The historical centre of Dresden is located at the apex of a bow in the beautiful Elbe river. Protected for centuries by imposing fortress walls, the seat of Saxony's royal dynasties developed into a city of architectural splendour and thriving commerce. The city's iconic riverscape is still characterised by architectural masterpieces from the 19th century and the Renaissance and baroque eras. Viewed from the opposite bank or from one of the Elbe bridges, it is immediately obvious why Dresden is regarded throughout Europe as a city of culture. Despite the devastation caused by the Second World War, Dresden's old quarter has retained or regained its most charming architectural ensembles. The most notable symbol of the city centre's rebirth is the Church of Our Lady, the grandiose baroque domed structure that once again dominates Dresden's skyline. A number of important cultural institutions are situated along the banks of the river Elbe in Dresden's old town, including the Old Masters Gallery and the Green Vault – a chamber containing the treasures of the electors and kings of Saxony. The old quarter also doubles as Dresden's administrative centre, with the fate of Saxony decided inside the regional assembly and city affairs handled in the town hall. Meanwhile, shopping centres, restaurants, cultural attractions and office buildings can be found in the area surrounding Altmarkt square and Prager Strasse.