [[London]]). The emergence of low-frills airlines
[http://www.germanwings.de ''Germanwings''] and [http://www.airberlin.de ''Air Berlin''] has led to reduced fares to [[Cologne]], [[Düsseldorf]] , [[Stuttgart ]] and [[Munich]]. [http://www.lufthansa.com ''Lufthansa''] operates to most domestic destinations.
Dresden is served by two big train stations, one on the northern side of the Elbe, '''Dresden Neustadt''', and one on the southern side of the Elbe, '''Dresden Hauptbahnhof''' or "main railway station". Be sure to check if your train is really leaving/going to Dresden Hauptbahnhof or to Dresden Neustadt.
The ''Dresden Hauptbahnhof'' is situated at the southern end of Dresden's main shopping street, Prager Straße, and
in short walking distance from most central attractions in Old Town. It is very well connected with the local bus and tram network and can be reached very quickly from nearly everywhere, also at night time. Trains to nearby towns, such as [[Meissen]] and [[Pirna]] run till around midnight. Regular trains leave the main train station for the rest of Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) and to Prague, Budapest and Wroclaw.
The other big train station called ''Dresden-Neustadt'' is located just north of the New Town and also offers very good train connections, as most trains run through there, too. Some trains even terminate there and not at the main train station. Dresden-Neustadt is also easily accessible by tram or car.
berlinlinienbus. de ''' BerlinLinienbus'''] operates seven to eight buses from Berlin to Dresden on a daily basis. The central bus station is at Hauptbahnhof station and some of the buses stop at Schlesischer Platz in front of the Neustadt station.
http:// meinfernbus. de/ ''' Mein Fern Bus'''] also connects Dresden from Berlin and several other destinations. Cost from €7 single.
===By bus and tram===
There is a combined system of
tram (''Straßenbahn''), bus and even train, but no underground trains. It works very well and connects all points of interest, but can be a little busy at peak times. Most lines run at night but with less capacity. This allows you to go out to most places or restaurants without the necessity to use a car, including to far flung places like [[Pillnitz]]. See [http://www.dvb.de/en/Homepage/ Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB) website].
Best is to get yourself a Day Ticket (€6.00) or, for families, a Family Day Ticket (€8.50). It allows you to ride on all trams, buses, most ferries and trains (except InterCitys and ICEs). It is relatively cheap and valid until the next day at 04:00. You can also get a ticket limited to an hour and some others, but Day Tickets are
good if you are travelling around and not sure where you will be going and what you will be doing.
As with most places in Germany, the public transit operates on the honour system: you are assumed to have a ticket, and there are a few inspectors out spot checking. The exception is on the buses after 20:00, when the drivers are required to see all tickets.
The street network is very good and many roads have been refurbished recently, especially in the city centre. As in all bigger towns it can be a bit crowded during rush hours. There are many parking lots in downtown Dresden and it should not be a problem to find a place to park, except on
Saturdays when everyone goes to town for shopping. A number of automatic signs have been created, showing you the available number of free parking spaces , before entering the parking lots. Shops are open c. 10:00-20:00 and you will see a lot of tourists and locals going shopping in the city centre. Please beware of them when driving and note that this is the time with the fewest available parking spots. Car drivers might seem to be a little more aggressive than in other countries, but are usually more friendly if you don't have a local registration number.
* <see name="Dresden Neustadt" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Very nice, lively neighbourhood. Part alternative, part "pseudo-exclusive" and expensive. Check out the ''Bunte Republik Neustadt'' festival in June. But you shouldn't leave your bicycle unattended without a good lock, as there can be a serious risk of damage to your bicycle as well as your car, especially on weekend nights.</see>
* <see name="Dresden Baroque Quarter" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Real baroque houses. The quarter reaches from the "
Heinrichstrasse" up to the "Albert Platz". On the Heinrichstrasse and in the surroundings you will find a lot of antique stores. It is the quarter where you will find different nice and small shops where the owner will serve you. It is the quarter of individuality.</see>
* <see name="Elbwiesen (River Banks)" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Go to the (mostly) green river banks, especially in hot summer evenings/nights for a very nice view of the old parts and lot of people playing sports, having barbecues and parties. There are often big concerts and a huge movie screen offers "outdoor cinema."
* <see name="Schwebebahn Dresden" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.dvb.de/en/Recreation-Tourism/Cable-Cars/" hours="" price="">A unique aerial tramway.</see>
* <see name="Gläserne Manufaktur (Transparent Factory)" alt="" address="Lennestr. 1" directions="" phone="+49 18 0589-6268" url="http://www.glaesernemanufaktur.de/en/" hours="M-F 08:00-20:00" price="Tour: €5" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">The transparent factory is the site where Volkswagen
builds its luxury sedan Phaeton. There is a tour (English language) offered by Volkswagen. </see>
* <see name="Pfunds Molkerei" alt="" address="Bautzner Straße 79" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.pfunds.de/" hours="" price="">A milk store which is in the Guinness Book as the most beautiful milk store in the world. Decorated with 247.90 square meters of handmade tiles.</see>
*'''Hellmuts''' [http://http://www.hellmuts.de/], Eschenstrasse 11, 01097 Dresden. Part of Rosis Amüsierlokal [http://http://www.rosis-dresden.de] and maybe the craziest restaurant in the Neustadt. It's a mixture of asian, rock'n'roll and classic german trash interior. Besides that, maybe the best burgers in town. At least the biggest. Cheaper prices for drinks and food on mondays.Vegan and vegetarian food available. Open 5pm to 1am.
The '''Weiße Gasse''' is just around the corner of the '''Altmarkt''' near the shopping center and the historical town. Good alternative, if you do not want to go to the Neustadt.
* '''Hebeda's''' [http://hebedas.de/] Rothenburger Str. 30, This pub is quite popular for the locals, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The old East German furniture gives it a cozy and retro feel. Beer is cheap and there's a small dance floor for those who feel like dancing.
* '''Katy's Garage''' [http://www.katysgarage.de/index1.html], Alaunstrasse. 48, If you're walking around Neustadt, you can't miss the beer garden at Katy's Garage. It's a great place to have a drink when it's warm outside. When the beer garden closes at around 10PM, you can make your way into their night club, which consists mostly of rock music.
* '''Mondpalast''', Louisenstraße 77, Tel. +49-351-5634050, [http://www.mondpalast.de]. Very clean and bright rooms starting at cheap 10 bed dorm rooms up to ensuite doubles with balcony and TV. Offers a lounge and bar, as well as a self service kitchen.
* [[Saxon Switzerland]] (Sächsische Schweiz) upstream along the river Elbe is a national park for hiking and rock-climbing ([http://www.saechsische-schweiz.de/] is available in English while [http://www.nationalpark-saechsische-schweiz.de/] is the official site)
* [[Bastei]] - Footbridge and fortress ruins high above the Elbe river valley with beautiful views of the valley, rock formations and towns below. The Bastei bridge is approximately 40km from Dresden. A good day trip can include the Bastei and the [[Königstein|Königstein Fortress]]