Dresden in Sachsen, Eastern Germany became a city in 1206 and celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006. It was home to many Saxon kings, the most famous being August der Starke. They appertained to the family of the Wettiner and were closely related to other European royal families. Many buildings date from their reign and rich art collections are testimony of their extreme wealth. The last Saxon king abdicated in 1918. In 1945, the historical center of Dresden was 75% destroyed by Allied bombings. These events are deeply marked in the city’s history and are still remembered annually in processions and ceremonies. More than 30,000 people died in the bombings – 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 nations of the earth. The historical center has been largely restored to its former glory, parts are still under reconstruction. Dresden gets 10 million tourists a year, mostly from other parts of Germany, but international tourism is growing, particularly from China and the USA, as Dresden is a convenient stop between Berlin and Prague. It lies in the former DDR (German Democratic Republic) and DDR architecture is still well visible. In the city center, the “Prager Straße” and the “Kulturpalast” are examples for classical DDR architecture. If you leave the center you will find a lot of apartment blocks, called “Plattenbau”, as they were and are typical for Eastern Europe of the Communist era.