Lessingstrasse 1, Bautzen, 2625, de
More about Bautzen
Serbski Dom - the Sorbian House
the crepes boulangerie
tap water fountain by the Reichenturm
Travel Tips for Bautzen
on keeping the intrepid son-in-law happy
Bautzen is an incredible medieval town. For the best perspective, make the trip out to the bridge that you will inevitably cross to get there. You'll be rewarded with an amazing view of the city's greatest buildings aligned preferably in the morning sun. I like to think I know a thing or two about getting off the beaten path as well as finding a decent beer or two but there are times when I am pleasantly surprised to be led somewhere I might not normally go by the most unlikely of people. In the last few years I’ve found myself somewhat relegated to traveling in Germany and its close surroundings. After marrying a wonderful German girl and starting a new career that allowed me less vacation than in the past I knew my holidays would be spent primarily visiting her family. I did after all move her to the US away from them so it is the least I could do.
Sometimes I get a hankering for the exotic but for me Germany is still a relative beery paradise and it seems there is always an adventure if one will seek it out. So, on my last visit to Saxony during the Christmas holiday season I used my recently purchased German beer guide in combination with a fleeting sight I’d noticed on the last excursion by my father-in-law and decided that I’d like to go to Bautzen. Always trying to keep their intrepid son-in-law happy they amicably agreed to head to a place they’d not been in many years. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
The result of both Germans and Sorbians living in the area is that you'll see bilingual signs/plates. Dominating language is German but if you're Czech or Polish you might try to talk to people in your own language - the Sorbian spoken around Bautzen is closer to Czech than Polish, though.
Please note that Sorbs have the right to speak their language at court or in administrative matters. Might help you if you get a fine from the police ...
All people in the area speak German, also the Sorbs. Few Germans speak Sorbian, which is a shame IMO.
On Easter Sunday the men, dressed in tailcoat and stovepipe hat, in catholic Sorbian villages/towns get their beautifully decorated horses and ride from their town to the neighbouring one to spread the message of Jesus Christ's resurrection. Tradition is that the men of the other town reciprocate. So you can see quite a number of those processions going from one town to the other and back on Easter Sunday! They must make sure not to cross each other's path, though.
Head of the processions are the men who carry the banners, then comes the guys who carry the statue of Jesus and of the cross, following them the other men, singing Sorbian religious songs. Before they leave their own town a service is held, they ride around their church and are blessed by their priest. Upon arrival in the other town they get a meal, celebrate a mass and are getting blessed by their priest. And back they go.
Your best chances to see such a procession are in Bautzen, Wittichenau, Radibor and the Panschwitz-Kuckau (Cistercian convent). All in all about 2,000 men participate but the number of spectators is about 10 or 20 times higher.
Originally this custom goes back to pagan times - to ban the winter and ask for a good harvest. After Christianization the custom survived for quite a long time; first in 1541 (in Wittichenau) it was turned into the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection.
The Gerberviertel is nothing special, but this is the best qualification for an 'Off the beaten path' tip, eh? I discovered this quiet, absolutely non-touristy little district when I walked down from Protschenberg hill. The old houses stretch along the Spree river which makes for picturesque photos from the bridge. Particularly picturesque is the scene with the old mill IMO. I enjoyed walking along the cobbled alleys and watching the mostly restored - but not too fancy - houses most of which are probably from the 17th/18th century and quite simple. Tanners didn't make much money.
From Gerberviertel you can get up to the old town either by climbing the steps to Nikolai tower or by walking (longer) to the Schülertor city gate (no steps here, but also uphill, of course :-)).
Just north of the Dom/cathedral you'll see the Domstift buildings, the house of the canons. The ornate entrance gate from 1755 will definitely catch your attention. If you compare pictures 1 and 2 you can see the difference before and after recent restoration - not sure which I like better.
Until 1980 - when they moved to Dresden - the buildings were seat of the Bishop and his administration. After the move some vacant rooms were turned into a treasure chamber, first with three, now five rooms. The liturgical vessels, vestments, crucifixes, sculptures etc. are very beautiful and worth to see. Opening hours Mon - Fri 10-12 and 13-16 h, free but small donation welcome.
The courtyard alone is beautiful. Please note the small figure of a canon climbing out of a chimney in the southwestern corner - the legend goes that during a riot (the evangelical citizens attacked the catholic Domstift) in the year 1619 the Dean of the canons climbed the chimney and sent signals to the Ortenburg castle for help.
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We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:
- Antonia Hotel Bautzen
Address: Lessingstrasse 1, Bautzen, 2625, de