Old town of Meissen
Meissen (Meißen) is a town on the river Elbe in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony in the southern part of eastern Germany.
In 929 king Henry I founded a stronghold on the hill that is the center of todays old town. The castle, called Albrechtsburg, was the origin of the mark Meissen, which later became the electorate Saxony and then the kingdom Saxony. Its territory became what is the free state of Saxony today.
In 963 the diocese Meissen - Dresden was founded, so that Meissen became the seat of a bishop.
Around 1000 Meissen was granted Marktrecht, the privilege to hold its own markets, and in 1150 it was officially documented as town (Stadt).
The construction of the cathedral was started in 1260 on the same hill as the castle. This created a lack of space due to which the cathedral is one of the smallest cathedrals in Europe. The cathedral is also known as being one of the most pure examples of gothic architecture.
The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meissen 1710 and the Royal-Polish-Electoral-Saxonian Porcelain Manufactory was opened in the Albrechtsburg-castle. Later, in 1861, it was moved in the Triebisch valley of Meissen, where the Porcelain Manufactory of Meissen can still be found today. Today it manufactures the world-famous Meissen porcelain and is a popular sight for visitors from all over the world.
Tourism is a major economic force in Meissen today.
Some of its attractions are:
- Historical old town: Its the area of the city located mostly around the market at the foot of the castle's hill. Its narrow serpentine streets make a picturesque scenery, complemented by several remarkable Renaissance buildings.
- Porcelain Manufactory: Visitors can watch how the Meissen porcelain is manufactured, or have a look at the exhibition hall which displays around 3000 selected items, historical and modern.
- Albrechtsburg and Cathedral: The hill on which the castle and the cathedral are built offers a view over the red brick roofs of the old town.
- Markets and festivals: From spring to fall, several festivals take place in Meissen, for example the pottery market or the Weinfest, which celebrates the wine harvest.
- Wine: Meissen wine is produced at the vineyards in the river valley around the town and stored in historical wine cellars.
Rulers of Saxony