As one of the oldest cities in Saxony, Meissen has endless sights to offer. With the Albrechtsburg, which towers very prominently above the old town and the Elbe, there is a historical place to visit. Here, politics was not only made for Saxony, but at times for the entire Holy Roman Empire. But not only historically, but also gastronomically the city has a lot to offer and is especially pleasing to wine lovers. Therefore, we would like to present the most important sights of Meissen Germany and take you on a little trip to Saxony.
As early as around the year 929, there was a first castle complex on the site of Albrechtsburg Castle. King Henry I founded the castle to administer the territories conquered by the Slavic tribes and appointed a margrave for this purpose. From the 12th century onwards, these were descended from the House of Wettin, which from the 15th century onwards was the parent dynasty of the Saxon electors.
In 1471 the construction of the castle started. It is considered the first palace in Germany. The rooms of the castle with the large spiral stone and the large halls can be visited and will certainly impress you. From the castle hill, where today, among other things, the district court of Meißen has its seat, you have a fantastic view over the historic old town. Please note our restaurant tips. Getting to the castle is a bit difficult. That’s why there is a lift from the parking lot on the west side of the castle to the top.
Part of the castle hill is occupied by the Cathedral of Meissen named after St. Johannis and St. Donatus. The Gothic cathedral was already described by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as the “slimmest and most beautiful building of that time”. It was built in the Gothic style and its acoustics are among the best in Saxony. From the tower you have the highest view of Meissen. Organ concerts on the Eule organ are held here regularly. The cathedral used to be the bishop’s church of the diocese of Meissen. Since 1539, however, it has been Lutheran and the cathedral serves as a preaching church for the regional bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony.
The gatehouse (Torhaus), also called the Middle Castle Gate, is one of the main entrances to the castle and, in my opinion, the most beautiful, because the gatehouse is richly decorated. On the outside you can admire, among other things, a large representation of St. George killing the dragon. Today contemporary porcelain art is exhibited in the house. Works of artists who work with the “white gold” that made Meißen so famous are shown.
Market with town hall
The market square is the central square of the city of Meissen. Here are the most important buildings from the late Gothic and Renaissance periods. The most impressive are the town hall and the so-called Bahrmann brewery, where beer was brewed until the 19th century. Every quarter of an hour at the market you can hear the bells of the chimes made of porcelain in the tower of the Frauenkirche.
Frauenkirche and tower – The best view in Meißen
The tower of the Meissen Cathedral also offers a fantastic view, but I think it has a problem: Because from there you can not photograph the cathedral and Albrechtsburg Castle in its entirety. That’s a pity and that’s why I find the climb to the tower of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) more rewarding. From here you not only have a view over the alleys of the old town, but you can take photos of the entire castle hill with Albrechtsburg and cathedral. The late Gothic hall church is also worth a look. Here you can also get the key for the tower for a small entrance fee.
In the middle of a wall at Freiheit 10 (that’s the name of the road) there is a stone that measures only 39 x 43 centimeters but is supposed to contain the entire alphabet. Actually, the Meissen letter stone only shows the letters A, B, C and D. But since they are artfully intertwined with each other, each letter of the alphabet can be read out. The stone is thus probably intended as a tribute to Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German, historians assume.
Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
The porcelain manufactory dates back to Augustus the Strong. In 1710, he ordered the establishment of a “Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Porcelain Manufactory” in order to become independent of Chinese porcelain. At that time, the production of porcelain started at Albrechtsburg Castle. In the manufactory you can learn everything about the “white gold”, from the mining of the kaolin in the nearby mine to the refinement. Meissen porcelain is a real handicraft and you can see some of the most beautiful pieces here.
Saxon post mile pillar
The post mile pillars in Saxony used to indicate distances up to an eighth of an hour exactly with the postal wagons. They were located all over Saxony. The pillars were erected at the time of Augustus the Strong and were used to determine the fees for the post office. The Meissen post pillar is located on the East Elbe side directly at the end of the Old Town Bridge.
Next to it, there is also the sculpture Weltfrieden (“World Peace), created in 1965 by the artist Elfriede Reichel-Drechsler. Reichel-Drechsler actually worked in the porcelain manufactory. The sculpture has a certain significance at this bridge over the Elbe, as it was blown up by Nazi troops in April 1945 and was only rebuilt elsewhere after the war.
Meissen Fummel at Zieger bakery
A real culinary unicum is the so-called Meissen Fummel. It is made of simple dough, hollow inside and has no nutritional value. Maybe it’s simply an invention of the Saxons to tease their guests? The fact is that the pastry has been around since 1747 and even has a geographically protected label. Today, Meissen wedding couples get a Fummel at their wedding. But if love is as stable as the Fummel, the divorce rate in Meissen must be enormous!
Meissen train station
If you arrive by train in Meißen and walk somewhat innocently through the station in the direction of the city, you will be surprised at the GDR station. However, the station is not from GDR times but was opened in 1928, i.e. during the Weimar Republic. It is a good example of the so called New Objectivity style and was designed by Wilhelm Kreis. Kreis was also the one who designed the famous Hygiene Museum in Dresden. If you look closely, you can still see this in the lettering in the station hall and the unusual shape of the station.
Proschwitz Castle Winery
The area around Meissen is one of the best wine regions in Eastern Germany. The vineyards of the region have been planted for 850 years. The oldest private winery still in existence is run by one family. Until the Reformation, the vineyards of Proschwitz were in the hands of the Bishop of Meissen. In 1901 it came into the possession of the Prinz zur Lippe family. In 1945, the winery was expropriated by the Soviet occupiers. Since 1990, the family has reacquired and further developed the winery. The neo-Baroque castle has since been renovated. There is a store here and concerts and other events are often held. The Riesling, Weissburgunder and Eiswein in particular are fantastic.
Restaurants in Meissen
- Schwerter Schankhaus (Markt 6) – Delicious beer straight from the local brewery paired with Saxon dishes.
- Historic wine restaurant Vincenz Richter (An der Frauenkirche 12) – In-house wine from the winery paired best with Alsatian tarte flambée.
- Domkeller (Domplatz 9) – 600 years of gastronomic tradition with the best Saxon dishes (Sauerbraten or Saxon Beer Goulash are great) paired with good beer and a fantastic view.
You still haven’t gotten enough of Meissen Germany? Then take a look at our book tips!
- Donath, Matthias (Author)
Book about the Albrechtsburg in English, that presents the castle and all its splendour!
This book about the Meißen Porcelain not only lists beautiful objects, but tells a lot about their stories and background.
The Arnhold porcelain collection is one of the best Meissen collections still intact today and is listed in this beautifully illustrated compendium.
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What are the most beautiful Meissen Germany sights for you? Let us know and write us a comment!