|Trip page||This page contains excerpts from a guide to Görlitz. It is added as background information for a write-up of a trip to Görlitz.|
Welcome to Görlitz
When you come to Görlitz for the first time, its architectural variety will likely have you spellbound. The historic city is among the best preserved in Central Europe. Görlitz is deemed to have Germany's most extensive heritage area with a total of 4000 listed buildings. Most of them have been carefully restored, telling stories of the city's great wealth of the past. Thanks to generous funding and private efforts since 1990, the city, where Bohemian, Saxon, Prussian and Silesian influences are tangible, has regained its former look and is in fact more beautiful than ever.
For many, it is simply the most beautiful city in Germany. Yet, you will hardly ever hear a Görlitzer utter such superlatives as the people here would be much too modest. But the locals would have good reason to be proud of their city and of its famous sons. The list of great names ranges from philosopher and mystic Jacob Böhme to football star Michael Ballack. And if you're asking for the time in Görlitz, you're bound to get a very precise answer. Because of its geographic location on the 15th meridian, Görlitz time is exact Central European Time.
Since the expansion of the European Union in 2004, the city has indeed shifted into the heart of the continent. While Görlitz and its sister city, the Polish Zgorzelec on the eastern banks of the River Neisse, had been divided in the aftermath of World War II, they are growing closer again. In 1998 the two cities adopted the title "Eurocity" and together as one they show how people can bridge boundaries. The city's geographic location in the border triangle also makes it a perfect starting point for short trips to Poland or the Czech Republic, to destinations such as the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše), Wrocław or Prague. Come to Görlitz and experience eventful days in Germany's easternmost city.
Points of Interest
- Untermarkt square, surrounded by the most beautiful patrician's houses in the city
- Schönhof: oldest surviving Renaissance town house of a commoner in Germany, home of the Silesian Museum
- Neißstraße 30 with its Baroque portal: home of the Museum of Cultural History and the Upper Lusatian Scientific Library
- Neißstraße 29: the so-called Biblical House with scenes from the Old and the New Testament
- Ochsenzwinger: garden between the well preserved ancient defence walls
- Bridge Altstadtbrücke: footbridge connecting the two parts of the Eurocity of Görlitz/Zgorzelec
- Jacob-Böhme-House: where the famous Görlitz shoemaker and theosophist (1575-1624) spent many years of his life
- Woad House: oldest secular building in Görlitz
- St Peter and Paul's Church: houses the world famous Sun Organ by Eugenio Casparini (prospect of 1703)
- St Nicholas' Church
- Holy Sepulchre: built in 1504 as a copy of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
- Whispering arch: words whispered in one side of the arch will be clearly audible to the listener on the other side
- Old City Hall: the staircase at its southern end is considered an early Renaissance masterpiece
- Church of the Holy Trinity: one of the most precious church interiors in Görlitz
- Reichenbach Tower: tower of the city defences
- Verrätergasse (Traitors' Alley): named for the plot of Görlitz' clothiers to topple the city council in 1527
- Kaisertrutz Bastion: part of the western defences, home of the Museum of Cultural History
- Görlitz Theatre: known as the "little Semper Opera" for its splendid interior
- Church of Our Lady
- Art Nouveau emporium
- Frauenturm: better known as "Dicke Turm", meaning "Fat Tower"
- Deminaniplatz square
- Theatre Arcade
- Postplatz square: with the large sculpted "Muschelminna" fountain (Girl with the Shell)
- Train Station
- Luther Church
- Straßburgpassage: Art Nouveau arcade with a colourful mix of small stores and boutiques
- Wilhelmsplatz square with stately residential and commercial buildings
- Municipal Park: pleasant landscaped park with old trees, extensive lawns and a rose garden
- Meridian Stone: marking the 15th meridian, the standard meridian for Central European Time
- Dom kultury (Zgorzelec): municipal "House of Culture" built in 1902 in Wilhelminian neo-Baroque style
- Synagogue: impressive neoclassical monument
Places to visit
The pedestrian bridge below the Peterskirche is a popular meeting point where you can bring the day to a pleasant conclusion on either side of the river that marks the border in one of the nearby restaurants.
The houses on the Polish side of the riverside promenade have their own special charm. Jacob Böhme, one of the most important philosophers of his age, lived in the red house from 1590 until 1610. Just a short distance away from this house on the Görlitz river banks you will find the Meridian stone which describes the course of the 15th Meridian. Hence time in Görlitz corresponds to the precise Central European time.
The houses in the old part of town in particular fascinate with their wonderfully decorated facades, the artistic arches and frescoed ceilings from different epochs. The important European trade route by the name of the "Via Regia" - die Königsstraße - once led down this route from Santiago de Compostela to Kiev.
The Schönhof is considered to one of the oldest renaissance buildings in Germany. Following its painstaking restoration the Silesian Museum is now based here. The hall houses that are typical for the old town are unique and an application for their admission as world heritage buildings is even being inspected. With their imposing crossvaults they were both residential buildings and trading places in centuries past.