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Dresden is the capital city of the German Federal Free State of Saxony. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe. The city's population is 500,000 (2006) and the population in greater Dresden is 1.25 million. Dresden is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area, with an overall population of over 3.2 million. Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with extraordinary cultural and artistic splendor. The controversial bombing of Dresden in World War II and 40 years within the Soviet bloc state of East Germany changed the face of the city dramatically. Since German re-unification, Dresden has emerged as a cultural, political, and economic centre in the eastern part of the Federal Republic of Germany.
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