More than 100 years ago, shortly after the first garden city was established in England, the first German version was established in Dresden. The Hellerau district came from an initiative by furniture manufacturer Karl Schmidt, whose name is still associated with the German Workshops in Hellerau. The interior fittings for the Saxon Parliament, the New Synagogue and the Elbe steamer were all created here.
Hellerau combines a production plant that has a sophisticated architectural sensibility and the highest standards for working conditions with a modern garden-city settlement. Overall, despite its romantic beginnings, the garden city is a modern piece of city history. After an extensive restoration process, the 1911 festival hall was reopened in 2006 as a home for experimental modern-art events, such as the Dresden contemporary music festival and the CYNETart media arts festival. Furthermore, the festival hall is now also a production and performance site for the Derevo dance theater and the Forsythe Company.