Upper Lusatia is simply legendary. Stretching from Bautzen to Görlitz to the tri-border area between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic around Zittau is not only a unique cultural region, but also an enchanting, varied landscape.
Welcome to Upper Lusatia! – Witajće k nam w Hornjej Łužicy!
Upper Lusatia is a region steeped in legends. The area around Zittau was once where Karasek, the leader of a band of robbers, got up to his mischief – an originally Polish »Robin Hood« who stole from the rich to give to the poor. But Upper Lusatia is also home to creatures like the sorcerer Krabat and the water man. These Sorbian mythical characters, which are still known and popular to this day, demonstrate how intensively customs and traditions are fostered here. The bilingual town signs also make visitors aware of and curious about the closely linked German-Sorbian story. Around 35,000 Sorbs live in the region and speak their own language. The customs practised by these Slavic peoples, who have lived here for more than 1,500 years, also include the Easter riding processions, in which riders in tails and top hats, on festively adorned horses, announce the happy news of Christ's resurrection.
Bautzen, the centre of Sorbian culture, can today look back on over 1,000 years of history. Görlitz has also been through quite a lot. While Germany's easternmost city was reduced to soot and ash by a fire in 1525, a unique complex of new buildings were erected in early Renaissance style, and continue to stand to this day. Well over 4,000 monuments get visitors in the mood to explore. In the region's far south, in the tri-border area with Poland and the Czech Republic, is the Lenten cloth city of Zittau, whose townscape bears numerous signs of the former wealth brought by trade, cloth-making and brewing. And when leaving the city, no matter which direction you may be heading in, visitors will encounter one of the region's symbolic sights – beautiful, well preserved Upper Lusatian Houses or Umgebindehäuser.
The cities of Upper Lusatia and Lower Silesia are simply fascinating. And they can look back on a long, shared history. Bautzen, Görlitz, Lubań (today in Poland), Kamenz, Löbau and Zittau displayed their solidarity as early as 1346, when they forged together to from the Lusatian League. The aim here was to jointly protect the trade routes and strengthen economic and political power. Today, the cities are very popular among tourists as outstanding examples of medieval architecture with well preserved historic centres.
The people and cultures are just as diverse as the landscape in Upper Lusatian: From the UNESCO-protected heath and pond landscape between the Spree and Neisse rivers, to Muskau Park in Bad Muskau, to the Zittau Mountains or Saxony's largest inland body of water, the Bärwalder See, there's something for everyone here. It's no coincidence that the »land of 1000 lakes and ponds« is a haven for cycling and hiking.