|Lloyd Reeds Map Collection|
|Flying Camera Satellite Images 2003|
Flying Camera Satellite Images 2003
AISEN, CHILE -- RAIN FOREST, STEPPE AND ETERNAL ICE
(Flying Camera Calendar, January, 2003)
S 47° 20', W 073° 40'
This part of western Patagonia is battered by heavy precipitation and fierce storms for more than 300 days each year. Nearly the entire region is covered with vegetation; rain forests dominate in the fjord areas and on the western slopes of the cordillera. Further inland, generally arid, eastern Patagonian brush-covered steppe and Argentinean pampa are the predominate forms of growth.
The Patagonian Codillera is a relatively young mountain range which was formed as a result of the upthrust of the Andes. Levels of seismic activity are, however, very low in contrast to the cordilleras of central Chile further to the north. Several thermal hot springs are indicative of remnants of volcanic activity in the region.
The coastal region is characterized by fjord-like sturctures, that is, distinctive glacial structures dating from the Pleistocene. Recent glaciers in the Camp de Hielo Norte (center) and Campo de Hielo Sur ice fields (southern edge of this view) bear witness to glaciation processes which took place during the Pleistocene. This is one of the largest ice masses found outside of the polar regions. A large glacial lobe stretches from Patagonia's highest peak, Cerro San Valentin (4,057 m), toward the west and down to Laguna San Rafael, nearly always shrouded in cloud cover, along the Taitao Peninsula. In order to protect endangered natural areas, Chile's largest national park, covering a total area of 1,742,000 ha and now a popular tourist attraction, was created. Large lakes, such as Lago General Carrera / Lago Buenos Aires, the second-largest and deepest lake in South America (upper right), have evolved from glacially impounded lakes. The expansive surface area of the lake produces a moderate microclimate and makes fruit and vegetable farming possible. Chile Chico, one the larger cities in the region, is also located here.
In addition to tourism, fishing, fish-farming and forestry comprise the primary sources of income for people who live in the extremely sparsley populated portion of Chile. The original inhabitants, Indian tribes such as the Chono, Caucahue and Tehuelche, were culturally assimilated by European colonial settlers to the area in the late 18th century.
NORDHORN: THE TRANSFORMATION OF A "TEXTILE-PRODUCING CITY IN THE COUNTRY"
(Flying Camera Calendar, February 2003)
N 52° 26', E 007° 04'
The city of Nordhorn is situated on the Dutch-German border and is the seat of the County of Bentheim.
First mentioned as "Northornon" in the taxation registeries of Werden Abbey around the year 1000, Nordhorn was chartered in 1379. The Old Church (Alte Kirche) on the market square, now the city's most prominent landmark, and the Frenswegen Monastery, founded by Augustinian monks in 1394, bear witness to an eary period of prosperity during the 15th century.
Until the middle of the 19th century, commerce, the trades and agriculture were the main foundations for the city's economy. Shipping on the Vechte River and haulage comprised further important lines of business. Bentheim sandstone was shipped from Nordhorn for use in the construction of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam as well as of many churches. In 1839 the first mechanical weaving mill was established. Nordhorn became an important textile-producing region and owed much of its economic prosperity to the textile trades. As a producer of 10% of all textiles manufactured in Germany, Nordhorn was known as a "textile-producing city in the country" until the year 2001. Following the closing of the last textile factory, other mid-sized businesses have become increasingly important for Nordhorn.
In spite of the rapid pace of its industrialization, Nordhorn has successfully retained its unique romantic charm. Large rental housing units are conspicuously absent. By far the largest portion of the population lives in single-family dwellings, surrounded by impeccably groomed yards and gardens. In the direct vicinity of the city center, fine examples of successful urban renewal and the imaginative use of architectural elements are found in residential areas created where the Povel textile factory once stood. This "city of water", traversed by numerous small channels and canals, very clearly demonstrates the transformation of a mono-structural "textile-producing city in the country" to a vibrant district administrative center within a unique municipal setting.
ONCE A DESERT STEPPE: LLANO ESTACADO
(Flying Camera Calendar, March 2003)
N 32° 50', W 102° 30'
The Llano Estacado in western Texas comprises part of the Great Plains, which border on the Rocky Mountains to the west and extend to the prairies to the east.
Particularly during the 20th century, the area was categorized by astonishing levels of economic prosperity, which completely altered the look of the surrounding countryside, but which also have not been entirely unproblematic in their impact. This region, so inhospitable to settlers and travelers, was a nearly completely flat, arid grassland, in parts even a semidesert steppe, on which stakes had to be laid down to mark trails through the plains. This method of creating orientation points prompted the Spanish conquerors, who moved through the region as early as the 16th century, to name the region Llano Estacado, meaning "staked plains" in English. The plains lie within the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains and receive only meager levels of precipitation (350 to 450 mm per year). As a result, very few streams and rivers are found on the Llano Estacado and most of these do not carry water throughout the entire year.
Today's landscape, as developed and cultivated by man, has acquired a fully different appearance. A colorful mosaic comprised primarily of square surface areas results from the implementation of the cadastral survey system (Rectangular Land Survey System) used in the USA, a system which divides the Earth into a grid of parallels and meridians and then creates boundaries in large portions of the USA which run parallel to the Earth's circles of longitude and latitude.
Green circles (center and left), resulting from the use of sprinkler irrigation systems, are visible in the grid squares. Successful farming is possible here only with the aid of artificial irrigation. Vast groundwater resources have been discovered in the undersoil. This groundwater is pumped through pipelines in the soil to the middle of each field, and sprinkler arms travel in circles around this central point. Rapid rates of water withdrawal have already led to significant and alarming drops in groundwater levels; this is one of the factors which led to the formation of groundwater protection areas as early as 1951. In addition to farming, ranching and cattle grazing still play an important economic role in the region. The city of Lubbock (to the top, outside this view) comprises an important center of the food-processing industry.
The second important economic pillar for the Llano Estacado is oil exploitation, which has taken place on the Mid-Continent fields since 1926. The brown, latticed structures of the oil production installations are clearly visible at the upper and lower left as well as to the right of center. The city of Midland, located further to the south (to the bottom, outside this view) is the center of the petroleum and natural gas production in the region.
BERLIN'S MUSEUM ISLAND – A WORLD HERITAGE SITE
(Flying Camera Calendar, April 2003)
N 52° 31', E 013° 24'
This island in the Spree River is the historic center of Berlin. A complex comprimising the five world-famous museums which give the island its name has recently, in its entirety, been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (from right to left): the Old Museum (Altes Museum), the New Museum (Neues Museum), the National Gallery (Nationalgaleire) situated directly on the riverbank, the Pergamon Museum and the Bode Museum.
Cölln, a merchant settlement originally located on the island, and Berlin a rapidly growing village on the north bank of the Spree, were united in 1307. In 1415, the Hohenzollern gained control of the Mark Brandenburg, and this "twin" city became the residence of the electors of Brandenburg, as documented by the construction of a palace under the aegis of Elector Frederick II of Hohenzollern. The Schlo8platz (named Marx-Engels Square in divided post-war Germany), a square adjacent to the site of the royal palace, since destroyed, and now the location of the former East German Palace of the Republic, the Berlin Cathedral, as well as the royal stables (Marstall) and gardens (Lustgarten) comprised the social center of the city in the 16th and 17th centuries (center).
Under Frederick I, king in Prussia, Berlin was the royal residence and capital of the kingdom of Prussia from 1709 on. King Frederick William II (1797–1840) initiated construction on the island in the Spree. In accordance with designs drafted by Karl Friederich Schinkel (1781–1841), the Old Museum was built between 1825 and 1830 on the northern edge of the Lustgarten. This is one of the oldest and most significant museum buildings in Germany and is considered to be its finest example of Neoclassical architecture. The areas on the other side of the Bodestra8e (left center) were primarily used as stockyards and depot areas in the past. In 1841 Friederich August Sthler, one of Schinkel's disciples, drew up plans for a "sanctuary for the arts and sciences" at the behest of Frederick William IV (1840–61). It was, however, not until the 20th century that these plans were fully realized. From 1843 to 1846 the New Museum was built, and restoration to remove bomb damage sustained during World War II has taken place since 1985.
Between 1866 and 1876 the National Gallery, with its distinctive colonnades, was built on the banks of the Spree river to house an endowment of contemporary paintings. Various designs for the urban renewal of construction on the northern tip of Museum Island (lower left) were created in the late 19th Century, and individual aspects of these designs were later incorporated into its architecture.
Berlin's largely elevated and partially underground railway system, the Stadtbahn, or S-Bahn, has traversed Museum Island since 1833. From 1897 to 1904 the building complex housing the museums was expanded on the initiative on Wilhelm von Bode (1845–1929). The former Neobaroque Kaiser Friedrich Museum, now the Bode Museum, and the adjacent Monbijou Bridge as well as the Museum of Pergamon Antiquities, which was later incorporated into the Pergamon Museum, were created. In its capacity as an architectural museum, the Pergamon collections display artifacts from Mesopotamia, the Near East and the Greek cities of Asia Minor.
SIGNS FROM THE UNIVERSE -- THE SHOEMAKER METEORITE CRATER IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
(Flying Camera Calendar, May 2003)
N 25° 52', E 120° 53'
While flying over the Western Australian outback in 1969, the geologist Haydn Butler first noticed an almost completely ring-shaped geological anomaly, which appears to penetrate the ridge of the Frere Range as a bullet hole might. Initially, he named the structure Teague Ring Structure after a salt lake located in the vicinity. E.M. Shoemaker later attributed the formation of the structure to a meteorite impact: following his untimely death, the structure was nenamed Shoemaker Impact Structure in his honor.
The impact crater is situated within the transition zone between the approx. 2.6-billion-year-old granites of the Yilgarn Craton to the south (light green to light blue) and a basin comprising more recent sedimentary rocks to the north. At the core of the crater, granites from the deeper basement are also exposed in localized areas.
The crater comprises a series of lithologic units, shaped something like the layers of an onion, which are of increasingly younger age from the inner core of the crater to its rim. Striking iron-rich sedimentary rocks (dark green to black) almost completely encompass the granites in the center. Somewhat further away from the crater core, more recent (Proterozoic) sand- and siltstones (bright green) form narrow, concentric ridges and plateaus.
By far the largest part of the region is now covered by recent, aeolian loose sediments, hard crustal formations and lake deposits. These sediments and deposits have been formed since the Tertiary as a result of increasing desertification in the western parts of Australia. Some of the most prominent features in the great wealth of geological formations evident there are the dark blue surfaces of large salt lakes, such as Lake Nabberu, which extends into the center of the crater. The edges of the salt lakes are surrounded by low dune ridges (dark red), which support meager vegetation growth.
The precise age of the Shoemaker crater has not been determined with certainty. Extensive erosion has completely weathered away the impact-melt rocks which were formed at the time of meteorite impact and which would also be necessary for reliable dating of the formation. All that remains of the impact is the central portion of the crater with a diameter of approximately 20 km. In comparison, the original rim diameter is estimated to have been more than 40 km.
MAINZ AND THE MAARAUE ISLAND
(Flying Camera Calendar, June 2003)
N 50° 00', E 008° 17'
In spite of its central location within the greater Rhine-Main metropolitan area and the densely populated and industrialized areas which characterize it, the area situated at the mouth of the Main River has been able to preserve much of the charm of its landscape. One of the attractive local recreational areas here is the Maaraue, an island situated in the mouth of the Main River as it flows into the Rhine near Wiesbaden-Kostheim.
Where today modern city dwellers enjoy varied forms of sports and recreation, Emperor Frederick I (also known as Frederick Barbarossa) hosted Pentecost festivities in 1184, the likes of which had never before been seen in the entire western world. For three days, European nobility joined together to witness the accolade and dubbing of the Emperor's two oldest sons to knighthood. Although the celebrations were cut short by a violent thunderstorm, during which fifteen participants died, the festival has remained one of the "highest climaxes... of the entire Middle Ages" in the memory of the ensuing ages. A small monument on the island (1986) bears witness to these events.
Located across the water on the left bank of the Rhine River, Mainz was first established as a Celtic settlement. The fortified Roman military camp "Moguntiacum" was elevated to the status of administrative capital of the province of Germania Superior around 85 A.D. St. Boniface, the apostle of the Germans, was made bishop of Mainz in 745 and the city become an archbishopric from then on. From 975 to 1011 the magnificent Romanesque St. Martin's Cathedral was built under the aegis of Archbishop Willigis. Due to these and many other factors, Mainz was a major political, cultural and economic center during the Middle Ages. Johannnes Gutenberg, for example, printed the Gutenberg Bibles here between 1452 and 1455. The university was founded in 1477.
The annexation of the city by the French (1798) and the fact that it belonged to the French Empire for a while (1801-1814) have left their mark on the dialects spoken in Mainz yet today. Following World War II Mainz lay in ruins and divided among French and American Allied troops. The central districts of the city on the left bank of the Rhine were occupied by the French, and the rest, and at that time larger portion, of the city on the right bank fell under the jurisdiction of American forces. This geographic division led to the eventual incorporation of these municipal areas into the city of Wiesbaden, where they remain to this day. The names on the signs marking road entrances to this part of the city may read "Mainz-Kastel", but directly below that they also contain this additional information: "City of Wiesbaden".
Mainz has been the capital of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate since 1950. The city is, in particular, famous for its cultural activities (Central Roman-Germanic Museum) and conviviality, as evidenced by the pre-Lenten Karneval festivities sponsored primarily by two well-known clubs which date back to 1837/38.
THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS CYCLING COMPETITION CELEBRATES ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY
(Flying Camera Calendar, July 2003)
N 47 10', E 002 40'
Henri Desgrange, a former world record holder in one-hour cycling competitions and editor of the sports magazine "L'Auto", introduced the first bicycle stage race as an advertising gag for his magazine in 1903.
The total distance of 2,428 km in the first race was covered in six daily stages of around 400 km each. Contestants were strictly forbidden the use of any outside help - even gear shifts were not introduced until 1937. Of the 60 racers who started, only 21 finished: the first racer crossed the finish line after 94.5 hours, the last racer nearly three days later!
The Tour became an annual event and in 1905 led through the Alps for the first time (Col Bayard, 1,246 m). In 1910, the Pyrenees, with the Aspin (1,489 m), Aubisque (1,709 m) Tourmalet (2,115 m) mountains, were incorporated into the race, and one year later the grueling climb to Col du Galibier (2,556 m) in the Alps was included. The total distance covered by the race grew steadily to an unbelievable length of 5,745 km (17 stages) in 1926. It was not until 1971 that the Tour began to be organized according to modern standards: 20 to 23 stages, none of which may be longer than 260 km.
The concept of financing the Tour through sponsoring companies was first introduced by Desgrange in 1930 and has continued to be successful up to the present. The era of advertising and publicity entourages as a source of funding for the Tour was born.
The famous yellow jersey was introduced in 1919 to identify the overall time leader in the race. The choice of the color resulted simply of necessity: following World War I there was only one type of jersey fabric available in a bright colour - yellow. A polka-dot jersey has been awarded to the best climber in the mountain stages since 1933. The jersey is white with red dots, like the wrappers used for the chocolate sold by the sponsor, "Meunier Chocolates". Since 1953 the green jersey has been worn by the fastest sprinter who is just a step ahead of the others in short sprints and finish-line crosses. Individual time trials were introduced in 1934 with an impressive length of 80 km.
In recent years the red starting number for the most aggressive rider has been awarded to competitors who have shown themselves to be particularly active and aggressive on the preceding day. In the team classifications, the total times of the three best riders from each team are added together.
During this anniversary year, the Tour de France includes stage finish lines in cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes, cities which comprised the first Tour. The modern parcours differs from the original form of the competition not only in the total length and the locations of the race; instead of individual racers, national trade teams now characterize the competition.
SIERRA MADRE ORIENTAL, BIZARRE FOLDED MOUNTAINS IN NORTHEASTERN MEXICO
(Flying Camera Calender, August 2003)
N 26 10', W 100 50'
The northern expanses of the Sierra Madre Oriental lie in a region bordered by the Mexican states of Coahuila and Nuevo León. The village of San José de la Popa (center) is located 70 km to the northwest of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León.
The climate of this region is characteristically semiarid with irregular intervals of precipitation. This means that long periods of drought alternate with brief and sometimes extremely heavy episodes of rainfall. Average annual temperatures are approximately 22 C, but temperatures range from as much as 45 C in summer to around -10 C in winter.
The areas flanking the Sabinas River (top) rise to heights of about 500 m. Troughs and depressions which generally have no outlet for water (center) have elevations of approximately 900 m, and the highest peak (right) reaches an altitude of more than 2,500 m.
During the Triassic and Jurassic eras, this region was a marine basin framed by continental land masses to the east and west. Evaporite layers, several hundred meters thick and primarily comprising gypsum, anhydrites and rock salt in the Minas Viejas Formation, were deposited during the lower Upper Jurassic in this Sabinas Basin. Later (during the Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous eras) marine limestones and marls, as well as mud- and sandstones, were deposited with layers of thicknesses totaling more than 2,000 m and then ultimately uplifted at the beginning of the Tertiary. During these tectonic processes, the evaporites exhibited plastic characteristics and acted as lubricants. As a result, rock series deposited on top of the evaporites were sheared off from the underlying basement and tightly folded, producing a highly wrinkled effect similar to the folds created in a tablecloth when it is pushed together over a tabletop.
Dark mountain ranges trending from northwest to southeast (right and left edges) comprise anticlines crossed by numerous ravines and rills, where the oldest rocks of the formation are exposed. In more recent sediments (center) morphologically "harder" rock layers comprise prominant ridges. They trace the contours of broad synclines, which are separated by steeply plunging anticlines. These distinctive structures and rugged mountain terrains make the region particularly difficult to access.
CASTRO MARIM: FROM TRADING CENTER AND FORTIFIED CITY TO SALT PRODUCTION REGION
(Flying Camera Calendar, September 2003)
N 37° 13', W 007°
If you follow the course of the Guadiana River until a point approximately 6 km before it flows into the sea, you will find the center of the town of Castro Marim on the right bank of the river, with its castle and fortified walls perched atop the only elevated point for miles around. In ancient times this hill was likely an island situated at the confluence of the river into the sea; nowadays its only connection with the ocean is via a series of river branches and channels.
Archeological finds dating from the Neolithic Period point to the early settlement of the prominent site. Historians have determined that this location served as a trading outpost and harbor, even for the Phoenicians and the Romans, who named it Castrum Marinum. One of the most important trade routes of the time led, for example, from Olisipo (Lisbon) through Salachia (Alcácer do Sal), Pax Julia (Beja) and Myrtilis (Mértola) to Baesuris (Castro Marim) at the mouth of the Guadiana River.
Following the end of the Roman rule on the Iberian peninsula, Castro Marim was lost to insignificance and did not begin to flourish again until an extended period of Moorish rule lasting from the 8th to the 12th centuries. The Moors introduced new cultivated plants to the region, such as citrus fruits, rice and sugar cane, and also improved irrigation and drainage systems, thus permitting the expansion of cultivable lands around Castro Marim.
In 1242 Castro Marim was conquered by Portuguese knights, who then strengthened the existing fortifications there. As a result not only of its strategic importance, the fortress became the headquarters of the newly formed Order of the Knights of Christ in 1319. These headquarters were later moved to Tomar in 1356 following the complete expulsion of the Moors from these border regions.
The violent earthquake of 1755 destroyed large portions of the city and the fortress. Although they were restored at the time, only parts of the outer walls and one tower within the fortifications remain intact.
In addition to the fortress in the center of town, which is highly visible from a distance, salt evaporation ponds are the second distinctive feature of Castro Marim. Salt production has played an important role in the town for centuries. Yet today, Castro Marim is, after Alcácer do Sal, Setubal and Faro, one of the most important salt production locations in Portugal. Salt production methods which incorporate winter flooding as well as irrigation and drainage elements make it possible to "harvest" the "white gold" several times in the course of one year; the pools and basins are reflooded with salt water after salt produced by evaporation is skimmed off. The various colors evident in the evaporation pools are indicative of several stages of salt production.
ISTANBUL – "NEW ROME" OR "CITY OF THE WORLD'S DESIRE"
(Flying Camera Calendar, October 2003)
N 41° 03', E 029° 01'
At the point where the 30-km-long and 550- to 3,000-m-wide straits of the Bosporus transect the land bridge between the Asian and European continents, one of the most fascinating metropolises of the world, with its incredible levels of human activity, continues to expand at an unchecked pace: Constantinople – Istanbul.
Flanked by the impressive remnants of land walls dating from the 5th century (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the oldest quarters of the city, with their rich diversity of cupolas, towers and minarets, bazaars, wooden houses and functional buildings, sprawl from the western hills down to the waterways leading into the bustling Bosporus. In the northern quarters of the ancient city of Byzantium located opposite the Golden Horn, the former European enclaves of Pera and Galata comprise centers of the economic avant-garde and fertile grounds for the wild growth of new urban areas. Along the densely populated Asian shores of the Gulf of Izmit, countless small harbors and industrial areas crowd along Istanbul's industrial axis.
This ancient cultural and economic center in the eastern Mediterranean, throughout history a much-coveted bridgehead between Europe and Asia, has always been a mediator between the worlds of oriental and Islamic cultures and the Christian West. This is also precisely how the city views itself: as a bridge linking the continents.
This bridge became a reality in steel and concrete in the form of the Bosporus Bridge in 1973; the second, the Faith Bridge, was completed in 1988. These gigantic constructs span the Bosporus – and bring in even more cars and trucks and people from Anatolia into the daily traffic jams and snarls of this city of ten million.
Istanbul is, without doubt, the unofficial capital of Turkey. In spite of the ever-present threat of earthquakes on the northwestern edge of the North Anatolian Fault, Istanbul's economic strength acts like a magnet in attracting migrants from the Anatolian countryside and international investors alike to the city. Fifty percent of all Turkish industry is located here along the eastern shores of the Sea of Marmara. 10 million of the city's 40 million dwellers work in the greater metropolitan area, two-thirds of these inhabitants live on the edges of the city in so-called "gecekondu", shantytowns reminiscent of the villages from which they come.
THE LENA DELTA -- NATURE'S "FAN"
(Flying Camera Calendar, November 2003)
N 72° 20', E 126° 15'
With a surface area of approximately 32,000 km2, the Lena Delta in northern Central Siberia is one of the most expansive delta regions on Earth and is constantly growing further out into the sea.
The Lena River rises in the Baikal Mountains and is the main river of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the Russian Federation. The Lena cuts a path through a steeply sloping transverse valley, in places only 1.5 to 4 km wide, between the Kharaulakh and Chekanov Ranges before it flows into the sea. Continuously shifting sand and gravel banks to the north of these rugged hilly formations point to the seasonal alternations between sedimentation and erosion processes which take place here. The numerous branches and channels of the delta create a broad fan-shaped area, and strong water currents cause this region to continue to expand toward the north and the east. To the west, the Olenek Channel transports sediments into the bay area fed by the Olenek River. Whereas the majority of these channels and branches freeze over in winter, the broad Bykov Channel to the east is seasonally navigable. This channel is the Lena's connecting link to the harbor city of Tiksi, the most important economic center on the Northeast Passage through the Laptev Sea, which comprises part of the Arctic Ocean.
The islands which grow to form the delta rise 6 to 40 m above water level; the central cores of the islands comprise in part Mesozoic and Tertiary layers. They are characterized by polygonal ground, ice mounds (pingos, Russian: bulgunnyakhi) and, above all, by numerous lakes and ponds (dark, round splotches) which are indicative of ice melting after the removal of vegetation cover (thermokarst).
The Lena Delta lies within the tundra zone. The sandbanks, which are subjected to continuous and repeated flooding and displacement, remain barren of vegetation. Broad lowland expanses are covered by marshy grassland area, and mosses and lichens as well as shrubby vegetation forms typical of the tundra colonize slightly higher-lying regions.
The wetland areas of the delta are also inportant breeding areas for birds. The few Yakut, Evenki and Even peoples in the region take advantage of the abundance of fish available in the lakes; the tundra areas serve as reindeer grazing grounds.
DRESDEN, BAROQUE CITY CREATED BY AUGUSTUS THE STRONG
(Flying Camera Calendar, December 2003)
N 51° 03', E 013° 44'
"Dresden lies… stretched majestically along both banks of the Elbe River, surrounded by a garland of charming hills and valleys, with its towering spires, boldly arching bridges, broad river waters, paradisiacal vistas, beautiful palaces full of Italian character, picturesque environs". An encyclopedia published in 1846 thus describes the city on the Elbe River, which Johann Gottfried Herder once referred to as "German Florence", or "Florence on the Elbe".
The Elbe traverse the city in a broadly curving crescent, flanked by meadows and floodplains which provide the river with spaces for its overflowing waters during periods of normal high water levels. The pattern of streets radiating from the Albertplatz is one of the typical characteristics of Baroque city planning and development (upper right). This style of urban architecture was "designed and implemented by His Majesty Augustus the Strong himself."
Of the three traffic arteries, the center, tree-lined main street leads past the equestrian statue of Augustus the Strong, the "Golden Horseman", and over the Augustus Bridge into the Old Town (Altstadt). Closely grouped together, the famous "Dresden Baroque" ensemble is one of the most prominent cultural treasures of the city and is best exemplified by the graceful and stately design of the Zwinger. This cluster of buildings is further augmented by the Rococo-style Roman Catholic Court Church (Hofkirche) constructed by Chiaveri. Almost airy and delicate in its form, this building stands in stark contrast to the mighty dome of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), which is currently being reconstructed. In the direct vincinity of the Zwinger, the Opera House (Semperoper), designed in the style of the Italian High Renaissance, and the Semper Gallery (Sempergalerie), which houses the Picture Gallery of the Old Masters, are located.
In a fashion similar to that of the Elbe waterway, the main railroad winds its way through the city. Arriving on the city outskirts from the north (Berlin and Leipzig), the trunk line crosses the central train station The main rail line proceeds along the Elbe River and leaves Dresden to head in the direction of Saxon Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The "Grober Garten", the largest historic park in Dresden (lower right), was laid out as early as 1676. The sports facilities in the Ostragehege district (upper left) were built much more recently.
Native Dresdeners will be able to recognize many more landmarks and places of particular note in the aerial photograph. Those unfamiliar with the city would do well to heed the words of the art historian Winckelmann: "He who never sees Dresden has never seen beauty".