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Görlitz is a town in Germany on the river Neiße, in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony. Historically it belonged at some times to the regions of Lusatia and Silesia. Population: 62,000 (2002).


The date of the town's foundation is unknown. It was first mentioned in 1071. At that time Görlitz was a small village named Gorelic in the region of Lusatia, that soon after became a part of Bohemia. In the 13th century the village gradually became a city. In the following centuries it was a wealthy member of the Six Towns' Alliance, consisting of the six Lusatian cities Görlitz, Bautzen, Lauban, Löbau, Kamenz and Zittau.

After suffering for years in the Thirty Years' War, the region of Upper Lusatia (including Görlitz) was passed over to Saxony (1635). In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna decided to make Görlitz a part of Prussia. Thus the town was a part of the Prussian province of Silesia from 1815 to 1945.

When Nazi Germany lost the war, German troops blew up all bridges crossing the Neiße. The redrawing of boundaries in 1945 divided the town, the right bank becoming part of Poland, and renamed Zgorzelec in 1948, while the main portion became part of the German state of Saxony. When the East German states were dissolved in 1952, Görlitz became part of the Dresden Bezirk (region), but the states were restored on the German reunification in 1990.

Today Görlitz and Zgorzelec, two towns on opposite banks of the river, have friendly relations. The bridges are rebuilt, several bus lines connect the German and Polish parts of the town, and there is a common urban management, with annual common sessions of both town councils.

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