January 10, 2011

Introduction to Bautzen (Budysin), Germany

Introduction to Bautzen (Budysin), Germany

The medieval walled town of Bautzen is situated on the Spree River just 30 miles from Dresden. It has 17 towers and more than 1,000 years of history--it dates to 1002--and is the center of the Sorb minority (formerly the Slavs), which makes up 5% of the town’s population. They are mostly Catholic, though a few are Protestants.

hand-painted Easter eggs from Bautzen, Germany
hand-painted Easter eggs from Bautzen, Germany

All signs in Bautzen are bilingual, and the town has Germany´s only bilingual theater--the German-Sorbian People´s Theater. The compact medieval town centre features an ancient city wall as well as many well-preserved churches and towers plus one of the oldest waterworks in central Europe (built in 1558). The Spree River winds through the town and on to Berlin. 

The Sorbs have kept their traditions, language, and cultural heritage, and it is found nowhere else in the world. Through the years, the area has been claimed by Poland, Germany, Hungary, Prussia, and Austria; in 1635 it became part of Saxony. When Napoleon fought one of his last battles near here, it is said he sat on the town wall and watched. 

The Sorbs are famous for their hand-painted Easter eggs, and the area is famous for its mustards (68% of German mustard is made here). Also, Eule pipe organs and trams are made here.

See the town in this video:

image and video c2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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