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Saxony impresses with UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Bad Muskau, © Katja Fouad Vollmer

Their names are Muskau Park / Park Mużakowski or the Ore Mountain Mining Region / Krušnohoří, and they are cultural treasures of the highest order. Worldwide, only 1,121 exist. In Germany there are 44 places that UNESCO has elevated to World Heritage status. The two Saxon sites highlight the region in its role as the number one cultural destination in Germany.

Muskau Park in Bad Muskau – the art of garden landscaping in Saxony’s east

North of Görlitz the River Neisse runs through what must be one of Europe’s most beautiful landscaped gardens – Muskau Park in Bad Muskau. Its creator, the famous landscape architect, nobleman and travel book author Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau, was inspired by the idyllic beauty of the undulating landscape, and between 1815 and 1845 created a wealth of gardens of considerable size. One feature of the gardens, which cover 830 hectares, is that the River Neisse cuts through the middle – one part lies in Saxony, the other in Poland. A bridge joins both halves. As early as 2004, UNESCO declared Muskau Park / Park Mużakowski a joint Polish/German World Cultural Heritage Site. The part now in Saxony is where Fürst Pückler’s refurbished palace lies, with its impressive four-sided group of outhouses. Nowadays, the stables host exhibitions and events, and the working quarters house the visitor information desk and a café which serves legendary Fürst Pückler ice cream. Other notable features are the historical conservatory with its cactuses, the ’Kavalierhaus’ where mud baths can be taken, the ’Bade- und Bergpark’, the palace gardens and the Orangerie. From here, various paths cross the cultural landscape of the Lausitz region, which fascinates visitors with its many attractions, however long they wish to stay.

Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge / Krušnohoří – 800 years of mining

In the Ore Mountains it is not just one place, but an entire region which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. Throughout 800 years of mining, man nurtured a relationship with nature that created a cultural landscape of global importance. Thus, rich finds of silver, cobalt, iron, tin and uranium, and the industries that mined them left their mark on the landscape, culture, economy, crafts and science. Key to the region’s World Heritage title are 22 sites, connected with each other across Saxony and the Czech Republic. Saxony with its 17 sites features 400 outstanding natural attractions that are testimony to its past. Nowhere else in Germany are there so many silent witnesses to the mining industry. Fascinating places in the mountains such as Freiberg, Annaberg-Buchholz and Schneeberg impress the visitor with their magnificent churches and historical old towns. In their heyday they were important centres of research, development, art and culture, and attracted academics and artists. Visitor attractions such as mines, museums and exhibitions bring the history of the Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge / Krušnohoří to life. One example is ’terra mineralia’, set in the historical surroundings of Freudenstein Castle in Freiberg. Featuring over 3,500 rock finds from five continents, it is one of the most stunning and comprehensive exhibitions of its kind anywhere in the world. In addition to former mining sites, it is the unique customs kept to this day that enthral the visitor, such as Ore Mountain woodcraft and miners’ customs. Nature lovers visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site can hike along the 285 kilometres of mountain ridge paths of the Erzgebirge / Vogtland region.

Note: Saxony is the official culture partner of ITB Berlin NOW 2021. At the virtual platform from 9 to 12 March, those keen to delve into the world of Saxony’s cultural attractions should visit the Kultur-Café, which will feature interviews, videos, classical and modern music and presentations.

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