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The eastern German city of Dresden is located in the Elbe river valley some 100 miles south of Berlin. The original Slav village of Drezdzen was settled on the north bank of the Elbe, and a German town was founded on the south bank in the early 13th century. The city was variously held by Bohemia, Brandenburg, and Meissen in the 14th century, then went to Saxony in 1489. It was leveled by fire in 1491, and was damaged in wars in 1756 and 1813, and notably in World War II when it was almost totally destroyed by bombing. In the 19th century Dresden grew and prospered, thanks to its railway connections to Leipzig and Berlin and the development of industries in its outlying areas. Before World War II it had hundreds of fine Baroque and Rococo buildings. After the war, restoration began around the Rococo museum the Zwinger , and the area outside was rebuilt along modern lines. The ruins of the Frauenkirche built 1726-1743 were left as a war memorial. Dresden is a cultural center with many museums and art galleries, a celebrated opera house, symphony orchestra, and state theater. It has many educational institutions including colleges of music, art, teaching, and medicine. There are also institutes for science and research. Local industry specializes in the manufacture of high-end products such as optical and precision instruments. It is a transportation hub with an airport, extensive rail connections, and connections via the Elbe river to distant places. The calculated population for 2005 was 480,801.
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