Dresden is the capital city of the German federal state Saxony, and is nicknamed "Florence of the North". This title has its thanks to the many historic buildings in baroque style. Three quarters of the center of the city was destroyed by allied bombing in February 1945. During the communist era only a few buildings were restored, but after the fall of the Wall, a big restoration of the city was tackled. A large part of the center was restored to its former glory, although restorations are still being done.
The city has more than half a million inhabitants.
Dresden lies in the southeast of the former East-Germany, not far from the border of The Czech Republic. It is built on both banks of the Elbe river. The city lies 200 kilometers south of Berlin and 150 kilometers north of the Czech capital, Prague.
Just as many other cities in the former East-Germany, Dresden has been through a difficult economic time. Today, Dresden is an important center for micro electronics. The area offers work to about 40,000 people. The pharmaceutical industry also plays a major role (there is a large branch of GlaxoSmithKline). In the communistic era mechanical and electro engineering were already strongly represented. With aid from the state, the area was modernized. Tourism is also important: the city is mainly visited by Germans, but the amount of international visitors is growing.
Dresden-Klotzsche airport lies 9 kilometers northeast of the center (still in the city limits). The airport is easily accessible by rental car: follow the A4/A13 of the Bundesstraße B97. The exit to the airport is clearly signposted.
Dresden has an excellently integrated public transportation system, consisting of buses, trams, and city trains. On all these forms of transport you can travel with one ticket. The most convenient is the day pass that you can buy at various points in the city. The public transportation also operates during the night, but naturally with less frequency.
After the fall of the communism, not only buildings but also streets in Dresden were refurbished. You can easily drive around in your car in this cozy city. Also finding a parking space is no problem, except possibly on Saturdays, when many residents go downtown to do shopping. There is an automatic parking information system, which indicates where free spaces are available.
Dresden has a good supply of accommodation in all categories, from youth hostels to five star hotels. Seeing that the city is a popular location for large conferences, it is wise to book your hotel room well in advance. Furthermore, there are many campsites and places to park a camper close to the city.
For more information on Dresden, we recommend Google and the following sources: