Zittau Off The Beaten Path

  • Paulus preaching in Athens
    Paulus preaching in Athens
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    flower beds
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    Constitution Column
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Zittau

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    Fleischbänke (butcher's stalls)

    by german_eagle Written Jan 8, 2011

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    Butcher's stalls

    Zittau is one of the few towns where the old butcher's stalls are still preserved. Granted, they were transfered from their original place in the back of the old town hall to their current place when the new town hall was built, but still ...

    They are now in Reichenberger Straße that leads from Rathaus square south. Access is also through a gateway of the impressive Neo-Renaissance townhouse south of the town hall.

    The butcher's stalls were built 1567, made of wood. As the name indicates this is where the butchers sold meat in the old days.

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    Old High School (Altes Gymnasium)

    by german_eagle Updated Jan 8, 2011

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    Altes Gymnasium
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    The precedessor of the present "Christian Weise Gymnasium" (High School) in the Johanneum building was the so called "Alte Gymnasium", located at the square north of Johannis church. The school was founded in 1586, initiated by mayor Nikolaus von Dornspach in 1571 - the poor guy died 1580, thus couldn't see the opening of the school. The Gymnasium developed very well and soon gained state wide an excellent reputation, especially under principal Christian Weise in the 18th century.

    The original building is still there, thus it is one of the oldest preserved High School buildings in Germany. It got its final shape in 1602. At the southern facade is the tombstone of Nikolaus von Dornspach which was found in the rubble of Johannis church and transfered to this place in 1837.

    Please note the inscription below the roof. It is a quote from Cicero's "De divinatione" and reads as follows:
    "Nullum munus melius majusve rei publicae offere possumus, quam sie doceamus atque erudiamus juventutem, his praesertim moribus ac temporibus, quibus ita prolapsa est, ut omnium opibus refrenanda atque coercenda sit."
    My poor attempt of a translation:
    "We can accomplish no great and better mission for the state than to teach youth, especially in these times and under these conditions, by which they are so spoiled, that they have to be restrained by all means and kept in check."

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    Lion Fountain

    by german_eagle Written Jan 7, 2011

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    Lion fountain
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    Walking from the train station to the old town you come across a fountain with a lion relief above on the left side of the street, just after a few steps. This lion monument was created in the 18th century for the outside of the city gate next to the Weber church. When the city gate was torn down in 1828 the relief was transferred to this present place.

    Actually, it makes sense that there is a fountain at this place - right behind it are the city's water works. But, oh wonder, the fountain is dead - no water springs from it. What a shame!

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    Waentig house

    by german_eagle Written Jan 7, 2011

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    Waentig house
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    Right on that prominent place, where Johanneum, Haberkorn monument and Constitution column are, is another interesting building located: the Waentig house. Built for Geheimen Kommerzienrat Waentig (oh, these titles!) in 1853 it was later used as headquarters for the Nazi Party, the Russian headquarters after WWII and nowadays it hosts the police offices of Zittau.

    If you have a closer look you will notice the architecture is somewhat similar to that of the town hall - no surprise since the architect was the same: Carl August Schramm. Again he used style elements of Tudor Gothic and Renaissance (the tall, slender spires to both sides of the gables!).

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    Haberkorn Monument

    by german_eagle Updated Jan 7, 2011

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    Haberkorn monument
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    The site where the city gate "Bautzner Tor" once stood is now called Haberkorn square. It is one of the most frequented places in Zittau - the crossroad between the street that leads from the train station to the Market square and the circular street around the old town on the former grounds of the city walls.

    Right there is not only the Johanneum or the Constitution Column but also the monument for the former Mayor of Zittau, Daniel Ferdinand Ludwig Haberkorn. He was born 2 September 1811 in Kamenz and died in Zittau on 6 April 1901. Elected Mayor of Kamenz in 1856 he soon moved to Zittau and became Mayor there until he retired in 1886. He also was member of the Saxon State parliament for long years, even president of the II. chamber. Under his lead Zittau prospered and developed into an industrial city in the 19th century. No wonder he got a monument.

    What's most interesting for the tourist is that the monument is also a tap water spring. Free of charge! See picture #3!

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    Constitution Column

    by german_eagle Written Jan 7, 2011

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    Constitution Column

    Zittau is the only town in Saxony that commemorates the first Saxon constitution from 4 September 1831. On 3 September 1833 a so called "constitution column", an obelisk on a podest, was inaugurated next to one of the city gates (Bautzner Tor). More than 35 years later the Johanneum (see separate tip) was built nearby and the column is in a nice small garden-like location now.

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    Baugewerkeschule

    by german_eagle Written Jan 7, 2011

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    Baugewerkeschule

    This is another of the buildings that were erected at the circle around the old town where the former city walls had been. 1846-48 Carl August Schramm, a student of Schinkel, designed the building in the tradition of Schinkel's famous Bauakademie in Berlin.

    Outside Schramm used elements of Tudor gothic style. The facade appears quite ornate: Above the main entrance are symbols for Mathematics and compass, angle, perpendicular for architecture. Take a closer look also at the pattern of the roof tiles and the plaster sgraffito.

    Since 1990 the building is home of the adult education centre.

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    Johanneum

    by german_eagle Updated Jan 7, 2011

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    Johanneum
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    The Johanneum, nowadays Christian Weise High School (Gymnasium in German), was built 1869-71 according to plans of Erich Trümmler. Saxon King Johann was present at the ceremony when the foundation stone was laid, thus the name of the school. The architecture is eclectic - it has elements of Renaissance and Baroque style.

    Most prominent is the 56 m tall tower which reminds of the former city gate that stood just a few metres away and was torn down when the Johanneum was built. The guilded angel figure on top of the tower is from the old Weber city gate.

    The facade is richly ornamented with figures depicting allegories of knowledge and learning: owl, eagle, laurel wreath etc.

    You'll hardly be able to see the interior which is too bad. (Maybe you happen to be in Zittau on European Heritage Day? Or the first Saturday in March when they open the doors to everyone?) It is well preserved. Most beautiful is the auditorium with five large paintings by Anton Dietrich from Dresden. They depict the ancient era with Greece and Egypt and the modern era with Italy and Germany. Inbetween a picture of St. Paul preaching in Athens, depicting the Christian religion as mediator between ancient and modern eras. Interesting side note: During the communist era the painting was covered.

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    Baroque Patrician townhouses

    by german_eagle Written Jan 7, 2011

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    House Gr��tz
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    Zittau has numerous Baroque Patrician houses, all of them worth to have a closer look at. You'll pass them when strolling along the cobbled alleys of the old town. Not all of them are in best shape, as they're usually quite large it takes a lot of money to restore them. Maybe one day someone falls in love with one of those houses and ... well, let's hope so.

    One of those houses is the townhouse of the Grätz family, one of the nobles of Zittau. It is located Innere Weberstrasse 20 (the street that leads straight to Johanniskirche's impressive western facade). Merchant Grätz from Lüneburg commissioned the construction of this house 1712, in 1717 it was finished.The house has two inner yards and reaches from Innere Weberstrasse to the parallel Lindenstrasse in the back. The main portal to Innere Weberstrasse is absolutely magnificent, richly decorated with coat-of-arms, wrought-iron grating, pilasters to both sides as well as sculptures to both sides of the gable.

    Another excellent example is House Besser, located at the corner Bautzner Str/Kirchstrasse from 1745/46, built for merchant Carl Christian Besser. Most impressive is the two-storey oriel at the corner above the beautiful portal. Again, it is decorated with ornaments and sculptures. Here the sculptures are Mars (for war) and Minerva (for peace).

    To list one last example here, House Prieber (Innere Weberstrasse 12) also has a beautiful portal with ornaments and pilasters carrying a balcony with wrought-iron railing, dating from 1770.

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    Gardens

    by german_eagle Updated Jan 6, 2011

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    Flower clock
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    The old town is surrounded by a circle of parks and gardens, which were built exactly where the former fortifications were located. On the northeastern edge of the old town you find such a nice garden with a flower clock (since 1907) and a chime of Meissen porcelain (1966).

    Zittau was host of the first Saxon State garden exhibit in the early 1990s. Leftovers are to find in particular in the western district of the town (Westpark).

    Another 'green lung' of the town is the so called Weinau, an English style park with pond, restaurant, the zoo, tennis courts ... just a nice place to walk and relax.

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    Lusatian Windows

    by richiecdisc Written May 26, 2007

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    peculiar to this region but genug ist genug
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    According to my in-laws, Lusatia is well known for this particular style of surrounding structure around windows. They must have stopped at ten places as we left town so I could take photos. Unfortunately, the sun had already gone below the horizon so the light wasn't so great. I didn't have the heart to tell them I didn't need to stop for every one of them. I won't bore you with more than a couple! ;)

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    Marstall (Salzhaus)

    by german_eagle Written Jan 24, 2006

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    southern facade
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    The Marstall, also called Salzhaus, is a huge building which dominates the "Neustadt" square (east from the town hall). The Marstall was built 1511 (3 floors height). In the 18th century another floor was added plus the huge roof construction.

    After long years of decay it was finally reconstructed in 2004. The result is absolutely worth seeing. On the ground floor you find a sort of passage with several shops, bakery and restaurant. The second floor houses a hairdresser and offices, while the two upper floors are occupied by the public library of Zittau. Please visit this library! The rooms are so wonderful - a perfect combination of old and new - and they have a huge selection of books, plenty about history and architecture stuff.

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    Weberkirche

    by german_eagle Written Oct 25, 2003

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    Weberkirche

    At the western edge of the old town, as a part of the former fortifications, you find the Weberkirche. This church was built 1488 - 1500 in Gothic style and was renovated in 1889.

    On the adjoining cemetary there are a number of beautiful tombs to see, the oldest date from 1580.

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    Fleischerbastei

    by german_eagle Written Oct 25, 2003

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    Fleischerbastei

    Right next to the flower clock you find the "Fleischerbastei", the only one of 13 bastions which survived the deconstruction of the fortifications 1824 - 70.

    Nowadays it houses a restaurant.

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