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).