Spree Hotel Bautzen
An Den Steinbruechen, Bautzen 02625
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More about Bautzen
little alley in the old town
Travel Tips for Bautzen
Not exactly my 'Favourite Thing About Bautzen' but something you should not miss: The Bautzen Memorial, widely known as the former Stasi (East German secret service) prison, commemorates the people who were imprisoned under inhuman conditions in Bautzen during the Nazi era, the period of the Soviet occupation and the SED dictatorship. The permanent exhibition documents the suffering of the victims and explains the political and historical context. Beside the exhibit you can also see see the detention cells, the isolation tract and the exercise yards.
Unfortunately I lost most of the pictures I took during my visit with American friends (computer problems) but I plan to visit again soon and post more pictures afterwards.
Please see this website for more information:
It's about a ten minutes walk from the train station along Taucherstrasse, then turn right into Weigangstrasse.
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am-8:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and on public holidays: 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Public guided tour
Friday at 5:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and on public holidays at 2:00 pm
Admission and public guided tours are free
father knows best
We had passed by it on our way to Görlitz on a trip the previous spring and I had made a mental check to surely get back there so I was happy to be arriving on a perfectly clear winter morning. My new family was surprised at how much it had been restored since their last visit during the Communist Regime and I was enjoying a stroll through a well preserved medieval town snapping photos along the way. But deep down I was also anticipating going to a small brewery I’d read about in my new guide. We made our way through the cobblestone streets and found our sought after destination and looked forward to getting out of the bitter cold. Unfortunately, the place was under restoration itself and was obviously closed. It was admittedly a bit early for a beer but this being Germany it would not have normally presented a problem and I mourned my chance at a new beer experience. It was still early and there was another town on the tour but my father-in-law graciously offered to hit a beer store so I could stock up on some of the local products. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
When arriving in Bautzen you'll notice quickly that the town has two names, Bautzen and Budyšin. Many signs are bilingual. This is the centre of the country of the Sorbs, the Lausitz or Lužica. Some 60,000 Sorbs are living in this region. Saxony's prime minister Stanislaw Tillich is a Sorb.
The Sorbs are one of three native non-German speaking minorities within the borders of Germany who have been living there at least since the middle ages (the other two are the Frisians in the far northwest and the Danes in North Schleswig). The Sorbs are of Slavic origin. While most Slavic tribes were either either persecuted, driven away or germanized already in the early middle ages, the Sorbs have found a niche to stay, survive and preserve their language and culture.
In the 19th century a Sorbian national movement awote. Their organization "Domowina" was founded in 1912.
The Nazi regime persecuted them but in DDR times they suddenly became a treasured minority with guaranteed rights which was proudly presented to the brother countries in Eastern Europe. However, their folklore was treasured, not independent opinions. Lots of DDR postage stamp depict the colourful Sorbian traditional dresses and craftwork.
Nowadays about 150 Sorbian communities exist. Schools teach Sorbian. Traditions are kept alive. The presence of this people is impossible to overlook in and around Bautzen.
Hexenhäuschen (Witch's House)
This is one of the oldest houses of Bautzen, built in 1604 by a fisherman's family. It survived all the - many - fires despite its wooden structure. To be honest, the reason might be that its location is quite isolated down by the river, but the legend goes as follows:
Once in the 30years war a family of gipsies came to Bautzen. The father was sick and rested on a bench. His wife and the two kids went from house to house but nobody wanted to accommodate them. So they went back outside the city gate 'Fischerpforte' to spend the night there. A poor man came by and asked why they were outside that late, took them to his home and shared his supper with them. The gypsy family stayed with him until the father had recovered. When they said farewell the gypsy father spoke a blessing for house to prevent it from fire.
The name for the house actually comes from a postcard manufacturer who needed a good idea to boost his business. He had the idea in 1900 but the woman who lived in the house didn't agree because she didn't want to be called a witch. Only when she died in 1906 the postcard manufacturer bought the house, took photos and sold postcards of the "Witch's House". And made tons of money :-)
In 1903 the entrepreneur Eduard Weigang, one of the really wealthy guys in Bautzen, built a beautiful house as a gift for his son's wedding. Architect was Prof. Alvin Anger, teacher at the Arts and Crafts College in Dresden. The result was a wonderful villa in Art Nouveau style, surrounded by a beautiful, large landscaped garden. The villa survived the war with some damages. In 1998 it was bought by the current owners who invested a lot of money for reconstruction. The outcome is well worth every cent.
I had the chance to visit the villa on European Heritag Day in 2006. The garden is still beautiful but not as large as before - parts were sold and houses were built on those grounds. The villa itself is gorgeous. Absolutely amazing architecture and decoration. Go to their website and have a look at the virtual tour that they offer there.
From time to time they host events, like Christmas party e.g. Or you can rent the whole villa for your wedding reception :-)
(From the train station walk along Bahnhofstrasse toward the centre, then turn right into Wallstrasse and follow this one - it's a 10-15 minutes walk)