The 1000-year-old city of Meissen, perched on the banks of the River Elbe, is an incredibly beautiful sight. Here, the broody hilltop Albrechtsburg Castle towers over a picturesque Old Town, mile after mile of rolling vineyards, and a gorgeous river valley. Let’s plan a memorable getaway to the city of music, porcelain, and superb architecture.
The hilltop Albrechtsburg Castle is often referred to as Germany’s oldest castle, as the existence of its fortifications can be traced back to the 900s, though the castle itself was built in the 15th century. Experts agree that its spectacular Gothic architecture is not just a specimen of artistic brilliance but also a structure much ahead of its time. After all, its cellular vaulting, regal staircase tower, and arched windows lend the castle the kind of class that wasn’t common in the period to which it belongs. The castle is accessible by foot or the super-fast Panoramaaufzug Burgberg.
Since the early 18th century, the city of Meissen has almost been synonymous with porcelain manufacture. Porcelain Manufactory is a tribute to the rich porcelain heritage of the city and the amazing workmanship of its natives. In this establishment, visitors get to learn how delicate porcelain items are created and laboriously hand-painted. In the adjoining Neoclassical museum, you can admire a breathtaking collection of porcelain items made over the centuries.
City Museum (Stadtmuseum)
The City Museum, housed in a former Franciscan monastery, walks visitors through the evolution of Meissen over 1,000 years. Here, you can delve deep into the history of the city and learn about its porcelain heritage, the construction of the city cathedral and Meissen’s social, economic, and religious developments over the centuries. This information is accompanied by an assortment of interesting exhibits, including the largest and oldest wine press of Saxony and sewing machines, porcelain, bicycles, pistols, and more, all belonging to various eras.
Heinrichsplatz 3, 01662 Meißen, Germany, +49 (0) 3521 458857
Meissen Cathedral (Dom Zu Meissen)
Meissen Cathedral, adjacent to the castle, is deemed to be a classic and stunning specimen of Gothic architecture. This cathedral, built between 1260 and 1410, has been preserved in its near-original medieval condition. When you visit, take special note of the massive 13th-century polychrome statues of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and his wife, Adelaide of Burgundy, and the Protestant pulpit.
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Standing proud in Meissen’s bustling market square, the town hall (Rathaus) is a pleasure for the eyes. It has a series of three gorgeous dormers adorning a very steep saddle roof. It houses a traditional German restaurant on the ground floor.
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Thürmer Pianoforte Museum
If you are musically inclined, and especially if you are into pianos, don’t miss the Thürmer Pianoforte Museum. The museum belongs to the famous piano manufacturing company, Ferdinand Thürmer, and traces the history and evolution of the company as well as the musical instrument. Piano concerts are regularly hosted here.
You can’t leave Meissen without trying the city’s famous delicacy, Fummel, best enjoyed with coffee. It is basically a puffed-up, fragile pastry, dusted with sugar and with a rich filling of – air!
Meissen is one of the most important hubs of wine production in Saxony, making wine-tasting the most popular tourist activity in town. While there are endless excellent taverns and wineries in Meissen, Schloss Proschwitz deserves special mention. It is the oldest private winery in Saxony and has been delighting wine connoisseurs since the 12th century. Here, visitors get to enjoy incredible views of the castle, the cathedral and the Elbe River, while sipping a glass or two of refreshing wine. You can also purchase your favorite wine to take home.
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