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Dresden's old city center on the banks of the dried up river ElbeImage: AP

Dresden - A City Risen from the Ashes

July 13, 2004

Looking back on Dresden's historical development, it is remarkable that the city has recovered and developed into a thriving metropolis in the economically deprived region of eastern Germany. About 60 years ago, the situation was strikingly different. On Feb. 13, 1945 the baroque city center -- one of Germany's architectural jewels -- was completely destroyed when the Allies flew a devastating bombing attack killing more than 10,000 citizens and turning the city into a synonym for apocalyptic destruction.

In the years following the war, Dresden struggled to recover its old splendor, but 40 years under communist rule left their mark. After unification in 1990 the city was nearly restored when the next fatal disaster struck in 2002: The century's worst floods raged through the historic downtown, causing immense damage to the city and throwing renovation work back several years.

Today Dresden is back on its feet and more than completely restored. Throughout its turbulent and inimitable history, the city referred to as the "Florence on the Elbe," has withstood destruction and catastrophe to produce a unique combination of historical and modern features like the rebuilt Frauenkirche or the Semper Opera and high-tech enterprises or glass-encrusted automobile works.

DW-World has put together a collection of stories about this remarkable city.

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