Cradle of Saxony
Once upon a time, the German King Henry I established a stronghold on a certain hill, today known as Meissen. These events took place in 929, thanks to which Meissen is called the cradle of Saxony. In 1423, Meissen became a residential town of the Saxon electorate. The Gothic castle named Albrechstsburg was their residents. Together with the most Gothic cathedral in Germany, they are among the greatest attractions of this lovely town. I visited Meissen twice, due to fact that I was on Erasmus in nearby Leipzig! During both trip I had the feeling that I’m in mediterranean town. If I hadn’t knew that I’m in Germany I would definitely say that I must be somewhere in South Europe. 😀 This feeling only confirms that Meissen has an unique charm that you have to discover by yourself. Let me show you why Meissen is such an incredible city!
How to get to Meissen?
In my case the journey was fast and easy. I was traveling by Deutsche Bahn train from Leipzig. I had to change in Dresden to S-Bahn in direction to Meissen Triebischtal. I was traveling within Sachsen Ticket – here you can read how those tickets works! I recommend to get off at Meissen Altstadt, which is perfect stop if you want to go to Porcelain Museum or to the square.
Meissen is a pretty well-marked city, so after leaving S-bahn (depending on your preferences), you will know which way to go. I recommend to start from the Porcelain Museum, which is on the opposite side of Albrechtsburg. Admission to the museum (in my case, a student ticket – 6 euros) costs 10 euros, but I will immediately add that is WORTH! Maybe I’m not a fan of art and I can not appreciate it as experts do, but even a layman like me will be pleased. The exhibition is divided into two parts. The first is an interactive film showing the history of porcelain, along with the process of its production (of course, the exact recipes are top secret). Then we have the opportunity to look at how local craftsmen work. No wonder that even the smallest porcelain figures are very expensive. It is an extremely hard and intricate work that also requires a little talent.
After this part, we have the opportunity to admire amazing museum collections. The white gold collection is a proud showcase of Meissen and is definitely not overrated! In Meissen was established the first Porcelain Manufactory in Europe in 1710. Their hallmark is two crossed blue swords.
Meissen and its Mediterranean atmosphere
From the Porcelain Museum, we were heading towards the main square. This “external” part of Meissen reminds us that the city lies in the poorer region of Germany. Old tenements seem to spoil the climate of the city, but suddenly between them appeared a terraced hill with vineyards. Everything seems to be beautiful again. Those vineyards, along with the winding, narrow streets, which run alternately up and down, remind me the Mediterranean cities. 🙂
The Meissen market is a real pleasure for the eye! Already on our way to the square, we passed wonderfully restored, Renaissance burgher houses in various colors. Countless shops, hospitable restaurants, cafes, etc. won’t let you be hungry or thirsty. Being on the market, pay attention to two gothic buildings in this place. The first of them is the white City Hall, which was erected at the beginning of the 15th century. The second one is the Frauenkirche Church, whose tower was already built in the 13th century.
Albrechtsburg is not only a great representative castle, but also the first residential castle! The Saxon Electors lived here from 1423 until the Thirty Years’ War, during which the castle suffered heavily. In addition, Albrechtsburg is also a story full of Polish accents. In the 18th century, the splendor of the castle was restored by polish king, August II Strong Sas. In 1710 he founded the Royal-Polish and Electro-Saxon Porcelain Manufactures in the castle of Albrechtsburg. (It was the period of the Polish-Saxon Union, hence August II Strong stayed in these regions).
Currently, the castle is open for visitors and tickets can be combined with the entrance to the museum of porcelain, so you can save a few euros. However, I didn’t decide to visit the castle. I walked along it because from its terraces can be admired beautiful views of the Elbe and nearby buildings.
I also didn’t enter the wonderful Cathedral, which was closed. The historical cathedral was founded in 968 by the Emperor Otto I. Currently it is a Lutheran church of the Saxon State.
That’s all what I’ve prepared for you! I hope you like it and it will be useful for you.
Let me know if you already have been to Meissen! 🙂
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