Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony, who for centuries enriched the city with cultural and artistic splendors. Aerial bombing towards the end of World War II killed thousands of civilians and destroyed the entire city center. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German communist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche. Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centers of Germany.