Hohnstein castle was first mentioned in 1333 but is probably two centuries older. At first it was owned by Bohemian noblemen, went through various hands and finally became property of Saxony. In the last 150 years it had a mixed history with many ups and downs. In the 19th century it became a prison. From 1925-1933 it was the largest youth hostel...more
The gate and bridge that lead up to the castle form a solid barrier at the upper end of market square. The passage through the small arch is the only way. The ramp then does a 270° turn to reach the bridge and finally the gate tower. The only accessible side of the castle without vertical rocks is hence well protected.Halfway in the curve the ramp...more
The market square will probably be your point of arrival. As the whole terrain is very hilly and rocky, the square is not even either but has a rather steep incline. The upper end leads towards the gate of the castle. Looking down you have a nice town view with a couple of half-timbered houses and the yellow steeple of the church behind them. The...more
Hohnstein castle is perched on the edge of a steep rock. Weather conditions did not permit any hiking or explorations outside the town but the view from the castle gave an idea of the surrounding landscape. The town overlooks the steep Polenz valley, a deep cut into the sandstone rocks. Where the slopes aren't vertical rocks, they are covered in...more
The church of Hohnstein is one of the early churches by George Bähr which he designed before construction works at his masterpiece, Frauenkirche in Dresden, started. It seems that in these smaller buildings he tried some of his new ideas about protestant church design which then lead to the design of Frauenkirche.The baroque interior is completely...more
The parish church was built after the fire of 1724 which destroyed its precedessor together with most of the town. The new church was designed by Saxony's most famous master builder, George Bähr, town carpenter in Dresden and the architect of Dresden's Frauenkirche which was begun two years later than the church in Hohnstein. It is a compact...more
Small as it is, Hohnstein is a town not a village, and has been since it was granted the privileges of a town in the 15th century. The town developed around the castle on the tip of the rock and grew on the slopes of the valleys around it and the opposite hillside. Its ground plan looks quite twisted, I doubt there is a single straight street in...more
A *must* when in the area is to visit the viewpoint named "Brand". It is a very easy, flat walk of about 40 minutes, all the time through a beautiful forest, from Hohnstein to Brand. There is a hut with restaurant and rooms/B&B at Brand, also an information point of the National Park service (free exhibit). The viewpoint is right on the edge of the...more
This Baroque church was built by George Bähr - the architect of Dresden's Frauenkirche - 1725-28, right after the previous church was destroyed by a devastating fire.Inside balconies over two floors decorated with paintings. A large patronage box on the western side, two smaller ones to both sides of the choir. The altar (in protestant tradition...more
The location is fantastic, on a sandstone mountain above the Polenz valley. 1333 - 1443 owned by Bohemian aristocrats, then purchased by the Saxon Duke Electors. Since 1543 it was used as prison and hunting lodge, 1924 - 33 youth hostel, 1933/34 first concentration camp of Saxony, during WWII prisoner-of-war-camp, since 1951 youth hostel again.The...more
That's the right place for a hiker - a former B&B with restaurant, built in pseudo-Swiss style in 1896 in totally isolated location in the Polenz valley. The name refers to the mill near the village Waltersdorf, which is on a plateau above the valley (opposite side from Hohnstein). The mill was mentioned in the 15th century, is out of operation...more
The mountain hut style Brand-Baude enjoys a fantastic setting on the edge of a forested plateau overlooking the Saxon Switzerland region. It is about 3 km away from the small town Hohnstein, easily accessible in a 40 minutes flat walk.The place became popular about the year 1800, when a kiosk offered simple food. Soon a first wooden hut was built...more
The buffoon "Kasper", a woocarved figure for theatre plays, was created by Max Jacob when he still lived in Hartenstein/Erzgebirge, in 1921. A couple of years later, in 1928, Jacob moved to Hohnstein and performed on the castle. In 1937 the "Hohnsteiner Kasper" theatre won a gold medal at the World Exhibit in Paris.
Max Jacob moved to Hamburg after WWII, ran from the communists. One of his students continued carving Kasper figures in Hohnstein. The guy is now in his 70s or 80s (not sure) and still carves. A registered society keeps the tradition of Kasper figure theatre performances alive, there is a festival every first weekend in June in Hohnstein. Performances are held on the castle at the moment, as long as the (really) small festival house is undergoing renovation.
The festival house is at the bus stop "Eiche", at the begin of the minor road that leads to a residential area first and then turns into the hiking trail to Brand. There is a plate commemorating Max Jacob on the house (pic 2).
One of the best viewpoints in the region is called "Hohburkersdorfer Rundblick" - after the village of the same name that is just some hundred meters north of the viewpoint, a few km west of Hohnstein and part of the municipality. With an elevation of 393 m you can't really call it a mountain, it's more like a rolling hill - but the panoramic views...more
Another picturesque village that is part of the municipality Hohnstein, is Goßdorf - the neighbour of Waitzdorf, accessible on the same narrow, curvy road. You just drive straight ahead instead of turning right about a km before you reach one of the villages (signposted).Goßdorf is a bit larger than Waitzdorf and stretches from the plateau down...more
If you want to see a picture-perfect tiny village then go to Waitzdorf. It is located a few km east of Hohnstein. A narrow and curvy minor road takes you there if you're driving, better yet walk/hike to Waitzdorf. Its location is so isolated, on a plateau above a steep and deep valley and behind a small mountain, that the Soviet Army didn't show up...more
This hike is very enjoyable. You start in the quaint town Hohnstein, take the direction to Brand viewpoint first but when entering the forest turn right on "Neuweg" trail. After some minutes you descend through a glen to the Polenz valley where you turn left to walk to Waltersdorfer Mühle (see Restaurant tip) and cross the river on an old bridge....more
The region around Hohnstein is dotted with excellent viewing points; one of the best is Hockstein vis-a-vis the town on the other side of the Polenz valley. To get there you - more or less - need to follow the Nature/Heritage Trail (Lehrpfad) with signs explaining history and nature of the area.The trail starts right on Hohnstein's small market...more
One of my absolute favourite places to enjoy sunset is the "Brand" viewpoint. It is beautiful on any day the sun is out, but it is magical if there are some clouds that the setting sun can light up from below - see the pictures which were taken on 14 November 2010! Be prepared to share the view with some locals, but it's never too busy.
The name "Brand" means "fire" - and it seems to refer to the colours of the sunset. Spectacular!!
For more info on that place see my Things To Do and Restaurant Tips, please.