In the outskirts of Meißen, about 2 km upstream from the old town, is a small mountain ridge on the right bank of the Elbe river - the so called "Spaargebirge." It only rises about 100 m above the river level, and yet, it is a landmark. It is a very nice area for some leisure walking/hiking, with nice little glens, viewpoints, many vineyards and wineries, some wine taverns/restaurants.
Pic 1 and 2 were taken on a weekend of the open wineries, last weekend in August a couple of years ago. You can see the vineyard "Schwalbennest" is right above the Elbe river providing beautiful views. Next to the river runs the Elbe cycling trail, off the (busy) road.
Pic 3 was taken in 2013, last Sunday in October. The weather did not really co-operate, but I could clearly see Dresden and the mounains of Saxon Switzerland in the far distance. This picture and the following ones were taken from Boselspitze, the southernmost viewpoint of Spaargebirge. There is also a Botanical Garden right there, run by the Dresden Tech University.
Pic 4 was taken from Juchhöh, another viewpoint on the western side of Spaargebirge. From here you have great views of Meißen with some vineyards in the foreground and the castle hill plus cathedral as landmark in the background.
Pic 5 shows a restaurant with viewing tower between Boselspitze and Juchhöh, built 1888/89. I didn't bother going up since the weather was not too good. But the panoramic view must be fantastic.
I had parked the car by the Elbe cycling trail at Kapitelholzsteig/Vincenz Richter winery (free). From there I walked up via Kapitelholzsteig, first turned south to Boselspitze, then back to the restaurant on pic 5 and continued to Juchhöh viewpoint from where I walked down to Niederspaar district, a settlement with some old wineries and now favourite residential area. Via Rodelandweg I went to Bauernhäus'l wine tavern (see restaurant tip) where had coffee and cake, walked via Alte Spaargasse to the Elbe cycling trail and along the river back to the car. Along the road by the river is also a bus service, the stop by the parking is called "Kapitelholzsteig."
This little gem is in a small village, only a few km south of Meißen's old town. It was built 1591-98, the steeple (which you can see from far away as the church is located on the highest point of the left bank plateau above the Elbe river) is from 1717.
The choir has a post-Gothic net-shaped vaulted ceiling. On the left side is the patronage box of the Miltitz family. The sandstone altar (1606) is a donation of Magdalene von Pflugk, incorporating an epitaph for her husband, Ernst Wilhelm von Miltitz. It's an excellent work of art, slightly changed in 1817 in the style of that era. The pulpit, like the altar and the baptismal font created by Hans Köhler, is from 1596 and also very ornate and donated by the Miltitz family. The baptismal font (pic 5) from 1597 is also made of sandstone and has colourful depictions of children with the Arma Christi at the foot, and scenes from the bible (like Flight to Egypt) at the hexagonal font.
Showpiece of the church is the epitaph for Alexander von Miltitz (1657 - 1738), who was administrative official in charge of the court in Dresden (Oberhofmarschall). It was created by Johann Joachim Kändler, an excellent sculptor and busy at the famous porcelain manufacture in Meißen (pic 4).
The church is usually open in summer. If not, contact the vicarage in Röhrsdorf:
Ev.-Luth. Pfarramt in Röhrsdorf
Pfarrer Christoph Rechenberg
01665 Klipphausen, OT Röhrsdorf, Kirchberg 5
This small chapel is in a somewhat remote location, on a hill called "Plossenberg" above the old town (left bank), but vis-a-vis the castle hill.
It was built in the 12th century, the Romanesque style of the architecture is pretty well preserved despite the damages in the Hussite wars and the following restoration (1437) of the interior. In 1683 the interior was again redesigned. The northern windows are still Romanesque, ditto the southern portal. The altar is said to have nice carved, colourful figures (St. Martin, John the Evangelist, St. Urban, from about 1500) but was away undergoing restoration when I visited.
Remarkable is the pulpit from 1516 with a painting: a skull, snakes coming out of they eyes, below a coffin and a ribbon with inscription "INRI/1516". Worth a look is also the Romanesque relief at the triumphal arch, depicting two horizontal canes on which pilgrim's bags hang, in the middle an open book.
On the outside (don't remember which facade) you can see a cannonball, a relic from the battle of 1813, when the French fired from here at the Russians on the other bank of the Elbe river.
Nowadays the Martinskapelle serves as cemetery chapel and is only open at ceremonies or special occasions like European Heritage Day. Or ask for the key at the vicarage in the old town.
Most tourists see the old town on the left bank and totally miss the sights on the right bank. Granted, it cannot compete with the picturesque medieval old town, but it has some interesting sights of its own.
One of them is the Neo-Gothic parish church, Johanneskirche. It was built 1895-98 according to plans of Theodor Quentin. The ground-plan is that of a Greek cross, has a centralizing appearance and impresses the visitor with its unconventional materials and decoration, foreshadowing Art Nouveau style, so the fresco at the triumphal arch by Sascha Schneider and altar and pulpit (caramic products by local manufactures).
The church is open on weekdays in summer.
The large town hall is the dominating building at the Market square. It was erected 1472-80 by Nickel Steinbach under the influence of Arnold von Westfalen's innovative architecture at the Albrechtsburg castle. I had the chance to join a guided tour on European Heritage Day in 2010, shortly after the thorough restoration was completed.
Most impressive is maybe the huge roof with 5 floors height. The wooden framework is almost completely preserved. Amazing (pic 5). 50,000 roof-tiles in historic rhombic shape were manufactured to replace the old original ones.
Very beautiful is also the very large hall on the first floor with three pillars in the middle, supporting a massive beam and the wooden ceiling, all originally preserved from the end of 15th century (pic 3). With about 600 sqm it was the largest secular room in Germany in the 15th century. On pic 4 you can see the fresco on the eastern wall of this hall and the adjoining "chamber of stone" with cellular vault.
If there are no guided tours offered that you can join, have at least a look into the entrance hall (pic 2). When they restored the town hall they found those large pillars and arches on the ground floor and restored them. Originally that was the market hall.
The complex of buildings that were mostly erected in the 16th/17th century goes back to a small medieval castle. The main house and the neighbouring one that has a large hall inside were built 1570. Pretty much structure of that era is preserved, you cannot see much of it as the Schloss contains several apartments. The families who live there don't mind if you walk around on the grounds, though. Just don't be too nosy and don't enter the apartments (the doors are often open).
There are often events/festivals in the Schloss. Quite popular are the Pentecost Festival, the classical concerts in the large hall, the Christmas market (3rd Advent weekend), the Baroque music festival (last week of August).
Worth a visit are also the exhibits that take place in the former chapel from the 17th century (interior modern). The gardens are very nice, too, and you're welcome to spend time there.
In 1550 Ernst von Miltitz built a castle in Renaissance style on the hill above the river, about 2 km south of the old town of Meißen. In 1748 the castle was redesigned in Baroque style, the courtyard with arcades was enclosed by a Baroque wing where the entrance now is. Not very much of the interior is preserved; most interesting are the wooden ceilings (pic 4) and the arcades in the courtyard, also the views of the park and the vineyards across the river. Remarkable is that Schloss Siebeneichen was one of the most significant places in the romantic era in Saxony: Heinrich von Kleist, Novalis and J. G. Fichte e.g. spent time here, discussed their ideas and works.
There is a nice park around the Schloss, designed 1816 - 18/enlarged 1830 - 42, thus one of the earliest English parks in Saxony.
The Schloss is used as a place for further education for teachers nowadays; it is open only on special occasions, the park is always accessible.
The parish church in the district Zscheila, located on a hill on the right bank, was first mentioned in 1180. The present church building goes back to a reconstruction in early Baroque style 1667/68, when the nave got its vaults, balconies, burial chapel and patronage box were added, the tower got its new top, tha interior got a new altar and the pulpit. I must admit I never made it inside - either the church was closed or underwent renovation - like on my latest visit in 2012. However, after the renovation is completed in spring 2013, they plan to have the church open daily during summer months.
It's not just the church itself that makes the place worth a visit. They surrounding cemetery, enclosed by a 2 m tall rubblework wall, is picturesque and has numerous beautiful tombstones. The view of the old town and the Albrechtsburg castle is also stunning (pic 5).
Outside the historic cemetery is another one for the soldiers of the Red Army that died in the battles around Meißen in 1945 (pics 3+4). Very moving.
The city museum is in the former Franciscan monastery in the old town. The Gothic church from the 14th/15th century is well preserved, the cloisters and other buildings were torn down 1855/57. The cloisters, however, were partially reconstructed using original material in the following years when the buildings in neo-Gothic style as annexes to the complex were erected.
The cloisters host the exhibit of sculptures and epitaphs, the neo-Gothic houses show in some rooms an exhibit with interior from the 19th century. The church has the main exhibit on several floors.
The exhibit on the city history overall is a bit chaotic, you find pieces from different eras and on very different topics next to each other. The art collections are better structured, the works in the cloisters and the woodcarved sculptures/small altars are of high quality, ditto the porcelain and pictures in the period rooms (e.g. by Lucas Cranach, Johann Alexander Thiele). I was stunned to see the original artwork that Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld did for the frescos in Munich's Residenz, depicting the legend of the Nibelungs.
Admission fee: 3 Euro
Opening hours: Tue - Sun 10 - 18 h.
The Albrechtsburg is situated on top of a hill overlooking the town of Meissen. It looks picturesque from far and near!
We didn't go inside, but just enjoyed having a look around the outskirts.
Oh, one interesting detail for all the romantic people out there on VT: it is possible to get married inside the Albrechtsburg!
In the 18th century the art of making porcelain inspired by the pieces from China started in Meißen. Till 1863 the Meißen Albrechtsburg was the location for the experiments to refine the production and to master the art of shaping, hardening, colouring and decoration of the porcelain.
In 1720 a National Porcelain Industry was grounded called "Königlich-Polnische und Kurfürstlich-Sächsische Porzellan-Manufaktur". In 1806 the company went over in the hands of the treasury and was called "Königlich-Sächsische Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen" thereafter. In 1918 the name was changed into "Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen".
During the DDR period the company became a Volkseigener Betrieb (VEB) and after the "Wende" the company is property of the Freistaat Saksen and called "Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH".
The company logo are 2 crossed swords (first used in 1731); its world-wide trademark.
The Manafaktur has a demonstration section where several steps in the porcelain production process are highlighted and demonstrated. There is a big porcelain exhibition, partly fixed and partly special exhibition.
There's a porcelain boutique, an outlet store and a souvenir shop.
Furthermore there's a cantine and a restaurant.
Admittance: € 8.50 (adult).
Mo-Su: 9AM - 6PM
Mo-Su: 9AM - 5PM
The Albrechtsburg Castle was constructed in the 15th century and its the oldest German castle.
The "White Gold" or porcelain from Meißen is legendary. The castle was the location were the first experiments to manafucture local porcelain took place. Thereafter for more than 150 years the procuction was concentrated at the Albrechtsburg Castle.
Admission fee: Euro 8.00 (Adult)
Summer visiting hours:
Daily: 10AM - 6PM
The porcelain manufacture and museum is a must see. 27 km south of Dresden .there are signs on road leading to the factory ,The parking lot is 200 m up on the street on the left side ( 1 euro per hour )When u get ticket for the guided tour ask for earphones for your preferred language. The tour passes in different rooms where u can see demonstration by workers how they make the porcelain and paintings ,then go up to museum it is worth see.
The old parsonage, an impressive house opposite the entrance to the churchyard, was built around 1535. The building complex is still inhabited by the parson of the church.
A pretty detail: the renaissance oriel on the corner, high above the street.
Afraberg is the nearest hilltop southwest of Burgberg. Leave Burgberg through the gate tower and follow the winding street on the big wall. After some bends you are facing the pale yellow choir facade of the church.
Alternative: climb the stairway behind the Church of Our Lady in marekt square.
The church was built around 1300, two chapels were donated by noble families and added in the 15th century. Altar and pulpit date around 1660. The church was closed when I pased so I cannot tell much about the interior. The location on the hilltop overlooking the old town, the surrounding churchyard and the ensemble of historical buildings were nevertheless worth the visit.
The settlement on Afraberg enjoyed certain privileges, including freedom of taxes. Noble families, clerics and high-ranking court servants were living here in the late middle ages and 16th century. This explains the impressive houses that assemble around the church, including the old parsonage (see following tip).