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Towns and villages of Upper Lusatia, Germany

Hi all. In this thread I will present you Upper Lusatia, the region where I'm from. Upper Lusatia is a historical region in the southeasternmost corner of Germany, next to the Czech republic and Poland. Originally settled by Slavs Upper Lusatia is predominantly German since the Middle Ages, although a small Slavic minority, the Sorbs, still exists today. During the last 1000 years the region belonged to Brandenburg, Bohemia, Saxony and Prussia, but Bohemia shaped the culture of the region and its people the most. In the Middle Ages the six most important towns created the Lusatian League, which became stronger than the nobility, secured several important privileges and was vital for todays self-image.
1815 Upper Lusatia was splitted between Prussia and Saxony. After WWII the eastern part was lost to Poland, and the people living there were expelled. The now Polish part isn't considered Upper Lusatian anymore, at least there is no cultural bond between the German Upper Lusatians and the Poles living there.
The expellees from Silesia and Bohemia form up to 1/3 of the overall population today. Many Silesians remainded in and around the city of Görlitz (between 1815 and 1945 part of the Prussian province of Lower Silesia), which led to the strange situation that the city adopted a second, Silesian, identity. Görlitz is also the most interesting town in Upper Lusatia. Although all towns of the Lusatian league were equal and Bautzen and Zittau were also equally rich, no other town preserved its former wealth better than Görlitz. In fact, with more than 4.000 listed buildings Görlitz is one of the most beautiful German cities and wants to become a world heritage site.
During Communist times all the towns were neglected and frankly looked terrible, but after 1989 huge sums were invested to restore them. After the reunification of Germany the region however was deindustrialized and lost almost 30% of its inhabitants in just 20 years. The structural policy of Saxony also only supports Dresden and some other industrial centers and neglects the more rural regions, which further weakens regions like Upper Lusatia. This also affects tourism, since Saxony prefers to mainly advertise Dresden (that's why most foreign tourists think there's nothing to see in Saxony except Dresden).
 

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I will start my Tour de Upper Lusatia with the old town of Görlitz. This old town is surrounded by huge quarters in Wilhelminian style, which I will show you later.
Lets start near the border... oh, I forgot: after WWII the Neisse river became the new border to Poland, and the eastern part of Görlitz became Polish. The city lost its hinterland (and the biggest communal forrest in Germany) and also 80% of its movable cultural assets, which were hidden to the east of the Neisse river during the war.
So, the street on the left side is the border bridge:




Behind these houses is the Neisse/border:






The former fortification became a park:




Nikolai tower, first documented before 1250:



 

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The Jesus bakery, above the door two lions (probably Bohemian lions) holding a pretzel:




Nikolaivorstadt (Nikolai suburb), the oldest part of the town:








A few pics of the Nikolai cemetery, which offers more than 600 funerary monuments of the baroque and neo-classical era. The cemetery should be restructured in the next few years:



 

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Many restaurants offer typical Silesian cuisine, which is now probably forgotten in Silesia:






In the 16th century Görlitz prospered, and many building were erected in a very distinctive Renaissance style called Görlitz Renaissance. Most of the master builders around Wenzel Roßkopf were educated in Prague, created their own style in Upper Lusatia and later also worked all over Silesia. This is one of the simpler Renaissance portals (1565):




Portal from 1583:



 

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The next highlight. This building is called biblical house, it's the best Renaissance building in Görlitz and one of the best in Germany. Built in 1570:




The reliefs show the genesis:




A so called "Gaffkopf":




The baroque portal of the Upper Lusatian socity of the sciences:




Now, the Untermarkt (lower market), the mediaeval center of Görlitz, with the town hall from the 14th century. The tower is typical for Upper Lusatia but also Silesia.



 

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As you can see, some parts are still not restored:






The block in the middle of the market forms the so called "Zeile". This design is very typical for Silesian towns, but Upper Lusatian towns offered it too (some of them burned down however and were rebuilt in a different way):




The grey building is the Ratswaage (scale of the town council):

 

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Geil, as I already mentioned somewhere!


Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz in German) is such an underrated region and Görlitz still is the most underrated German city in my humble opinion. Ask some random Rheinländer or Bavarian about it, all you get is -> :dunno:


I think it's the most beautiful city of Germany in the range above 50'000 people :)
 

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Second part

Still the Untermarkt, this is the newest part of the town hall from the early 20th century. To the left the backside of the Zeile:




The town hall is decorated with the coat of arms of all six members of the Lusatian league, among them Lauban, which is now in Poland and called Luban:




This house from the baroque era, the Börse (exchange), forms the backside of the Zeile:




Portal of the Börse, which cites Saxon tradition (Upper Lusatia became part of Saxony in 1635):

 
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