Dresden, Germany, a city in the state of Saxony. It lies on the Elbe River, about 100 miles (160 km) south of Berlin. Dresden is a major industrial city, known particularly for its engineering, optical, and chemical industries. The type of porcelain known as Dresden china is produced in the nearby city of Meissen. Dresden is also a rail and river transportation hub.
For centuries Dresden has been a leading German cultural center. Included in its many art collections are the old masters housed in the Zwinger, an enormous 18th-century baroque palace. The city has an opera company and symphony orchestra. The leading institution of higher learning is the Technical University of Dresden.
Dresden was founded around 1200 and grew to be an important medieval trade center. It became a royal residence and capital of Saxony in 1485, which further prompted growth. Probably its greatest era came in the late 17th and the 18th century, when many outstanding buildings were constructed for Saxon rulers; Dresden became one of Europe's most beautiful cities. It was occupied twice by the Prussians in the mid-1700's and was the scene of Napoleon's last victory—the Battle of Dresden, 1813. In 1945, near the end of World War II, the city was almost completely destroyed by a devastating Allied air raid, causing enormous loss of life. Dresden was occupied by the Russians after the war and became part of East Germany in 1949.