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!
Fondest memory: 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.
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
Detailed and excellent information about Bautzen in German, English, Czech and Sorbian is available on the city's website: www.bautzen.de. The page seems to be rather new and is well done.
Try the interactive city tour and start exploring. It is fun.
This video taken in 1991 shows what the old town looked like shortly after the reunification. A LOT has been done in the meantime.
Favorite thing: Old Bautzen has endless options for photographers. Take your time and bring enough storage cards resp. films. There are new views at every street corner and through every hole in the town walls. Stroll and explore, and don't miss the trails outside the town walls...
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.
Fondest memory: 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)
Fondest memory: This was easier said than done as we found ourselves searching in vain for the elusive drink market that generally is ubiquitous in any German city. Finally, we ran across one and we went in. We got a hefty little supply but still had not found the beers I coveted most. We were driving out of town when I spotted another little one and asked to stop there too. There was a silent but collective groan as we surely had picked up more than enough in the first store. They relented as they know well my passion for finding just what I look for. Generally, Doreen goes anywhere with me when I am with her parents since I don’t speak much German and their English is not much better but this was one stop too many for her. So I was relegated to going just her father. We found the beers I was looking for and of course he wound up getting some more for good measure. We laughed heartily as we collected our bounty and though few words were spoken between us we enjoyed a common goal. Maybe we were finally speaking the same language after all: beer.
Fondest memory: 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)