Wilthenerstrasse 32, Bautzen, 2625, de
More about Bautzen
Town and district with two names
facade Hotel Goldener Adler (golden eagle)
Travel Tips for Bautzen
A trip to Bautzen is incomplete (time permitting) without at least a half-day excursion to the Oberland ("Upland"). The so called "Bautzner Oberland" is part of the larger region "Oberlausitz". It is located south of Bautzen toward the border to the Czech Republic. Characteristic for the Oberland are the rolling hills, mountains that barely reach 2,000 ft. but almost always have a viewing tower on top, the picturesque villages with the typical combination of log and timber framed houses and the friendly people with their special dialect (rolling "r").
This area is full of sights - not necessarily spectacular, though. It is perfect for a relaxing day or week with many outdoor activities, pleasant surprises around the next corner that will make you wish to come back.
I plan to build a page on the Oberland, probably with the base "Schirgiswalde", which is centrally located in the area. So watch out for this one! I personally adore the cute typical houses called "Umgebindehäuser", made of logs on the ground floor (plus one room of stone) and timber-framed architecture on the second floor. They come in several types, always beautifully decorated, always picturesque, always "heimelig" and mostly well-maintained. There are some villages in the Oberland where you can still see ensembles of numerous of such houses standing next to each other. Quite a sight.
The Christmas market fills Hauptmarkt square, the whole length of Reichenstraße to Reichenturm and a part of Kornmarkt square. It takes place during the four weeks of Advent but terminates already on the 4th Advent Sunday.
Sorbian traditions show up in the market but you have to look for them. Some stalls have local products, others sell the usual international knickknack or even socks and household items.
For the Glühwein cup collectors, the Bautzen ones come in various combination of colours but all have bilingual inscriptions in Sorbian and German.
At minus 15 degrees and during a snowstorm even Glühwein does not help any more, though...
The Christmas market in Bautzen is held from Friday before 1st Advent until 4th Advent (Sunday). A market at this time of the year was first mentioned in 1384 when King Vaclav (Wenzel in German) gave the town the privilege to hold a market for meat. This market turned into a Christmas market as we know them over the centuries. In honour of King Vaclav (Wenzel) the Christmas market in Bautzen is named "Wenzelsmarkt".
The market stretches from the Hauptmarkt in front of the town hall along Reichenstrasse to Kornmarkt. In about 80 stalls merchants sell the usual stuff - from bratwurst and Stollen, gingerbread and glühwein to woodcarved Christmas items and candles. However, if you have a closer look you might also find typical local/regional goodies like pottery or glass beads from Jablonec/Czech Republic.
The Glühwein we had was ok but nothing special; the point was, however, that it was *hot* which was *VERY* welcome since the temps were around -15 C/ 5 F and the wind picked up. Freeeeeezing.
Liebfrauenkirche - Church of Our Lady
This catholic church is supposed to be open during daytime but so far I have not managed to get in. In winter it was closed when I was there - probably too late in the afternoon - and in summer I never made it to the church ... so the interior is still on my 'to do' list.
The church is located across the street from Reichenturm, just outside the immediate old town. The original style is Gothic but after damages the church was reconstructed and redesigned several times, most recently 1970-73. The rose window in the western facade is neo-gothic (1879/80). According to my guide book there are some crucifixes and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries inside that are worth to see.
Alte Wasserkunst: Viewpoint and Technical Monument
Bautzen had running water in the town's fountains already in the late 16th century. In 1588 the impressive tower, 50 m high, as built on the edge of the plateau and the bank of the Spree. It serves to pump water from the river up to the level of the old town on the ridge. It is a technical masterpiece. The current of the Spree drives a mill wheel which provides the power to pump the water into the reservoir on top of the tower and through the pipes to the fountains. The old machinery is preserved and still fully functional, though not Bautzen's only water supply any more.
At the same time the tower was part of the town's defence lines and used for military purposes. The platform on top offers a fantastic view of the old town panorama and the Spree valley as well as into the surrounding landscape. Entry is from Wendischer Kirchhof, about half of the height. There is no lift, be prepared to climb five storeys up to the platform and four storeys down to the machinery. Stairways are narrow and partly low, the warnings about watching your head should be taken seriously.
Photos of the view here
Opening hours: daily 10-17 (Apr-Oct), 10-16 (Nov-Dec and Feb-Mar), in Jan only on weekends
Entrance fee: adults 2 €, concessions 1.50 €, children under 14 0.50 €
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