Lauenstein Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by german_eagle
  • Renaissance castle, view from courtyard
    Renaissance castle, view from courtyard
    by german_eagle
  • painted wooden ceiling
    painted wooden ceiling
    by german_eagle

Most Recent Things to Do in Lauenstein

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    Wildflower spotting

    by german_eagle Updated Jun 9, 2014

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    If you're tired of seeing architecture and art then you can easily add a walk or longer hike in the beautiful surroundings of Lauenstein. The region is well known for the blooming wildflowers, many of them rarely to find anywhere else in Central Europe outside the Alps. The best time is end of May until mid July.

    It only takes 15 minutes of a gentle walk, starting at the Markt square in Lauenstein, to get to the protected area "Rotwassertal", followed by the meadows of "Bärenwald" area. On the opposite side of the valley, around Mt. Geising, are probably the most beautiful meadows with lots of broad-leaved marsh orchid (pic 4, and other, even rarer orchids), globe-flowers, mountain arnica and tiger lily, and only an hour walk away.

    In southern direction toward the main crest of the Erzgebirge mountains are moors with different, also fascinating wildflowers/vegetation.

    These mountain meadows are under strict protection. There is a project named "Bergwiesen Osterzgebirge", that gets Federal subsidies for preservation of the meadows. All in all the protected mountain meadows have a surface of 2700 ha / 6.671 acres.

    meadows with wildflowers above Lauenstein wildflowers near Lauenstein wildflowers near Lauenstein meadows with wildflowers above Lauenstein meadows with wildflowers above Lauenstein
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    Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein - Bünau chapel

    by german_eagle Written Jun 8, 2014

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    You will certainly not overlook the Bünau chapel, left side behind the altar - it is the most amazing piece of art in this church and one of the fines Renaissance works I've ever seen. It was designed as the burial chapel for the Bünau family. You enter through an impressive portal with wrought-iron door and see the huge epitaph with many scenes and figurs right in front of you.

    Lorenz Hörnig created this piece from 1609 on, it's his major work, 9 m tall and 5 m wide. In front of the floor are the gravestones for Günter von Bünau and his two wifes.

    Again, I'd like to give the link to Kathrin_E's tip, she's the expert. But see the pics in my travelogue as well or, even better, come and see yourself!

    B��nau chapel B��nau tomb B��nau tomb B��nau tomb, detail B��nau tomb, detail
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    Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein

    by german_eagle Written Jun 8, 2014

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    The church in Lauenstein is a jewel. The beautiful late Gothic hall-type church houses some outstanding Renaissance works of art that you would not expect in such a tiny town far off the beaten path. And yet, word has obviously not spread yet among the fans of Renaissance art, you often have the church to yourself when visiting (happened to me three times.)

    The present building was reconstructed 1596 - 1602 after a devastating fire. The older choir is preserved and has a beautiful stellar-type vault decorated with frescoes. The three-nave hall also has a nice vault, but it's of course younger, from the reconstruction.

    The significant works of art inside are from the late 16th/early 17th century. The magnificent altar, pulpit and baptismal font are main works of Michael Schwenke from nearby Pirna (see St. Mary's church there). The epitaphs, the alabaster cross and the works in the Bünau chapel (see separate tip) were done by Lorentz Hörnig, also from Pirna. The detail of the art works is amazing, especially as the material is sandstone, not marble. See my travelogues also.

    I'm not going into more detail here, but would like to refer to Kathrin_E's Lauenstein page. She, as an art historian, is the expert.

    Open Tue - Sat 11 am and 2 pm, Sun 2 pm.
    Admission 2 Euro, with guided tour 3 Euro. Photo permit 3 Euro.

    Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein, altar Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein, baptismal font Ev.-Lutheran church Lauenstein, pulpit
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    Castle gardens

    by german_eagle Written Jun 8, 2014

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    No castle without a garden/park. There are actually two in Lauenstein: One is a formal Baroque garden, on the northern side of the large courtyard and free. The other is the herbs garden on the western side of the castle, next to the medieval part. You need to pay the admission fee for the museum to get there.

    The formal garden was designed in 1716, it is rather small but nice, with some sculptures, container plants and offering nice views of the impressive eastern facade of the Renaissance castle (pics 1, 2, 3).

    The herbs garden is older, probably existed since the medieval times, but had to be restored in recent years. Nowadays it is a fine place for relaxing after the museum visit. There are two levels, linked by a narrow staircase, with all sorts of herbs - for colouration, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs etc. (pics 4, 5).

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    Museum in the castle

    by german_eagle Updated Jun 8, 2014

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    The castle does not only attract fans of architecture - the exhibits are interesting, too. Permanent exhibits are on:
    - George Bähr, born near Lauenstein and architect of Dresden's Frauenkirche and other Baroque buildings and churches (pics 3 and 4),
    - The history of a Saxon specialty, the distance columns from the first half of the 18th century,
    - The history of the Müglitz valley railroad, including a working scene of the part Geising - Altenberg,
    - Nature in the Eastern Erzgebirge mountains, which means geology, flora and fauna, including an interactive "guess which animal makes this sound" game (pic 5) and info on hunting,
    - a picture gallery, mostly 19th/20th century paintings depicting scenes from the region.

    You need to understand German, though - no English explanations available. Admission to the museum also includes access to the herbs garden, the Turkish and birds' hall (pics 1 and 2), the chapel and the medieval ruins.

    Admission fee: 3 Euro in winter, 4 Euro in summer, Photo permit 1 Euro.
    Opening times: Tue - Sun 10 am - 4.30 pm.

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    Renaissance castle

    by german_eagle Written Jun 8, 2014

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    Between mid 16th and mid 17th century the Bünaus, one of the leading families in Saxony, commissioned a reconstruction and additions to the existing medieval castle in Renaissance style. Result is the present, magnificent complex with only few later modifications.

    From the Markt square you enter the large courtyard through a gatehouse with a beautiful portal (1580, pic 2), to the right is a nice, small Baroque garden and you have a good view of the impressive eastern facade of the castle (pic 1). A stone bridge leads to the main portal (also from 1580, pic 3) and the entrance to the museum.

    Inside you find vaulted halls, painted wooden ceilings (pic 5), a chapel with sculpted corbels and pulpit (pic 4), the Turkish hall with excellent stucco works and the birds' hall with net vault and frescoes of birds. The Renaissance castle is home of the museum with interesting exhibits.

    Admission fee (courtyard is free): 3 Euro in winter, 4 Euro in summer, Photo permit 1 Euro.
    Opening times: Tue - Sun 10 am - 4.30 pm

    Renaissance castle, view from courtyard Outer gate to the courtyard Renaissance castle, portal from courtyard Chapel in the castle painted wooden ceiling
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    Castle - the oldest part

    by german_eagle Written Jun 8, 2014

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    There is still quite a bit left of the old, medieval castle - mostly ruins, though. When walking up from the train station down in the valley you get a good view of it and you realise why it was built at this place - on a rocky promontory overlooking the valley, secure on three sides from attacks (pic 3).

    Some of the preserved structures go back to the 13th century - mostly basement/cellars (pic 5), the dungeon, the Palas (residential quarter/castle keep, pic 4) with the so called trumpeter's hall (pics 1, 2). The newer Renaissance castle was partially built on those basements, some towers visible from the eastern (entrance) side were originally fortified towers from the 13th century and reconstructed in the Renaissance era for residential purposes.

    The medieval parts/ruins are fun to explore, especially for kids, and accessible through the museum.
    Admission fee: 4 Euro. Photo permit 1 Euro.
    April - Oct Tue - Sun 10 am - 4.30 pm (The medieval part/ruins are closed in winter for safety reasons.)

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    The Bünau Tomb in the Church

    by Kathrin_E Updated Dec 29, 2010

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    The church is the greatest treasure of art and architecture in Lauenstein, and the family tomb in the Bünau chapel is the greatest treasure of art in the church. Günther von Bünau had the tomb made for himself, his two (successive) wives and children. The family members are kneeling in front of a five-storey retable-like sturcture: Günther and his six sons on the left, the wives and five daughters on the right. The men are depicted in full armour, the women in festive dresses and rich jewellery. The two children figures represent a son and a daughter who died at or soon after birth.

    Have a close look at the details of the figures and their costumes: the hair and beards, the lace, the folded collars, the spurs... the quality of the sculpted work is jawdropping.

    Don't overlook the wrought-iron portal and its elaborate stone frame.

    B��nau tomb B��nau tomb Detail of G��nther's armour with spur and lace The portal The actual tombstones of G��nther and his wives
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    The Church

    by Kathrin_E Written Dec 29, 2010

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    Lauenstein's greatest treasure of art and architecture is definitely the parish church. After a big fire it was rebuilt and refurbished around 1600, roughly the same time as the renaissance palace and under the same patron, Günther von Bünau. The architecture is in late, latest gothic forms but the furnituring, like altar, pulpit, tombs and epitaphs, show the new renaissance style. Günther von Bünau donated these pieces, and he was wealthy enough to hire the best stonemasons he could hold of. The sculpted works are masterpieces, especially the tomb in the Bünau chapel, which deserves a separate tip.

    The church underwent a thorough restauration in the 1990s. When it was finally finished, an unlucky short-circuit caused a fire in the organ and soot blackened the vaults and the entire upper half of the walls, scuplted works and everything. The water caused addtitional damage. Restauration had to start from scratch again. They made it, though, and the church has regained its splendour.

    The church can only be visited with guided tours. During the winter tours take place on Saturday and Sunday, 14:00. From April 2011 onwards there will be daily tours (Tues-Sat 11:00 and 14:00, Sun 14:00, closed on Mondays). If these times don't match your plans, contact the parish or one of the guides via the website to make an appointment.

    Parish church, interior Parish church, interior Vaults in the choir The chandelier Moses carrying the pulpit
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    The Castle resp. Palace

    by Kathrin_E Updated Dec 29, 2010

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    The history of the place begins in the middle ages, probably around 1200, with a castle on the point of the steep rock. The castle has long fallen into ruins. Around 1600 it was substituted by a renaissance palace that befitted the lifestyle of the nobility much better. For 300 years the castle and town belonged to the noble family von Bünau. They were wealthy and influential and owned large estates in both Saxony and Bohemia.

    From market square all you see of the palace is the pretty renaissance gatehouse. Walk through into the courtyard. I visited in winter and deep snow. So all I could access was the courtyard and the museum in the main wing (see separate tip). If you visit in summer you can also explore the ruins and walk the reconstructed castle garden.

    Castle ruin and palace from the road The gatehouse The inner courtyard with the main wing Gatehouse and economy buildings Renaissance oriel on the main palace
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    The Museum in the Palace

    by Kathrin_E Updated Dec 29, 2010

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    The main wing of the renaissance palace has been well restored. It hosts the Osterzgebirgemuseum with permanent exhibitions about the history, economy, arts and nature of the eastern Ore Mountains. It includes presentations about the architect George Bähr, the Saxon post and its distance columns, the Müglitz valley railway, the forests of the Ore Mountains, hunting, regional landscape paintings and so on. The visit also includes the preserved historical rooms: the Turkish or Crest Hall and the Birds Hall with their beautiful renaissance stucco, the former palace chapel, and the prisons. Topics vary widely, which makes the museum diverting and entertaining.

    Temporary exhibitions show contemporary art or local traditions - when I visited there was an exhibition on gingerbread making.

    Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-16:30, closed on Mondays except public holidays
    Entrance fees: adults 4 €, kids and concessions 3 €. Photo permit 1 €.
    From November to March the castle ruins and the gardens cannot be accessed, thus the entrance fee is 1 € less.

    Remains of the destroyed Frauenkirche in Dresden The system of distance columns of the Saxon post Prison cell The Crest or Turkish Hall Exhibition on gingerbread making
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