Sounding instruments, fine porcelain, centuries-old traditions - Saxony delights with its diverse arts and crafts and long manufacturing history. No wonder its customs and inventiveness have often been elevated to UNESCO World Heritage status.
Table of Contents:
1. Musical instrument making, Plauen lace and a stone colossus in Vogtland
2. Miners, tire animals and tar smoldering in the Ore Mountains
3. The crossed swords and other handmade tools in Dresden Elbland
4. Good wines are not a downer in Dresden Elbland
5. All organic and all a matter of time in the Elbe Sandstone and the Ore Mountains
6. A blue miracle, decorated eggs and a thousand stars in Upper Lusatia
7. Kunstkraftwerk, Kanupark, Gondwanaland and a music track in Leipzig
8. Hops, malt and lots of steam everywhere in Saxony
In the Vogtland beats for a good 350 years the musical heart of Saxony. Around 1300 craftsmen in over 100 workshops build almost all stringed, plucked, woodwind, metalwind, percussion and harmonica instruments used in Europe here. This concentration and diversity make the Vogtland Music Corner unique. During a visit to the The world of musical instrument making and in the Markneukirchen Musical Instrument Museum you will learn why the sophistication with which the instruments are built has now been included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The Vogtland and especially the city of Plauen also stand with the Plauen lace for the finest fabric processing. Machine-embroidered tulle lace has been produced here since 1881. Fashion designers bring Plauen creations to the catwalks of haute couture. The best place to get up close and personal with this fine fabric is in Germany's only museum on the subject of lace.
World top is also the Göltzschtal bridge near Netzschkau. The stone colossus is considered the largest brick bridge in the world. You can visit the impressive bridge and its little sister, the Elstertalbrücke, from the Vogtland Panorama Trail admire from the bridge. The two railroad bridges were built in just five years starting in 1846 and inaugurated in 1851. The millions of red bricks used give the bridges their typical color. The Göltzschtal bridge alone contains an impressive 26 million bricks! If you want to count them, you have to come here.
Carving and woodturning has in the Ore Mountains a long tradition. When silver ore mining there suffered a crisis in the 15th century, the miners began to Wooden works of art and achieved masterful skills in this field. The still preserved utensils and decorative objects are all unique, belong to the UNESCO World Heritage "Ore Mountains Mining Region Krušnohoří" and are formative for Saxony.
"Good luck!" is the heartfelt greeting in the Ore Mountains. It is just as rooted here as many mining customs protected by UNESCO. These include, for example, the production, maintenance and wearing of the historic habit to mountain processions and parades. Often, such events are also attended by music societies, which have also been active in the region for a long time. mining tradition are anchored. You can experience the most beautiful mountain parades and processions during Advent.
Charcoal knows everyone. But wood tar? Both form the basis for the cultural and technical development of mankind. In the Ore Mountains, where a lot of ore was processed, they therefore also produced a lot of charcoal. To preserve this historical knowledge, "Charcoal burning and tar smoldering" recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Germany. The European charcoal burners association is committed to the preservation of crafts and old techniques. You can experience the traditional trades at charcoal-burner festivals or the charcoal-burner weeks in Saxony.
He is a landmark of Dresden and guardian of treasures such as the "Sistine Madonna" by Raphael or the "Letter-Reading Girl" by Vermeer: the Dresden Zwinger. Because the baroque building must be continuously maintained and also to cultivate the knowledge of old craft techniques, there is the Dresden Zwingerbauhütte. The working methods of the restorers, sculptors and stonemasons hardly differ from those of the 18th century. Most of the work is done manually, and even the tools are almost exclusively handmade. In this way, traditional craft techniques remain alive, knowledge and customs are handed down, historical techniques are practiced, and apprentices are trained. Enough reasons for UNESCO to place the building trade of the Dresden Zwingerbauhütte on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The oldest registered trademark in the world you will find in the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. Since 1710, the blue crossed swords have stood for the highest quality worldwide. White clay - the kaolin - is the key to the radiance of the "White Gold". The porcelain treasure of the manufactory includes the world's largest and oldest stock of plaster molds, historical models and patterns ever created in a manufactory. In addition to figures, sculptures and sculptures, porcelain services worth seeing and unique works of art are also exhibited.
Good soils, the right climate and a lot of experience create the fertile ground for special wines - and that in one of the smallest Wine regions Europe. On only 511 hectares around Dresden, real rarities ripen in the wine-growing region of Saxony, cultivated by industrious winegrowers. The grapes grown include Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Dornfelder and Traminer. A special (re)discovery is the Goldriesling, which today is only grown in Saxony in significant quantities.
In 1992, the Saxon Wine Route was inaugurated. You can also experience this on foot for around 90 kilometers - on the parallel running Saxon Wine TrailThe route offers views of nature and city beauties such as Dresden, Pirna, the villa and garden city of Radebeul, the porcelain city of Meißen and the wine village of Diesbar-Seußlitz. By car, you can enjoy the approximately 55 km long wine route as a day trip or as part of an extended weekend or even as a 6-day hike.
On the way you may not miss a visit to the Hoflößnitz winery in Radebeul. It houses the Saxon Wine Museumwhere you can learn a lot of exciting facts about the history, diversity and special features of Saxon wine. New since 2021 are information boards along the wine trail. Simply scan the QR codes - and an audio guide will provide you with interesting information about the wineries, sights and accommodation.
The oldest private winery in Saxony is Proschwitz Castle. On the slopes vis à vis Albrechtsburg Castle , which the winery now manages , wine has been grown for over 850 years.
At Wackerbarth Castle in Radebeul, where counts once resided and Saxon nobility celebrated lavish parties, now welcomes Europe's first adventure winery. The combination of baroque grounds, picturesque vineyards and modern manufactory in the heart of the Saxon Wine Route is definitely worth a visit.
All organic! Located in the Saxon Switzerland National Park on the German-Czech border, the Schmilka is one of the most beautiful villages in the country. The former fishing village on the Elbe with just 75 inhabitants is a real insider tip. With its beautiful location, the village is ideally suited for extended hikes in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, bike tours on the Elbe Cycle Route and canoe tours. But also worth seeing are the quaint guesthouses in neat half-timbered houses, the historic mill from 1665, where flour is still ground, and the neighboring organic bakery and brewery manufactory, where traditional crafts are still cultivated. Along the Elbe are fine hotels and stylish vacation apartments. The historic ferry "Lena" from 1927 crosses to the other bank. In the historic mill and the brewery, you can experience tradition and craftsmanship firsthand during guided tours. Everything together runs under the name "Bio- & Nationalparkrefugium Schmilka".
Since 1878, the brand "Glashütte" stands for one of the most famous centers of watchmaking in Germany. In the German Watch Museum over 400 exhibits illustrate the history of the art of watchmaking. Many exhibits are unique in the world, including pocket watches, wristwatches and pendulum clocks from various eras, marine chronometers and gear models.
Travelers were, who brought blueprinting to Europe in the mid-17th century. Blueprinting is a dyeing process for natural textiles such as linen or cotton. A print reserve, the "pap", is applied to the fabric with sometimes centuries-old models - the name given to the stencil-like printing blocks. The imprint of the compound causes the fabric in the dye bath not to take on the indigo blue color in these places, resulting in a white pattern. One of the oldest blue printing, the blueprint workshop of Cordula Reppe, is still located in Pulsnitz today.
Living in Lusatia about 60,000 people of the small Slavic people of the Sorbs. In Saxony, the Sorbs are at home around Bautzen. An essential feature of their identity, apart from their own languages (Upper and Lower Sorbian), are their Traditions and customs. In the course of the year, about 30 different customs and festivals are celebrated. The most famous are the bird wedding and the annual Easter riding in Upper Lusatia.
For 300 years, always in the middle of August, in the week of St. Bartholomew, the Kamenz forest festival celebrated. The largest school and homeland festival in Saxony was included in the list of intangible cultural heritage. During the parades, which lead through the city center of Kamenz decorated with flowers and flags to the forest, pupils sing traditional home songs. In the Forst, the program then includes brass band concerts, the gymnastics performances of sports clubs and schools, as well as a marksmen's parade and the so-called eagle shooting.
During Advent and Christmas shine in many places of the world Herrnhut stars. This traditional Christmas decoration comes from Herrnhut in Upper Lusatia. The distinctive features of the star with its more than 160-year history include the 25 points made of paper or now also made of plastic. You can learn a lot of interesting facts about the history and creation of the stars in the exhibition workshop. Here you can also design your own Christmas star.
In sixth family generation Stephan Hierl runs a water mill with his wife in the middle of Bautzen. The history of the Hammer Mill on the Spree dates back to the 15th century. As always, water power powers the mill, where mustard, organic oils and healing earth are produced. You will find a large selection in the lovingly designed farm store. Of course, tasting is allowed. At the mustard workshop you can also make your own mustard and perhaps create your own personal flavor.
The Art Power Plant Leipzig has been one of the European hotspots for new media art since 2016. Already 20 highly acclaimed exhibitions have been shown here. The focus is on immersive art projects that are embedded in the industrial environment in an unusual way and combine different art forms and technologies. Germany's largest video projection system also provides for expansive experiences.
The tropical experience world Gondwanaland at Leipzig Zoo is Europe's largest tropical hall. 500 different species of trees and plants form a warm, humid habitat for 140 exotic animal species. In Gondwanaland, you can experience the tropical rainforests of Africa, Asia and South America, shimmy across a treetop path or take a boat trip on the Gamanil jungle river.
The Canoe Park Markkleeberg is one of the most modern whitewater facilities in the world. The facility is part of the Leipzig Neuseenland on the southeast coast of Lake Markkleeberg, a flooded former opencast lignite mine. Technically similar to the Olympic courses in Sydney, London and Rio de Janeiro, whitewater rafting in particular is one of the big attractions.
So many original preserved places of action famous composers as in Leipzig cannot be found anywhere else. The Leipzig Sheet Music Track brings this musical cultural heritage to life for tourists. On a five-kilometer route, it connects the individual stations to create a successful overall experience of musical enjoyment and a city walk. Curved steel elements in the ground mark the ribbon that winds through the city center. At each station, sound samples and information in German and English convey musical impressions.
Saxons are enjoyable beer drinkers. And always have been. Brewing beer has a really long tradition in this country. The first beer brewed according to the German Purity Law came from Saxony, just like Germany's oldest private brewery. Recently, the craft of brewing according to the Reinheitsgebot has also been included in the list of intangible cultural heritage. There are 26 breweries and over 30 pub breweries in the Free State alone. You can visit many of them on guided tours of the breweries.
Since the 13th century boys' choirs bring music to Saxon church services. The Leipzig St. Thomas Boys Choir, the Dresden Kreuzchor and the 1709 from the court chapel emerged Dresden Boys Choir inspire music lovers all over the world with their singing. Among the former choir directors were high-ranking musicians and composers such as the Dresden court conductor Heinrich Schütz or the Thomaskantor Johann Sebastian Bach. Their works and liturgical singing still play a major role in the boys' choirs today.
Saxony not only has the longest and oldest Paddle steamer fleet of the world, but also about most of the steam railroads still rattling through the country. Today, five narrow-gauge railroads are still active in Saxony, plus three former narrow-gauge railroads that are operated as museum railroads. The tourist STEAM RAILROAD ROUTE Saxony, which is passable by road, takes you right across the state. A network of 750 route kilometers connects a total of 68 stations throughout Saxony. To ensure that the 175-year-old railroad history can still be experienced in the future, numerous clubs, interest groups and museums are taking care of the much-loved tradition.
Cover photo: Lovingly detailed work - a teapot is decorated with snowball blossoms © Meissen® Photo:Manufaktur MEISSEN
Financed with funds from the Free State of Saxony
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