Diaries - Travel - Photos

Previous Diary - Next Diary


Görlitz, A Border Town

April 22-25, 2011

Written May 1

Friends and Families ,

We decided on Görlitz with little knowledge. We could read a map, Google Earth actually, enough to see it was within our limited range of travel and it was somewhere we'd not been before. A few websites described it in glowing terms ("the most beautiful city in Germany"). I looked forward to a new history lesson as much as anything else.

And, we found a window into history, a complex and tortured view. The city was settled long before there were nations and countries and effective borders. Here and there, a few cities bounded together and, if well-located and well-run, prospered. At one point Görlitz joined five neighboring towns of Bautzen, Kamenz, Lobau, Luban, Zittau and did just that.

Unfortunately, the prosperity attracted a series of outside rulers from Poland, Bavaria, Prussia, Napoleon, Germany and, after World War II, the Soviets. Throughout most of the time, Görlitz had been a part of Silesia, a German-speaking region stretching to Breslau to the south and east. Silesia would be passed from empire to empire, but after World War II, it was placed mostly in Poland and divided along the Oder-Nieße rivers. Görlitz became a border town for the first time in its long history.

Enough history. We came to see a new city and here is what we saw:

-- Architecture: pre-Art Nouveau and Art Nouveau. Not bombed in WWII and in Soviet times , just used as-was. After the reunification of Germany, huge efforts have been made to restore the original color and charm.Click here to see our picture collection.


-- Silesian Museum: Part history lesson, part folk art show. A well-done museum, but one where we were the only visitors, despite the crowds in the streets. I'm not sure local visitors like being reminded of the local history. Click here to see this picture collection.


-- Heilliges Grab (Holy Grave): Georg Emmerich, wealthy Görlitz businessman, traveled to Jerusalem in 1465 and later built a replica of the Christian holy places he had seen, finishing in 1504. We figured that, on Easter, we had to go. The brochure said that, because the place had been undisturbed for over 500 years, it was probably more authentic than the current-day holy places. Maybe. Click here to see the pictures.


-- Marianne is working on incorporating some graffiti into her paintings and we needed a few samples. In Görlitz we could find things from the 16th Century as well as the modern stuff. Pictures.


Tourist pictures. The first row is our hotel, the Hotel Görlitz Frenzelhof. Nice living room and separate bedroom for us. I don't know about the other five guest rooms. Interesting old building.

The second row shows the city hall clocks and the Altstadtbrücke walking bridge over the River Nieße to Poland. And, one of the best parts about travel, a couple of glasses of wine in a sidewalk cafe.

At the end of our stay, I think we concluded that it was an interesting trip, but not one to repeat anytime soon. This was reinforced by the gray of the skies Monday morning when we left and the sunny reception we had back home in Franconia.

But, if YOU have a chance, Silesia is worth the visit.


John and Marianne



Diaries - Travel - Photos

Previous Diary - Next Diary