The small town Altenberg is the "hub" for the Upper parts of the Eastern Erzgebige, located at an elevation of 754 m and conveniently accessible by train or bus from Dresden (slightly more than an hour).
Altenberg itself is an old mining town, first mentioned in the 14th century. Nothing special about the town, but the surroundings ...
Nearby you find the famous bob- and sledding run where world cups and other championships take place. Definitely fun to visit! Even more fun is doing sports yourselves - from walking, hiking and biking in summer to all sorts of winter sports - downhill, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, sledding - anything is possible.
A special sight is the "Pinge", a huge hole, a result of extensive mining. When a number of pits crashed in 1620 the hole had a size (surface) of only 1.25 ha, now it is 22 ha!
Other sights are the Mt. Geising with excellent views and rare wildflowers (protected area), the botanical garden in nearby Schellerhau, the new spa, the castles and museums in the Müglitztal valley etc.
Please see my Altenberg page for detailed tips.
Kurort Seiffen is a small town, located in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) close to the Czech border. It was first mentioned in 1324. Founded as a tin-mining worker's village Seiffen is today famous for its wooden toys, nutcrackers, smokers etc. - all sorts of Christmas figures. In 1849 when the mines were exhausted the people needed to look for new job opportunities. So the handmade production of wooden toys etc. which was a hobby before, became a source of regular income. Visiting Seiffen during Advent/Christmas season is a magical experience (but avoid the weekends - crowds!)
Please see my Kurort Seiffen page for details.
Annaberg-Buchholz is a small town in the central Erzgebirge. In 1492 rich silver ore places were discovered nearby. Annaberg-Buchholz had its best times in the 16th century, when it was bigger and richer than Leipzig and famous people like Adam Ries lived in the town.
The magnificent city church St. Annen was built in this period, too. It is probably the most beautiful of the late-gothic hall-type churches in Saxony. The cathedral's interior has excellent works of art, altars, portals, sculptures, vaulted ceilings ... a must see, worth the trip alone.
Another must see is the "Frohnauer Hammer", a smith hammer work from 1657, in work until the early 20th century and still in operation for guided tours (museum).
In addition, most attractions in the Erzgebirge mountains are in day trip distance, even excursions to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, Dresden or Leipzig are doable. Annaberg is a perfect base for exploring the Erzgebirge!
For details please see my Annaberg-Buchholz page here on VT.
Freiberg is a former silver mining town, located in the Eastern Erzgebirge. Its historical old town is well preserved and provides great architecture, cobbled streets, good shopping. Its university is the oldest Mining university in the world.
Freiberg's cathedral is a masterpiece of art. It hosts stunning works of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance times. Have a look at the city museum and the museums on mining also. They are well worth a visit.
The Christmas Market in Freiberg is very nice. Not crowded at all and with a good variety of Christmas goods, mostly wood carved pieces.
For detailed information please see my Freiberg page here on VT.
Chemnitz is situated on Chemnitz River and is the third largest Saxon city with a population of about 250,000. It lies at the northern foot of the Ore Mountains.
The city was founded in the 12th century, and during the 14th century it developed as a textile center. The trade industry of Chemnitz was almost completely ruined in the 17th century during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), but later, with the introduction of cotton manufacture, it began to recover. In GDR-times Chemnitz’s centre was built in Socialistic style and the city was renamed to "Karl-Marx-Stadt" (from 1953 to 1990) to honor Karl Marx, the Founder of Socialism.
Although Chemnitz is not the typical tourist attraction it's worthy to spend some days there to enjoy Saxon hospitality and cuisine!
The photo shows the landmark of Chemnitz - "Der Nischl" (=Saxon for head). This bronze head of the philosopher Karl-Marx is 7,10 Meters (23,3 foot) high and stands on a granite pedestal. It was created in 1971 by the Soviet sculptor Lew Kerbel. Beyond you find a sentence of the Communist Manifesto: 'Proletarian of all countries get united' written in four languages.
On February 2nd, 1654 was the foundation of Johanngeorgenstadt by Prince Johann Georgs I of Saxony. Over the years Johanngeorgenstadt developed due to mining silver and producing glas. Today it is a famous holiday resort and an excellent ski resort because it is very snow proof from December to March.
To bring the ore to light horses were used to set the Pferdegöpel (horse-pulled winch). In 1917 electricity replaced the horses.
Fichtelberg is a mountain in the middle of the Erzgebirge near the Czech border. It has a height of 1.214 meters and is therefore the tallest mountain in Saxony. From its top you have an excellent view over the Erzgebirge region and the Bohemian Basin.
On a clear day you can have a view of more then 150 km.
At an elevation of 914 m Oberwiesenthal is the highest located town in Germany. Founded in 1527 as a mining town (silver, tin etc.) it is well-known as a place for winter sports activities in particular nowadays.
There is a good downhill skiing area and also excellent xcountry skiing around Oberwiesenthal. The town itself offers a charming small old town, an old distance column (1730, as usual in Saxony), nice church, plenty of restaurants, cafes etc. for the visitor.
Oberwiesenthal is also reknown as the home of Jens Weissflog, Germany's most successful ski-jumping sportsman. He runs an apartment hotel now where you can see him and talk to him sometimes.
Due to its location right at the border to the Czech Republic day trips to Karlovy Vary and other beautiful cities/towns there are easily doable.
The first town hall was built around 1440 but completely destroyed in the big fire of 1633. The second one was erected in 1692 but burnt down too (1809). Three years later on May 9, 1812 the third and last town hall was build by the architects Haertel and Neckermann. In 1813 the municipal government moved into the new building (left photo).
One of the most beautiful buildings in town is the St. Jokobi Church (right photo). It is dedicated to St. Jacobus, the patron saint of merchants and traders. The church was built in 1635 after the big fire of August 5, 1633 had destroyed the 1440 church completely.
Stollberg is a small district town in the northwest of the Ore Mountains. It was founded around 700 by the Sorbs and became the city charter in 1343. Stollberg suffered from the Thirty-Years-War in 1633 and from the pest around the same time.
Today Stollberg has about 13.000 inhabitants and the main export goods are traditional handicrafts.
Landmark and also the symbol of the town seal is the Marienkirche. The church is a reminder of the settlement of the Ore Mountains. The interior is in Romanesque style and is party from the foundation of Stollberg.
Aue attracts with many business and citizen houses with Art Nouveau and Gründerzeit style elements. Also the town hall (right photo - in the background) was built in the Gründerzeit (founder years).
Landmark of the town is St. Nikolai Church at "Schwarzenberger Strasse" (left photo)which has a rich interior decoration.