Cities & Culture

Flawless beauty at every turn: Meissen

Saxony wine region – Meissen, view of the castle Albrechtsburg, in the background the Cathedral ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI) (Deutsches Weininstitut)

It is the flawless beauty of a porcelain figurine that best captures the essence of Meissen. The town has become famous all over the world for its porcelain. Visitors will not only encounter the most exquisite ceramics, but also an elegant town that looks back on more than 1,000 years of history.

No trip here is complete without a tour of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, which was set up in the Albrechtsburg castle in the early 18th century, until it was moved to the new site in the town's Triebischtal district 150 years later. The late-Gothic castle of Albrechtsburg is nevertheless well worth a visit. Perched high above the Elbe River, it was Germany's first castle to be built solely as a residence. Today it houses a number of fine museums and collections, in which porcelain – the town's great passion – plays an unsurprisingly prominent role. The delightful porcelain carillon in the tower of the Gothic Church of Our Lady has been enchanting passers-by with its chimes since 1929, while the largest figures ever made from Meissen porcelain can be found in the Church of St. Nicholas.

In a beautiful contrast to the porcelain figures, Meissen's Gothic cathedral dominates the town's skyline. It is a sight to behold, not least for the contrasting architecture of its towers: the west towers were completed between 1904 and 1908, while the south-east tower dates back to the 14th/15th century. The festival season also attracts visitors to Meissen from near and far, with highlights in the town's events calendar including the Pianoforte Festival and the Christmas market. Another firm favourite is the traditional wine festival in September. Although Meissen is in Germany's smallest wine region, it produces some distinctive and highly regarded wines. All along the Saxon Wine Route, there are lots of cosy wine taverns where you can stop for a glass of wine – and for once there is no porcelain involved!

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