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SIGHTGEIST THE SAXONY MAGAZINE THE FREEDOM OF A CHRISTIAN A HOLIDAY UNLIKE ANY OTHER POLE POSITION IN SAXONY

NEWS

EVENTS

STORIES

No. 10


New Discoveries In Dresden, palaces are built to culture. The instruments have been tuned, the doors are open. Hear it, see it, feel it. Symphony of a Thousand Gustav Mahler Dresden Philharmonic 25th - 27th AUG 2017 Rejoice in Life The New Year’s Eve concert with the Dresden Philharmonic 1st JAN 2018 Film with live concert Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – in concert 2nd - 4th FEB 2018 Easter with Beethoven Dresden Philharmonic 1st/2nd APR 2018

Visit Dresden

María Dueñas (violin) and Avi Avital (mandolin)

www.dresden.de/events www.kulturpalast-dresden.de www.dresden.de/dresdenmagazine

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Celebrate with us! It seems like it was only yesterday that the first issue of SIGHTGEIST was published. What you are now holding in your hands is already the tenth edition of our Saxony Magazine – one of many reasons to celebrate in 2017! It was 500 years ago that a monk named Martin Luther shook the very foundations of the world by criticizing the Catholic Church and demanding reforms by posting his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, then the capital of the Electorate of Saxony. With the support of the Saxon rulers, the Reformation took place in Europe and is celebrated with many exhibitions and events in 2017. Saxony is home to many authentic sites that date back to these turbulent times, such as the very first Protestant church to be built, the chapel at Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, or the largest collection of items from the Reformation in the museums of Dresden’s State Art Collections. Speaking of Dresden: Forty years ago the East German regime decided to establish a major music festival in Dresden. They could not have picked a better location: Dresden has a long musical tradition, being home to the oldest musical ensemble in the world that still performs today, the Saxon State Orchestra, and one of the most famous music venues, the Semper Opera House. What’s more, Dresden has recently gained a sparkling-new concert hall in the so-called “Palace of Culture” as well as an impressive new operetta stage. So long live Dresden Music Festival! When it comes to wellbeing, Saxony offers a variety of options: Enjoy a holiday like no other in an eco-friendly and healthy environment in the village of Schmilka. The former royal spa of Bad Elster is not “bad”, as the name suggests (the word denotes a spa town in German), but boasts grand historical architecture and the latest health treatments, putting it on a par with its equally famous neighbours like Carlsbad/Karlovy Vary. For a more spiritual retreat, the oldest Cistercian convent in Germany, St Marienthal, is set in a beautiful location on the Polish border between Görlitz (“perhaps the most beautiful town in Germany”), and the scenic Zittau Mountains. And let’s not forget our other new stories about a courageous investor, an unusual kind of sculptor and an art-minded prince’s favorite retreat, among others. So raise your glass to our anniversary edition and embark on a journey to Saxony! Enjoy the read!

Hans-Jürgen Goller Editorial Director SIGHTGEIST 3


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Motherland of the Reformation

Contents

26 38

Schmilka reborn

A new stage

03

Editorial

06

Kaleidoscope News and events

14

The Freedom of a Christian When Luther changed the world

26

A Holiday Unlike any Other Microcosm in a village

38

Dresden’s Heart Beats for Culture A different kind of energy

46

Pole Position in Saxony Porsche remains on course for growth in Leipzig

56

A Symphony of Wellbeing Royal compositions of pleasure

66

A Musical Window on the World 40 seasons of Dresden Music Festival

74

Secret Residence of the Wettin Dynasty Weesenstein Castle – A jewel in Saxony’s crown

82

“You Can Make Anything Out of Wood” One of the world’s best chainsaw woodcarvers

92

In Love with Dresden Arturo Prisco has shaped the city’s face

98

Time-out in St. Marienthal Abbey A place of serenity and contemplation

106

Cultural Highlights Festival calendar 2017/18

114

Imprint


46

92

Up a gear

74 56

An Italian’s passion

A prince’s playground

The king’s spa

“Make your choice”

98 66

A peaceful retreat

106

Celebrity parade

82

Beautiful massacre

Saxony on stage


THE FREEDOM OF A CHRISTIAN When Luther changed the world


Above: Martin Luther’s former home in Wittenberg now houses the world's largest museum on the history of the Reformation.

Reformation Day was first celebrated in the former electorate of Saxony on 31

October 1617, marking the one-hundredth anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church. Although it is doubtful whether this event really occurred, the theses heralded the start of the Reformation.

Left: The door of Wittenberg Castle Church bears the text of Luther’s 95 theses.

When Reformation Day is commemorated again in Germany on 31 October 2017, it will be an official national holiday for the first time. Its celebration throughout Germany is not only a reminder of the historic significance of the Reformation far beyond the country’s borders, but also of its profound impact on society, which is still evident today. The Protestant Church has been preparing for the anniversary with a “Reformation decade” that started in 2008. But what are the celebrations really about? The Reformation refers to an ecclesial revival movement between 1517 and 1648, which finally led to Western European Christendom splitting into different denominations. The Reformation has its roots in the electorate of Saxony, the second-largest state of the German Empire at the time. Saxony’s former territory is today divided between the federal states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Brandenburg. Smaller regions belong to present-day Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. Even the first Reformation Day was a political statement: The Reformation not only reflected the era, it was also exploited by some rulers in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, as the German non-national state was then called, to weaken the power of the emperor and the church.

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Hartenfels Castle, where the exhibition “TORGAU, Home of the Renaissance and Reformation” can be seen.

The schism was not planned: Whatever their political objectives, the protagonists of

Right: Inside the castle church.

Augustinian monk and theology professor, could never have imagined when he wrote

this movement intended to call for a return to Christian values and the message of the Bible – the Latin term “reformatio” means “restoration”. But Martin Luther, an his 95 theses criticizing the church’s practice of selling indulgences in 1517 that, rather than bringing the Catholic Church back to its roots as he had hoped, he would create a new religious denomination. He first sent the theses to members of the clergy and the nobility for discussion. On 31 October 1517, he also allegedly nailed them to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church with loud strokes of a hammer. Although experts disagree as to whether this actually happened, many sources since suggest that he did indeed post his theses. It was not an act of protest, but complied with the statutes of the University of Wittenberg, which required students to publish their theses, or more specifically pin them to a Wittenberg church door, as a basis for defending them. In his theses, Luther attacked the practices of the Catholic Church, in particular the selling of indulgences: People who had committed a sin could shorten their time spent in purgatory by purchasing what were known as “letters of indulgence”. While the peddling of indulgences was strictly regulated up to the 15th century, and only certain sins could be atoned for with money, this had changed by Luther’s day.


Under Pope Leo X, indulgences took on a far more important role, as he used them to collect money for building St. Peter’s Cathedral. German cardinals, who had purchased and accumulated church offices and had to buy the Pope’s favour, also upheld the system. The indulgence preacher Johann Tetzel from Pirna in Saxony became one of the best-known figures in connection with this practice. He was a Dominican friar from Leipzig, who travelled throughout the country promising deliverance from all sins with slogans like “As soon as coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs!” As a preacher in Wittenberg, Luther found that ever fewer people were coming to confession and, instead of repenting, preferred to rely on letters of indulgence, which they bought in neighbouring towns. But Luther was convinced that God would only forgive people’s sins if they showed repentance. He believed that man depended solely on the grace of God for salvation, which he could only receive through faith. Shortly after being nailed to the church door, Luther’s theses were translated into German and spread like wildfire thanks to the printing press with movable type, which had recently been invented. Six months later, Luther defended his theses at the “Heidelberg Disputation”, an academic debate at Heidelberg University.

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Above: The marketplace in Torgau with the Renaissance town hall built in 1579.

The theses led to Luther’s major reformist writings. They formed the basis of his teach-

Top right: The ruins of Nimbschen Convent near Grimma.

to grow and bear fruit. In his writings, Luther challenged the secular nobility to initiate

ings and came at just the right time: Widespread social unrest, above all among the poor, and a readiness for political reform provided the fertile soil for these reformatory seeds a reform of the church themselves and advocated state education, relief for the poor and the abolition of celibacy and the Papal States. Naturally, the Catholic Church rejected this devastating criticism of its practices. It wanted to force Luther to recant. The Pope called the monk an “antichrist” and ex-communicated him. According to the law, he should then have been given an imperial ban – a punishment imposed by the king or emperor, depriving the guilty party of his legal capacity and applicable throughout the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. However, thanks to the efforts of the conscientious Elector Frederick the Wise, Luther was first summoned to appear before the Diet of Worms on 17 April 1521 to recant to the emperor. Others before him, such as the English theologian John Wyclif or the Czech preacher Jan Hus, had called for the Catholic Church to reform, but had paid for this defiance with their lives. In Worms, Luther refused to recant and was declared ostracized and outlawed

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several days later. Since he had been granted safe conduct, he was able to return home to Saxony, where he was apparently ambushed and taken to Wartburg Castle for his own protection. Not least the support of the Saxon elector ensured that Luther’s ideas spread and that he was able to further develop them. During his exile at Wartburg Castle, Luther completed his greatest work, the translation of the Bible into a common and comprehensible language, so that everyone could read and understand the Holy Scriptures. All this resulted in the broader dissemination of Luther’s ideas, and ultimately in the schism of the church. When the representatives of the Catholic Church and the first so-called Lutherans met at the Leipzig Debate in 1519, they could not agree on common principles of faith. Many rulers were enthusiastic about the Reformation and converted to Protestantism. Although the Reformation took a different course in other countries outside Germany, it spread over all of Europe, paving the way for the Enlightenment. It also eventually led to the Catholic Church reforming and embarking upon the path to the modern age.

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Luther’s signet ring with the Luther rose, the symbol of the Protestant Church. Luther used this after 1530 to seal his letters. The ring can be seen in the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) museum in Dresden.

The Reformation is therefore justifiably considered one of the major turning points in the history of the Western World. In Saxony, the “Motherland of the Reformation”, the anniversary in 2017 is naturally being celebrated with countless exhibitions and events at many historic sites. But it is also worth visiting Saxony after the anniversary year. Many original locations from the days of the Reformation are still preserved today, such as the castle church in Torgau, the political centre of the Reformation, which was consecrated by Martin Luther himself in 1544 as the first Protestant church, or the ruins of St. Marienthron Cistercian Convent at Nimbschen near Grimma, where Luther’s later wife Katharina lived as a nun before fleeing with Luther’s help. The Dresden State Art Collections also provide an authentic insight into the history of the Reformation with the largest collection of objects from the age of the Reformation. Because Martin Luther played such an important role in the Reformation, it is worth taking a look at the Luther rose, the signet ring he used to put his mark on documents. Over the centuries, the anniversary of the Reformation has frequently been misused for political means. As mentioned above, even the first Reformation Day was a political statement, proclaimed by Saxony, the leader among the Protestant states. Unfortunately, in doing so, it also helped to provoke the Thirty Years’ War, a conflict that was in truth about power, but used religious motives as a pretext – something that still sounds familiar today. But happily, the Christian confessions have today largely overcome their differences and prefer dialogue to war. We conclude with Luther and his perhaps most famous treatise “On the freedom of a Christian”, which he dedicated to his friend Hieronymus Mühlpfordt, Mayor of Zwickau in Saxony: “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.” At the same time, “A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” In this way, Luther linked the hypothesis of individual freedom and responsibility to God alone with the duty of service to others. For the reformer, the old distinction between religious “professionals” and laypeople no longer applied; anyone could turn to God without the intervention of a religious mediator. All Christians, he maintained, are equal before God.

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MOTHERLAND OF THE REFORMATION EVENT HIGHLIGHTS UNTIL 28 JANUAR 2018 | Leipzig

LUTHER IN DISPUTE. LEIPZIG AND THE CONSEQUENCES. The New Town Hall of Leipzig was once the site of Pleissenburg Castle. Breaking the vow of silence imposed on him after his hearing at the Imperial Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther took part in the Leipzig Debate. In an argument with Johannes Eck, he expounded the differences between his ideas and the doctrine of the Catholic Church and formulated his concept of “sola scriptura”, which led to the final and originally unintended break with the Pope and Duke George the Bearded of the Albertine line. In Leipzig, the reformer’s supporters were also referred to as “Lutherans” for the first time. An exhibition at Leipzig Municipal Museum highlights the Leipzig Debate and its consequences, such as the repression of the ideas of the Reformation in Albertine Saxony, the introduction of the Reformation in Leipzig after the death of George the Bearded, and further events leading up to the Schmalkaldic War. Among the key exhibits are the silver “Lutherbecher” (Luther goblet), the wedding ring belonging to Luther’s wife Katharina, and panel paintings and epitaphs by the two Cranachs. www.stadtgeschichtliches-museum-leipzig.de

SINCE 8 APRIL 2017 | Dresden

12 MAY TO 5 NOVEMBER 2017 | Meissen

OPENING OF THE RENAISSANCE WING OF THE ROYAL PALACE IN DRESDEN

A TREASURE BEYOND GOLD

When Elector Augustus established the Kunstkammer, or art chamber, in 1560, he laid the foundation for the world famous Dresden State Art Collections. The Renaissance Wing of the former Albertine palace has now been reopened, presenting the world’s largest collection of ceremonial weapons, valuable objects and other artefacts from the Renaissance and the Reformation. It is also home to the Electoral Wardrobe, where guests can experience a historic fashion show. The fact that the costumes worn by the Saxon sovereigns and their wives have survived the centuries is astonishing and unique. Dresden’s Royal Palace itself also played a role in the history of the Reformation. It was built by Elector Maurice in the opulent Renaissance style as the new centre of the Protestant world after he had taken the electorship from his Ernestine cousin at the Battle of Mühlberg. Maurice also had the castle chapel built, one of the first Protestant churches, the portal of which depicts the profession of faith of the former Saxon rulers. www.skd.museum

There are many legends surrounding the life of St. Benno, Bishop of Meissen from 1066 to 1106. As he was said to have worked miracles, he was venerated as early as the 13th century. However, he was not canonised until 1523 through the active support of Duke George the Bearded, who had become a fierce opponent of Luther following the Leipzig Debate. Luther reacted strongly to the canonisation and wrote a pamphlet “Against the new idol and old devil about to be elevated at Meissen”. After the Reformation, Benno’s remains were transferred first to Stolpen and Wurzen, and eventually to their final resting place in the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady in Munich. In this way, the former bishop of Saxony suddenly and surprisingly became the patron saint of the city of Munich and the state of Bavaria. This exhibition is the first to highlight the symbolic role played by Bishop Benno of Meissen and his canonisation, not only during the Reformation. Numerous artworks have been reunited for this purpose and are presented together for the first time, including valuable loans, such as the bishop’s crosier and mitre, as well as the large-scale altarpiece from St. Benno’s chapel in Rome. www.albrechtsburg-meissen.de


19 MAY TO 31 OCTOBER 2017 | Torgau

21 MAY 2017 | Torgau

TORGAU – HOME OF THE RENAISSANCE AND THE REFORMATION

PERMANENT EXHIBITION “SOUND & FAITH” OPENS

Torgau, residence of the Saxon electors of the Ernestine line, was the political centre of the Reformation. Although the town became less important after the electoral dignity was transferred to the Albertine branch of the family, it retained its religious and political significance for the Reformation as a second royal seat. In preparation for the anniversary of the Reformation, the Dresden State Art Collections have staged annual exhibitions on different aspects of the Reformation at Hartenfels Castle since 2012, including the first National Special Exhibition “Luther and the Princes” in 2015. As the last in the series, this special exhibition in the anniversary year is dedicated to the role of Torgau as a royal seat and recapitulates the other special exhibitions. The exhibition presents selected objects from Dresden Armoury. Moreover, it addresses the role of Torgau as a centre of the art of goldsmiths, for example with the enchanting “Torgau Apothecary”, an Indian mother-of-pearl box, set in a frame and with decor by a goldsmith from Torgau. www.tic-torgau.de

Frederick the Wise protected Martin Luther for political reasons but allegedly never met him in person. The sovereign’s closest confidante was his court chaplain and confessor George Spalatin, who assumed the role of mediator between the elector and the reformer, earning himself the nickname of the “helmsman of the Reformation”. As a reward for his services, Spalatin received the house “Im Sack” in Torgau as a gift from Frederick the Wise. The only one of 15 priests’ homes to have been preserved to the present day, it has now been extensively renovated and is dedicated to George Spalatin’s work. Another friend of Luther’s, Johann Walter, the “original cantor of the Protestant Church”, also lived in Torgau. He published the first Protestant hymn book, worked with the musically interested and talented reformer on his “Deutsche Messe” (German Mass) and other hymns, and went on to establish the present-day Staatskapelle orchestra in Dresden on behalf of Elector Maurice. His life is also reflected in the new exhibition, with displays and audio experiences. www.tic-torgau.de 30 JULY 2017 TO 7 JANUARY 2018 | Zittau

SOMETHING ELSE. THE REFORMATION IN UPPER LUSATIA. Over the course of its long history, Lusatia changed rulers several times. However, none of them governed from Lusatia itself. As a result, the region was able to preserve a certain degree of independence and is still characterised today by religious diversity: The oldest Cistercian convent has existed without interruption for almost 800 years in nearby Ostritz; Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf founded the Moravian Church in the 18th century not far away in Herrnhut together with Bohemian and Moravian exiles in the tradition of Jan Hus; and the Reformation caught on relatively early in Zittau. The town’s dissolved Franciscan monastery is now home to the Museum of Cultural History. The monastery church, with more than 80 epitaphs, has been newly restored and provides the setting for an exhibition on the region’s unique history in the age of the Reformation. www.zittau.de (in German only) 10 SEPTEMBER 2017 | Torgau

PERMANENT EXHIBITION “STEADY. GOD-FEARING. HARD-DRINKING” Hartenfels Castle in Torgau was enlarged to become a magnificent residence under Elector Frederick the Wise and his successors. The castle chapel was the first Protestant church to be built and was consecrated in 1544 by Martin Luther himself. The initiator of this building was John Frederick the Magnanimous, who was also responsible for the famous Grosse Wendelstein spiral staircase, also known as the “impossible staircase”, which has only recently been restored in radiant colours. He was a nephew of Frederick the Wise and the last Saxon elector of the Ernestine line. He is considered a leading secular pioneer of Luther’s teachings and, together with his wife Sibylle of Cleve, is the subject of a new permanent exhibition in the former electoral chambers and in the legendary “Flaschenturm” tower. The elector and his wife symbolise the significance of Torgau as a centre of power during the Reformation and as a significant European location of courtly representation. www.tic-torgau.de


A Holiday

Unlike any Other Microcosm in a village


Sven-Erik Hitzer lives his dream, much to the delight of his guests and employees.

Some 50 kilometres southeast of Dresden is Schmilka, the

perfect place for a relaxing holiday. A river, a village with brightly coloured, half-timbered buildings against a backdrop of trees, unusual rock formations… and silence, interrupted only by the rattling of a passing train. Precisely how a holiday should be. Nestled against the great River Elbe, Schmilka is so small and unimposing that you could easily miss it. And many people do: Most residents of Dresden consider the village with just 80 inhabitants directly on the German-Czech border to be a provincial backwater. At most, they pass through it on their way to the Czech Republic or stop there for a break on a hike. A commuter train stops once an hour at the small, almost abandoned railway station with two platforms to bring day trippers back to the Saxon state capital in just 50 minutes.

chat with someone, asks how they are and tells them the latest news. Hitzer has made Schmilka his cause; the changes the village has undergone in recent years are the product of his efforts.

FROM A NEGLECTED BORDER TOWN

Without him, the village would not be what it is today – a fact

TO AN ECO-TOURISM RESORT

that is considered irrefutable here. Shortly after the political turnaround of 1989/90 that culmi-

Few people are aware that over the past two decades, Schmil-

nated in the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and

ka has experienced a minor miracle. Without drawing much

led to German Reunification, Hitzer bought an old mill and a

attention to itself, it has been transformed from a dreary border

dormitory belonging to a former holiday company in Schmilka,

village into a unique eco-tourism resort. And the metamorpho-

and turned them into a guesthouse. Even as a boy, he had been

sis is ongoing. If the village were an artist, you would probably

fascinated by Saxon Switzerland, the name given to the Elbe

say it was having an unbelievable comeback.

Sandstone Mountains on the German side, extending on both

The man who has made all this possible cannot go anywhere

sides of the river Elbe southeast of Dresden as far as the Czech

in Schmilka on this sunny day in late summer without being

Republic. In this unique landscape with its bizarre rock forma-

recognised. Every few metres, Sven-Erik Hitzer stops for a quick

tions and striking sandstone pillars, he felt free, the 53-yearold remembers today. “I came here by train from Cottbus to go climbing on weekends and holidays.” Now, some 30 years later, the entrepreneur owns most of the village, which has changed beyond recognition: With a hotel, numerous smaller inns and guesthouses, a brewery and a traditional bakery, Schmilka today is a resort that Hitzer refers to and markets as an “Eco and National Park Retreat”.

SIGHTGEIST 29


FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY Hitzer is fulfilling a dream of a lifetime for himself and for his guests, giving them

the chance to enjoy a truly sustainable holiday. “I had enough of hotels with cheap plywood furniture reeking of formaldehyde and restaurants that served boring dishes full of flavour enhancers and e-numbers,” he recalls. “As I gradually tested other providers, I discovered I was dealing with a completely different kind of proprietor. I would never claim that people who value organic produce and sustainable production are more educated than those who do not. But I feel more at ease with folk who are interested in where their food comes from and how their furniture and the houses in which they live have been made.” In the late 1990s, Hitzer consequently decided to go completely organic, even though everyone thought he was mad. His greatest concern was with his employees, as he recalls. “If they had seen this new approach as just one of the boss’s follies and hadn’t supported it, then it wouldn’t have been credible.” But the staff came around to their employer’s crazy idea. Today, when renovating the buildings, Hitzer makes sure everything is done according to ecological principles. And of course, “All the food and beverages for sale in the village, even the spices and liquor from the hotel’s cocktail bar, are 100 percent certified organic.” The rooms in the hotels have walls with clay plaster and radiant wall heating, sandstone table tops, floors of soaped natural wood and metal-free beds with natural latex mattresses – ideal for people with allergies and those who attach importance to an environment free of harmful substances. Hitzer has invested a great deal in installing special shielded cabling and mains decouplers to ensure that all rooms are completely free of electrosmog. Many guests only realise what that means the next morning, says Hitzer with a grin, “When they notice that the entire electrical circuit in the room has been disabled via the mains decoupler, so they can’t recharge their phones overnight, or only in the bathroom.” It goes without saying that his hotels do not have Wi-Fi either. But despite all this, Hitzer is not a missionary. Yes, he wants to know what is in his food, but he also wants to enjoy it, and that includes meat and other animal products. “I want to know where they come from and how they have been made.” He cannot say for sure whether he sleeps better in the electrosmog-free rooms, he says, “but we have many guests who come to us for exactly that reason.”

SIGHTGEIST 31


ENJOYMENT OVER ABSTINENCE All these features naturally cost more than elsewhere, but this

His guests come from all over Germany, as well as from Austria

has never been an issue. As Hitzer says: “The good thing about our

and Switzerland, says Hitzer. Several ask specifically for hotels

segment is that there is no discussion about prices. People under-

that are certified organic. “Many discover us simply because they

stand that a high-quality product also has to include fair wages.”

pass through on a hike.” That’s hardly surprising, since Schmilka

It may not be widely known in Dresden, but word has spread in

is situated at the heart of the Saxon Switzerland national park,

many forums that a holiday in Schmilka is unlike any other. But

directly on the Painters’ Trail or “Malerweg”, the main hiking

what everyone notices who finds their way to this hamlet is that

route through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and the very place

eco can also be trendy. People who lived an eco-friendly lifestyle

where artist Caspar David Friedrich was reportedly inspired to

used to stand out, “with their strange clothes and often an at-

paint his famous oil painting “Rocky landscape in the Elbe Sand-

titude of austerity and abstinence”, the entrepreneur remembers.

stone Mountains”.

“But that’s not what I want. I want fine cuisine and a good atmos-

Throughout the village, signs point to attractive destinations.

phere.” And he has achieved just that: Schmilka’s spa, with its

Trails lead to the “Schrammsteine” and “Affensteine” rock

ecological and Finnish saunas, panoramic views of the old mill

formations, the “Rotkehlchenstiege” climbing trail or the

courtyard and elegant loungers made of stone could be in a five-

“Heringsgrund” valley – places with magical-sounding names,

star hotel.

set in a breath-taking landscape. When the mist rises out of

32 SIGHTGEIST


the woods in the early morning and the only sound to be heard is birdsong, Saxon Switzerland exudes a fascination that other regions can only dream of.

NATURE IS A CONSTANT CHALLENGE But nature, which attracts and enthrals so many people, is also

Hitzer’s greatest challenge. The Elbe regularly floods, inundating all the villages along its banks. Three times already, in 2002, 2006 and 2013, Hitzer has seen his dream of an ecovillage engulfed by the deluge. The resort still has not fully recovered from the last one: Three years ago, the water destroyed large sections of the wonderful park next to Hotel Helvetia and nine buildings, including beautiful Villa Waldfrieden,

SIGHTGEIST 33


All businesses in Schmilka make their products using organic processing methods, from bread rolls to beer. To find out more, visitors can take part in guided tours of the mill, the bakery or the brewery.

34 SIGHTGEIST


which previously housed the spa. It is now being renovated and is scheduled to reopen in 2017. Hitzer knows that storms with torrential rainfall following long periods of drought can cause mudslides to plunge into the valley without warning. “Statistically it occurs here every three to four years.” But it is not a reason for Hitzer to give up. “Things like that happen; there’s no point in getting upset about it for long. We make sure we rebuild a little better each time, so that we can protect ourselves and reopen faster. But what really is a problem is that with each flood, we lose staff, because they simply can’t believe we will get things up and running again.” But he does: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, carry on – that is the entrepreneur’s motto in life. The firm conviction that anything is possible in Schmilka may also have something to do with the good relationship Hitzer has cultivated with his partners over many years. Not even once have local authorities or politicians put obstacles in his path. “In all of our projects, we have found a good compromise for both sides,” as Thomas Kunack, mayor of Bad Schandau, a

SIGHTGEIST 35


The beer garden is a popular meeting place for hikers and daytrippers.

small municipality of which Schmilka is one of eight suburbs,

DREAMING OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY

can confirm. “The eco-resort is an asset to the region,” he says. “It is a fact that things would be different in the village without

In nearby Bad Schandau, Hitzer’s consistent approach is con-

this kind of entrepreneurial commitment.” Schmilka’s transfor-

sidered a unique selling point: “In Schmilka, eco is not just a

mation is a success because Hitzer “never used brute force”; each

label, it’s put into practice, down to the last detail, from the

conversion was painstakingly done as part of a well-thought-

buildings and renovations to the food and even the energy sup-

out concept. Another possible factor contributing to the good

ply.” Regarding the latter, Hitzer still has plans: If things go the

relations is that although Hitzer is realising his life’s ambition

way he intends, Schmilka will be completely self-sufficient in

in Schmilka, he does not see himself as owning the village or

a few years’ time.

expect people to follow his lead. “It’s not about influence,” he

But taking this one big step will require a lot of smaller ones.

says, “that’s not my style. I don’t even live in the village myself,

Hitzer has recently developed new activities to attract more visi-

so I don’t have a voice on the district council when it comes

tors, especially in winter. When the weather is poor and long

to making decisions about the village’s future. I am not king

hikes are only an option for hard-core hikers, he plans to lure

here.” Even though the organic bakery earns only little from

visitors with wellness offers and new experiences. “Guests will be

the residents of Schmilka, who prefer to buy their bread and

able to bake their own bread in our bakery, brew beer in the brew-

rolls from nearby discounters to the yellow wheat rolls and spelt

ery, or learn about naturopathy.” Best of all, they aren’t restricted

bread from the huge wood-burning oven, Hitzer and his team

to one hotel, but “can use the entire village”. What better way to

accept it. “That’s the way it is.”

spend a holiday!

36 SIGHTGEIST


A SYMPHONY

of Wellbeing ROYAL COMPOSITIONS OF PLEASURE


King Albert Theatre is the cultural centre of Bad Elster. It the venue of the Chursächsische Philharmonic orchestra and presents an outstanding annual programme covering all genres.


The Chursächsische Philharmonic orchestra pursues the artistic goal of performing music from all epochs, in a style and with a sound that is as true to the original as possible.

Hidden behind a curtain of densely wooded mountains in the

Sauna World, which opened in September 2015. Here, visi-

verdant southern Vogtland district, at the heart of a European

tors can enjoy the experience of floating in the water with

region between Bavaria, Bohemia and Saxony known for its

its high salt content and relax throughout the two-storey

health spas, is the resort town of Bad Elster. Not until you

spa complex. The spa is fed from its own salt water spring in

enter the town proper does the White Elster River valley open

the Elstertal Valley. Drilling operations in 2009 unearthed

up and the lush greenery give way to views of the historic

this natural resource, which had slumbered below the surface

Royal Saxon State Spa of Bad Elster. But this charming resort

for millions of years, shielded from all environmental influ-

does not divulge all of its secrets at once; it leaves some to be

ences. Located 1,200 metres underground, the mineralised

discovered.

water has an unusually high percentage of sodium sulphate and chloride, making it unique in both its composition and concentration. In scientific terms it is referred to as a highly

PRECIOUS SOURCES OF NATURAL HEALING

saturated sodium sulphate spring. With its salt content of 22 percent, the spring water is extracted at a temperature

The countless mineral and mud springs in and around Bad El-

of 42 degrees Celsius and fed in diluted form to three pools,

ster have been known for their health benefits since the 17th

each of which has a different salinity. The high percentage

century, though for many years they only served the local popu-

of salt gives the water a higher density, meaning that guests

lation. In 1848, King Frederick Augustus II of Saxony (1836-

do not sink, but literally float. This relaxing experience has a

1854) granted the town the status of a Royal Saxon State

stabilising and harmonious effect on the vegetative nervous

Spa and established a mud spa, one of Germany’s first. Elster

system, loosens the muscles and relieves the joints.

thrived in the founding years of the German Empire under the regency of King Albert of Saxony (1873-1902). In 1875, it was designated a spa town and renamed Bad Elster.

ROYAL FESTIVAL MILE

With ten mineral springs, beneficial natural mud reserves

The royal grounds in Bad Elster, formerly the king’s summer resi-

and the recently opened salt water spa, Bad Elster is a popu-

dence, were a gathering place for high society in Europe in the

lar health resort that boasts a wealth of medical expertise in

early 20th century. The elegant, cosmopolitan flair of the archi-

the field of spa therapy. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of

tecture from this period is still very much alive today in the en-

health treatments at Albert Baths – a state-of-the-art therapy

semble of buildings that have been skilfully restored, and in the

and spa centre – and Bad Elster Salt Water Hot Spring and

romantic parks with their charming pathways. Standing – one

SIGHTGEIST 61


The Royal Saxon State Spa offers complete relaxation for the body and soul.

could even say “residing” – at the heart of town are the Albert Baths, constructed in 1908 in the art nouveau style, and the famous King Albert Theatre from 1913/14, one of the most magnificent German court theatres ever built. Around them, the Saxon Baths Museum and KunstWandelhalle art museum with the Moritzquelle mineral spring are arranged along the festival mile. Marienquelle, a natural wellspring housed in a beautiful templelike structure, is particularly striking. The palatial Royal Convalescence House built in 1888-1890 in the neo-Renaissance style and three music pavilions are also nearby. The historic spa park, which recently celebrated its 140th anniversary, has lost none of its charm. It is known far and wide for its colourful blaze of rhododendrons that blossom in early summer from May to June. The park with its pathways generously incorporates this architecturally impressive ensemble of royal buildings. Guests can enjoy a leisurely stroll from historic Albert Park through the spa park to Paul-Schindel Park. One popular destination is Louisa Pond, where rowing boats can be hired. Bad Elster’s Nature Theatre, built in 1911 and the oldest of its kind in Saxony, can be found in Waldpark, a particularly refreshing place in summer. Between May and September, the theatre offers a broad programme of events, including opera, operetta, concerts, cinema and folklore.

A MUSICAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE PAR EXCELLENCE Architecture, nature, water and music are the four elements that

make up Bad Elster. The town offers an outstanding programme of events all year round on a unique scenic stage. International artists perform here in a never-ending stream, while leading international music ensembles treat the art-loving audience to samples of their repertoires. The list of cultural delights in Bad Elster is long: Concerts by the Chursächsische Philharmonic Orchestra, festivals including the Mozart Festival in March, Summer in Electoral Saxony – the largest cultural festival in

SIGHTGEIST 63


Above and beyond music, there are plenty of other things happening in Bad Elster to make a stay here a very special experience. At EQUIPAGE BAD ELSTER on Whit Sunday, a completely different sound is heard when the stately horses and historic carriages parade through the grounds. The traditional Fountain Festival welcomes thousands of revellers, who celebrate the summer until the early morning hours. Several illustrious classic car rallies pass through Bad Elster throughout the year, with the spa town as a gorgeous setting for the classy vehicles. Finally, the Royal Convalescence House is a regular venue for fashionable parties. Visitors to Bad Elster can choose from more than 1,000 events of different genres throughout the year. This abundance – one could call it extravagant opulence – is worthy of a slogan often heard in town: “Enjoy life as the kings of Saxony once did”. Bad Elster offers the ultimate in The 4-star Superior Hotel König Albert opened in 2016.

this European spa region – from 1 May to 3 October, the Inter-

culture, relaxation and health.

A DELIGHTFUL HIKING PARADISE

national Jazz Festival in August, the Electoral Saxon Festival in September and Winter Dreams in Electoral Saxony from the

Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of a well-developed

first Sunday of Advent to February. These annual festivals and

and maintained labyrinth of hiking and fitness trails from

concerts have a long tradition, but nevertheless feature a select

town into the surrounding countryside. They promise wonder-

programme that is always new.

ful discoveries, surprising perspectives and outstanding natural


sites. The locals are happy to share their favourite haunts and

well-marked fitness trails radiating out from the town centre

offer tips on where to find the most beautiful spots. The town

in all directions. A network of routes – easy or challenging,

in the White Elster valley is set in picturesque surroundings.

short or long – forms a unique hiking paradise covering a to-

Artists of the Romantic period would have been happy here,

tal distance of 54 kilometres. An 18-kilometre circular route

had the spa existed in its present form back then. The nearby

takes visitors around the town of Bad Elster and its immediate

forests and the hills rising immediately behind the historic spa

vicinity.

park present a charming backdrop for the town. This gentle, captivating landscape is appreciated above all by visitors who

Time flies in Bad Elster for those who manage to compose their

come here for several days or weeks to relax and reconnect

stay to include these many events: The grand world of opera in

with their inner self. The southern Vogtland region, spread-

King Albert Theatre today, a hike through the beautiful country-

ing out from the royal grounds in the town centre, is a natural

side tomorrow, followed by relaxation with a wide range of treat-

wonder almost untouched by roads or buildings. The hiking

ments in the therapy and wellness centre at Albert Baths, or a dip

trails are disrupted only by the odd historic shelter or a beau-

in the Salt Water Hot Springs and Sauna World. The spa and fes-

tifully situated chapel inviting passers-by to linger and con-

tival town of Bad Elster offers guests an individually orchestrated

template in silence. Hikers can explore the countryside along

stay. Let the music begin!

SIGHTGEIST 65


You can make Anything

Outof Wood C

ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST CHAINSAW WOODCARVERS


Andreas Martin is a man of many ideas. When a giant spruce was felled in a neighbouring forest area in 2009, and no use could be found for it, he turned it into the longest table in the world. At 39.80 metres long, it was entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 2010. It is protected against the weather by a canopy supported on 24 wooden miners, referring to the mining tradition of the Ore Mountains.


Andreas Martin’s philosophy “You can make anything out of wood” has even become his life’s work. A quarter of a century ago, he built Blockhausen, a forest resort near the village of Dorfchemnitz in the Ore Mountains of Saxony.

Log cabins handcrafted from tree trunks in the North American

pionships in Manchester, England. The contest did not start off

style stand on a hill in the middle of the woods. But something

well: Lots were drawn to allocate the logs to participants, and An-

sets them apart from other buildings of this kind: These are sur-

dreas drew number 15 out of a total of 17. The tree trunk he ended

rounded by myriad sculptures carved using chainsaws.

up with was large, but twisted with knots and side branches. “I had

Andreas Martin is a man of many talents: He studied forestry and

planned to carve a motif with British humour, such as a caricature

worked as a district forest ranger until 2010, when he became an

of a hunter. But log no. 15 didn’t allow for that,” he recalls. He

entrepreneur and restaurant owner. He is also a passionate hunter.

sat staring at it for half an hour, wondering what to make with it.

His work as a chainsaw artist resulted from his affinity for the for-

Then he said to himself, “Okay, if I can’t do my original idea, then

est and wood as a material. At 60, Andreas Martin has seen a lot,

I will carve what I do best”: Pigs, or to be more precise, wild boars

which also makes him a great storyteller. Guests hang on his every

– a whole pack of them. “In the end, everyone called me ‘the crazy

word when he tells them about the forests, log cabins, woodcraft,

German’. Nobody had expected me to carve an award-winning

and his travels to competitions all over the world, including Japan

design with 16 wild boars out of that gnarled tree trunk.”

and the USA. He regales them with jokes, sometimes revealing a

More delicate observers may not consider chainsaw carving to

dark sense of humour. For Andreas Martin, meeting people, swap-

be an art form. Chainsaws are loud, and when they sink into

ping experiences, having a good chat and sharing a laugh are what

the wood, shavings fly everywhere. Are chainsaw carvers artists

count. “I am always there for my guests,” he says.

or not? That is not an existential question for Andreas Martin. What matters more to him is that he can do what he wants; he doesn’t want to be categorised: “I don’t care if some consider me

AN ARTIST OR NOT AN ARTIST?

an artist and others don’t. I am who I am: Andreas Martin. I do chainsaw carving for myself and for people who enjoy

But the story of Blockhausen has to be told from

it.” And there are plenty of people who do. It is au-

the beginning, and it starts with Andreas Martin

tumn 2016, and everyone in Blockhausen is busy,

himself. He is a master of his trade, one of the

even though winter is on its way and the first snow

best German chainsaw woodcarvers in

has already fallen. Andreas Martin and his employ-

the world. He is known on the scene as the “sow sawer” thanks to his

ees are building a new canopy for the carving classes. He enjoys teaching

penchant for carving wild boars. In

beginners, he says. For eight years

2007, he won the European cham-

now, he has passed on his

It is remarkable what delicate artworks can be crafted using a chainsaw.

SIGHTGEIST 87


knowledge to students ranging from 14-year-old boys to 75-yearold grandmas. Every year, up to 150 participants come here to work on a topic over the weekend. It’s a social event, and staying overnight in the forest is an experience in itself for many. When it’s over, everyone gets to take their own personal piece of carving home with them. One of his former students from Norway now even ranks among the best in the world. Once a year at Whitsun, Andreas Martin and his team organise the Husky Cup, turning Blockhausen into a true mecca for the international chainsaw carving scene. What began as a small event with eight carvers in 2004 has since grown into the world’s most lucrative chainsaw carving competition with international attendance. An audience of 10,000 came in 2016 to watch 30 of the best carvers from all over the world. After “Vikings attack an English village” last year, the theme in 2017 will be “Wild Beasts of Europe”. Although the Husky Cup sets high standards in terms of craftsmanship, for Andreas Martin it is the community, the experience, the enthusiasm and creativity that make it so special. “The focus isn’t really on winning.”

LOOKING BACK: AN IDEA TAKES ROOT The founders of Blockhausen could never have dreamed that

things would turn out this way. Back in the days of East Germany and the Iron Curtain, Andreas Martin was a forest ranger in the district where Blockhausen now stands. It was a standard plot of forest, and his job was nothing out of the ordinary. But then the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the borders opened. After German reunification in 1990, the trust company that managed the assets of former East Germany began selling off areas of land, including the woods where Andreas Martin worked as a forest ranger. Martin grasped the opportunity and bought 75 hectares of woods. After adding land bought from private owners, he ended up with around 100 hectares of property. Because it had been poorly managed for many years due to a lack of manpower and machines, the Martins had their work cut out for them. They cleared out fallen trees, planted beech trees on 40 hectares to change the spruce monoculture back into mixed forest. In the years leading up to 1996, the Martins also created several tracks and added a timber store in the hilly woodland. The result was a family-run forestry company. Since it needed a head office, Andreas Martin learned from a Canadian how to build log cabins from tree trunks. That first hut marked the birth of Blockhausen, though it was not yet called so. The idea for the name came to him much later when he needed a brand for the business, which was attracting more and more attention.

SIGHTGEIST 89


Andreas Martin has four children. He hopes they will one day follow in his footsteps and continue the idea of Blockhausen. He says he has never considered his work in the forests, with wood and with his guests to be a chore: “Blockhausen is not just an occupation, it is my vocation.�


The “Walk of Fame” for chainsaw carvers is in Blockhausen.

The first visitors came to Blockhausen to take part in guided

sure it will last. In the coming years, it will not be an easy task

hikes through the woods with Andreas Martin and learn about

for him to preserve his life’s work, develop new ideas and man-

the forest as an ecosystem. As word spread throughout the region,

age guests, all at the same time. Even though the family business

more people came. The lively get-togethers in the evening after

and several employees live from the proceeds of Blockhausen,

these tours of the forest were the foundation for the adventure

he does not charge an entrance fee. He generates revenue from

and catering business he runs today. Every year, 30,000 to 40,000

events and from catering for guests. He does not want to cre-

visitors come to Blockhausen for events, wedding receptions,

ate a barrier that might stop people from coming. Everyone is

company outings, training seminars or day trips. The crowds are

welcome, Blockhausen is an “open museum”, he says. His guests

in no way detrimental to the forest and its wildlife, as guests are

appreciate that. He already has 19 visitor books filled with more

requested to park their cars on the road at the edge of the woods

than 8,000 entries. Many even come several times a year. An-

and walk in from there.

dreas Martin’s commitment has attracted attention not only in Saxony and Germany, but worldwide. In 2016 he received an honorary invitation to the Chainsaw Carvers’ Rendezvous in

THE FUTURE IS AN OPEN BOOK

Pennsylvania. He and his wife were the first foreigners to feature on the annual t-shirts for participants. A few months ago, an il-

Over the years, as the Martins’ forest continued to grow, so did

lustrious documentary film team led by Carla Ronga from Italy

Blockhausen with more log cabins. As time went by, hundreds

approached him. They wanted to make a film about his life’s

of wooden figures also multiplied on the property, arranged by

work and show it at the festivals in Plovdiv und Cannes. You can

theme: mythical creatures, Vikings, figures from Saxony’s history,

make anything out of wood. You can even shape your whole life

animals, and many others. Every year at Whitsun, more figures

out of wood. As Andreas Martin says, he has never considered

and topics are added at the Husky Cup.

his work with wood and with his guests to be a chore: “Block-

Having invested more than a quarter century’s worth of time, en-

hausen is not just an occupation, it is my vocation. Blockhausen

ergy and lifeblood in the project, Andreas Martin wants to make

is my life’s work.”

SIGHTGEIST 91


Cultural Highlights 2017/18 Saxony is Germany’s no. 1 cultural destination. The margraves, dukes, electors and kings of the Wettin dynasty who ruled Saxony for 836 years promoted the arts and music, built impressive palaces and even complete cities, and inspired in their people the joie de vivre visitors can still witness today. Saxony’s capital, Dresden, has risen again in all its baroque splendour, its incredible art collections shining like the jewels in a crown. A journey through the musical history of Saxony is an encounter with great names and a rich musical legacy. It is possible to walk in the footsteps of famous musical instrument manufacturers, composers and musicians, not only in Leipzig, Saxony’s largest city, that has contributed to music history like no other place in Germany. Smaller romantic towns also impress with their historic architecture from Gothic to Art Nouveau, and with unexpected cultural highlights. By creating innovative art and music and presenting it in established or new locations, contemporary artists and musicians are busy building a tradition for the future.

SIGHTGEIST 107


until 6 August 2017 Trophies MZ Motorcycles from Saxony between 1952 and 2005 at Dresden Transport Museum. www.verkehrsmuseum-dresden.de until 8 October 2017 The Heribert Meurer Collection Special exhibition of early Chinese ceramics. www.grassimuseum.de until 5 November 2017 Louise of Tuscany Exhibition on the wife of Frederick Augustus of Saxony in Pillnitz Castle & Park. www.schlosspillnitz.de until 5 November 2017 Luther and the Elector Exhibition at Augustusburg Castle. www.die-sehenswerten-drei.de until 10 December 2017 25th Festival of Sandstone and Music This music festival is a harmonious blend of culture, music and breathtaking nature. The concerts are held at various venues in Saxon Switzerland – in churches, castles, palaces and quarries. www.sandstein-musik.de (in German only) until 31 December 2017 360° Panorama “Titanic” Shipwreck under the sea in Panometer Leipzig. www.asisi.de until 28 January 2018 Luther in Dispute. Leipzig and the Consequences The exhibition highlights the traces left by Martin Luther in Leipzig. www.stadtgeschichtlichesmuseum-leipzig.de

May 2017 1 May – 3 October Summer in Electoral Saxony Saxonian|Bohemian cultural festival with around 200 outstanding cultural events of various genres. www.chursaechsische.de 4 May – 24 September Luther and Printing Exhibition in the Museum of Printing Arts Leipzig on the emergence of print media. www.luther-in-leipzig.de

12 – 28 May Mozart in Saxony The Saxon Mozart Festival is an annual musical event in central Germany. www.mozartfest-sachen.de (in German only)

4 – 9 June A Castle Comes Alive Life in the Middle Ages is presented at Mildenstein Castle near Leisnig. www.burg-mildenstein.de

12 May – 5 November A Treasure Beyond Gold Exhibition on Benno von Meissen, Saxony’s first saint. www.albrechtsburg-meissen.de

9 – 18 June Bach Festival Leipzig The 2017 Bach Festival is dedicated to “Music and the Reformation” with various performances. www.bach-leipzig.de

18 May – 18 June Dresden Music Festival The motto in 2017 is “LIGHT” – a symbol of enlightenment, freedom, transparency and energy. www.musikfestspiele.com

16 June 15th Researchers’ Night in Dresden Institutes and universities offer an entertaining insight into their work. www.wissenschaftsnacht-dresden.de

19 May – 31 October Torgau. Home of the Renaissance and Reformation Special exhibition by Dresden State Art Collections in Hartenfels Castle in Torgau. www.tic-torgau.de

16 and 17 June Summer swing with Schumann Open-air concert at the Robert Schumann Monument in Zwickau. www.kultour-z.de

25 – 28 May Protestant Church Convention in Leipzig Celebrating 500 years of the Reformation under the motto “Music. Debate. Life.” www.luther-in-leipzig.de 25 May – 7 January 2018 Experimental Shoe Design Exhibition in Lichtenwalde Castle near Chemnitz. www.die-sehenswerten-drei.de

June 2017 1 – 11 June International Robert Schumann Festival Singers and pianists perform in Zwickau. www.schumannzwickau.de 2 – 5 June Wave Gothic Festival This festival in Leipzig is one of the biggest events in the neo-romantic black metal scene. www.wave-gotik-treffen.de 2 – 5 June Royal Whitsun Cultural holidays in Bad Elster. www.chursaechsische.de 3 and 4 June Experience mining culture in the Ore Mountains A wide range of events in mines, mining museums and mining landscapes. www.erzgebirge-tourismus.de

16 – 18 June Strauss Weekend Leipzig Opera performs three works by the great composer. www.oper-leipzig.de 17 June 360° Panorama “Baroque Dresden” Reopening of this unique giant panorama showing life in Dresden from 1695 to 1760. www.asisi.de 17 and 18 June The Swedes conquer Königstein Fortress Reenactment with historic uniforms set during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). www.festung-koenigstein.de 18 – 25 June Torgau Festival of Protestant Church Music This festival week is characterized by various original performances. First-rate international artists play church music from the Reformation to the present day. www.tic-torgau.de 22 – 25 June Lusatian Summer Music Festival Experience special sounds at various venues in Upper Lusatia. www.folklorefestival-lausitz.de 22 June – 1 October Bikes! Reinventing the Bike Exhibition in Grassi Museum for Applied Arts, Leipzig. www.grassimuseum.de

SIGHTGEIST 109


23 and 24 June “Klassik airleben” in Rosental Open-air performances of classical music by the Gewandhausorchester. www.gewandhausorchester.de 23 – 25 June 27th Elbhangfest Dresden Art and cultural festival on the banks of the River Elbe. www.elbhangfest.de 28 June – 2 July Richard Wagner Festival Leipzig Opera honours the Leipzig-born composer with various performances. www.oper-leipzig.de

15 and 16 July Narrow-Gauge Railway Festival with the Weisseritz Valley Railway The festival takes place along the narrowgauge railway between Freital-Hainsberg and Dippoldiswalde near Dresden. www.steam-route-saxony.com 23 July 7th August Horch Klassik Museum with more than 140 vintage cars in Zwickau, the city of cars. www.horch-museum.de 28 July – 1 October OSTRALE`O17 International exhibition of contemporary art. www.ostrale.de

July 2017 6 – 8 July International Street Theatre Festival ViaThea This festival has transformed the European town of Görlitz/Zgorzelec into a city of art. www.viathea.de

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30 July – 7 January Something Else. The Reformation in Upper Lusatia Exhibition in the Museum of Cultural History in Zittau Franciscan Monastery. www.museum-zittau.de (in German only)

August 2017 4 – 6 August Festival Historik Mobil Historic vehicles from bygone days. www.steam-route-saxony.com 5 – 20 August Moritzburg Festival Every year, around 25 renowned soloists and talented young musicians meet in Moritzburg and Proschwitz to work together on new interpretations of chamber music and musical rarities. www.moritzburgfestival.de 11 – 13 August International Jazz Festival Jazzy feelings in Bad Elster in the Vogtland region. www.chursaechsische.de 11 – 13 August Erzhike Marathon 2017 Extreme three-day hike in the Ore Mountains along the Stoneman Miriquidi route. www.erzgebirge-tourismus.de


26 and 27 August International Linen Festival Baroque Rammenau Castle welcomes lovers of fine linen and traditional crafts. www.barockschloss-rammenau.com 26 and 27 August Open House in Saxony’s Winegrowing Estates More than 30 wineries in and around Dresden open their doors to visitors. www.elbland.de 26 August – 19 November All in All The conceptual world of the mystic philosopher Jacob Böhme. www.skd.museum

September 2017 2 September – 31 July 2018 175 Years of Railway in Görlitz and Silesia Exhibition in the Silesian Museum. www.schlesisches-museum.de

6 – 17 September Silbermann Festival 22nd festival and 8th international organ competition in Freiberg. www.silbermann.org

10 September Steady. God-fearing. Hard-drinking. New permanent exhibition on “Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous – The Last Ernestine Prince Elector” opens at Hartenfels Castle. www.tic-torgau.de

8 September – 3 October 17th Electoral Festival 200 years of orchestral tradition at the heart of Europe. www.chursächsische.de

15 – 17 September European Brass Music Festival Orchestras from all over Germany and abroad perform the full repertoire of brass music from swing and folk to classical music. www.bergmannsblasorchester.de

8 September – 28 January 2018 Bach and Luther Special exhibition in Bach Museum Leipzig. www.bachmuseumleipzig.de

16 and 17 September Narrow-Gauge Festival in Lössnitzgrund Through Saxony’s Elbland region in historic trains. www.steam-route-saxony.com

9 – 17 September Schumann Festival Week Leipzig’s most significant chamber music festival presents the life and work of Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann. www.schumann-verein.de

22 – 24 September Industrial Culture Days This festival is dedicated to industrial development in Chemnitz and the surrounding region. www.chemnitz-tourismus.de

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29 September – 1 October models-hobbies-games Exhibition for model building, model railways, creative arts and play. www.modell-hobby-spiel.de

November 2017

December 2017

4 – 13 November 17th Jazz Festival Dresden Festival with national and international artists. www.jazztage-dresden.de

1 December – 28 February 2018 17th Electoral Winter Dreams The largest cultural festival in the region known for music and winter sports. www.chursaechsische.de

7 – 12 November Euro-Scene Leipzig This festival of contemporary European theatre presents experimental theatre and innovative dance performances. www.euro-scene.de

2 and 3 December Exhibition at Wendt & Kühn The traditional manufacturer of wooden crafts from the Ore Mountains allows visitors a glimpse into its production in Grünhainichen. www.wendt-kuehn.de

October 2017 5 – 8 October Festival to commemorate the consecration of the Castle Church in Torgau This is where Martin Luther consecrated the first Protestant church building on 5 October 1544. www.tic-torgau.de 12 October – 21 January 2018 In-Sights Baroque ivory art in a dialogue of the arts. Exhibition in the Green Vault. www.skd.museum 15 October Day of Traditional Craft Craftsmen from all over the region open their workshops and present their work and craft to the public. www.erzgebirge-tourismus.de 19 October – 14 January 2018 Käthe Kollwitz in Dresden Exhibition to commemorate the 150th birthday of one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. www.skd.museum 20 – 22 October Designers Open This design festival at Leipzig’s Neue Messe is a marketplace for fresh ideas. www.designersopen.de 20 – 22 October Grassimesse International sales trade fair for applied art and design in the Grassi Museum of Applied Arts in Leipzig. www.grassimuseum.de 27 October – 5 November Reformation & Mendelssohn Festival to commemorate 500 years of the Reformation and the 170th anniversary of the death of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. www.chursaechsische.de 30 October – 5 November DOK Leipzig International festival with documentary and animation films. www.dok-leipzig.de

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9 – 12 November World Dog Show One of the world’s largest dog shows takes place this year at Leipzig Messe exhibition centre. www.wds2017.de 18 November – 25 February 2018 Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella Winter exhibition based on the classic German-Czech film from 1973. www.schloss-moritzburg.de 23 November – 6 May 2018 Delft Porcelain Special exhibition on the art of European faience. www.grassimuseum.de 23 November – 6 May 2018 Jasper Morrison. Thingness/Design Retrospective of the globally acclaimed designer. www.grassimuseum.de 24 November – 23 December Chemnitz Christmas Market This Christmas market has been ranked one of Saxony’s most beautiful by visitors for years. www.chemnitz.de 28 November – 23 December Leipzig Christmas Market This traditional Christmas market dates back to 1458. www.leipzig.de 29 November – 24 December 583rd Striezelmarkt One of the oldest German Christmas markets as well as ten others throughout Dresden welcome guests. www.dresden.de

31 December Open-Air New Year’s Eve on Theaterplatz Welcome in the New Year between Dresden’s Royal Palace and Semper Opera. www.silvesterstadt.de

PREVIEW 2018 26 January Semper Opera Ball & Semper Open-air Ball in Dresden www.semperopernball.de 15 – 18 March Leipzig Book Fair www.leipziger-buchmesse.de 29 March – 2 April Easter in Upper Lusatia www.bautzen.de 11 – 15 April The Ring of the Nibelungen – Richard Wagner’s opera cycle www.oper-leipzig.de 17 – 22 April International Short Film Festival in Dresden www.filmfest-dresden.de 4 – 12 May A Capella Festival www.a-capella-festival.de 8 – 14 May Richard Wagner Festival www.oper-leipzig.de 10 May – 10 June Dresden Music Festival www.musikfestspiele.com Subject to change.


IMPRINT SIGHTGEIST is a publication of Labhard Medien GmbH Max-Stromeyer-Straße 116 78467 Konstanz, Germany Thomas Willauer, Gabriele Schindler Managing Directors Phone +49 7531 90710 Fax +49 7531 907131 verlag@labhard.de www.labhard.de HRB 380898 Freiburg Copyright: Labhard Medien GmbH Labhard Medien GmbH Branch Office Saxony Saalhausener Straße 51 b 01159 Dresden, Germany Iris Kupferschmied Publishing Manager Saxony Phone +49 351 7958830 Fax +49 351 79588315 sachsen@labhard.de www.labhard.de In cooperation with Tourism Marketing Company of Saxony Bautzner Straße 45-47 01099 Dresden, Germany Phone +49 351 491700 Fax +49 351 4969306 info@sachsen-tour.de www.visitsaxony.com www.saxonytourism.com Editorial Director Hans-Jürgen Goller Editorial Team Thomas Willauer (responsible according to German press law), Wolfgang Gärtner Product Manager Iris Kupferschmied Translations Claire Gordon-Kühl Layout Z&Z Werbeagentur Dresden

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Printed by Druckerei Berger, Austria Authors and Photos Cover Picture © Porsche AG Content Photo (p. 4, top) © Fotolia/ Martina Berg Kaleidoscope Authors: Ines Nebelung, Claudia Kaesler; Photos: © Leipzig Opera/Kirsten Nijhof (p. 6 top); Gewandhaus Leipzig/Marco Borgreve (p. 6 bottom); Leipziger Messe International GmbH (p. 7 top); Moritzburg Festival/Rene Gaens (p. 7 bottom left); Semper Opera/Klaus Gigga (p. 7 bottom right); TMGS/Sylvio Dittrich (p. 8 top); Transparent Factory Dresden (p. 8 bottom); Kulturpalast Dresden/visualisation by gmp Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (p. 9 top); DZT VA Russland (p. 9 bottom); Hotel Innside by Melia Leipzig/Thierry Delsart (p. 10 top); ReComPR GmbH (p. 10 middle); Amedia Hotel GmbH (p. 10 bottom); Falco restaurant in Leipzig/Ralf Müller (p. 11 top); Hotel Bülow Palais/Jürgen Jeibmann (p. 11 bottom left) and Volker Linger (p. 11 bottom right); Laviu GmbH/ Christoph Kremtz (p. 12 top); Senorics Dresden (p. 12 middle); Missy RockZ/Fanny Missbach (p. 12 bottom) The Freedom of a Christian www.mutterland-der-reformation.de Authors: Dr. Susanne Kailitz, Wolfgang Gärtner; Photos: © Wolfgang Gärtner (p. 14, p. 21 bottom), Rainer Weisflog (p. 16), Martin Jehnichen (p. 17), TMGS/ Rainer Weisflog (p. 18), TMGS/Fouad Vollmer Werbeagentur (p. 19), TMGS/ Foto Lohse (p. 20), TMGS (p. 21), SKD/Jörg Schöner (p. 22), TMGS/ Frank Exss (p. 23), SKD/Hans Peter Klut (p. 24), SKD/Jürgen Lösel (p. 25) A Holiday Unlike any Other www.schmilka.de Author: Dr. Susanne Kailitz, Dresden; Photos: © Bio und Nationalpark Refugium Schmilka

Dresden’s Heart Beats for Culture www.kraftwerk-mitte-dresden.de (in German only) Author: Dr. Susanne Kailitz, Dresden; Photos: © Sylvio Dittrich (p. 38, 40, 41, 42 top left), Staatsoperette Dresden/Kai-Uwe Schulter-Bunert (p. 42), Staatsoperette Dresden/Stephan Floss (p. 43 top middle, right), First Class Concept (p. 44) Pole Position in Saxony www.porsche-leipzig.com Author: Thomas Willauer; Photos: © Porsche AG A Symphony of Wellbeing www.badelster.de Author: Carsten Schulz-Nötzold/ decorum Kommunikation; Photos: Jan Bräuer (p. 56, 58, 61, 65); CVG/Danny Otto (p. 60 top), CVG/Ingolf Höhl (p. 60 bottom), Sächsische Staatsbäder GmbH/ Igor Pastierovic (p. 62, 63 bottom), SSB/Christoph Beer (p. 63 top and middle); Hotel König Albert/Jan Hesse (p. 64) A Musical Window on the World www.musikfestspiele.com Author: Dr. Martin Morgenstern, Dresden; Photos: © Dresden Music Festival/ Uwe Arens (p. 66), DMF/Oliver Killig (p. 68, 70 bottom), Felix Bröde (p. 69); Historic Archives of Saxon State Theatre /E. Döring (p. 70/71 top); Deutsche Grammophon/Stefan Höderath (p. 73) Secret Residence of the Wettin Dynasty www.schloss-weesenstein.de Author: Anett Böttger, Görlitz; Photos: © Weesenstein Castle/Sylvio Dittrich (p. 74), Weesenstein Castle (p. 76, 77), Wolfgang Gärtner (p. 78, 79), Weesenstein Castle/Peter Pappritz (p. 80, 81 top), Andreas Hummel, www.arstempano.de (p. 81 bottom)

You Can Make Anything out of Wood www.sauensaeger.de Author: Carsten Schulz-Nötzold/ decorum Kommunikation; Photos: © Mario Hamburg (p. 82, 84, 86, 87), Tourist Association of the Ore Mountains/Detlev Müller (p. 88, 89, 90) In Love with Dresden Author: Dr. Susanne Kailitz, Dresden; Photos: © Arturo Prisco private (p. 92. 94 left), Sylvio Dittrich, Dresden (p. 94 middle, p. 96 top), Wolfgang Gärtner (p. 94 right), Foto Koch, Dresden (p. 95), Sebastian Kahl, Freital (p. 96 bottom) Time-out in St. Marienthal Abbey www.kloster-marienthal.de (in German only) Author: Anett Böttger, Görlitz; Photos: © TMGS/Rainer Weisflog (p. 98), St. Marienthal Abbey (all others) Cultural Highlights Photos: © Staatsoperette Dresden/ Kai-Uwe Schulter-Bunert (p. 106, 110), Asisi/Tom Schulze (p. 108), Staatsoperette Dresden/Stephan Floss (p. 111), Dresden Music Festival/Oliver Killig (p. 113) Imprint Photo: © Leipzig Tourismus Marketing/Tom Schulze Editorial Deadline: 5 April 2017 SIGHTGEIST No. 11 will be published in April 2018. For all information about travelling to and in Saxony, please contact Tourism Marketing Company of Saxony Bautzner Straße 45–47 01099 Dresden, Germany Phone +49 351 491700 Fax +49 351 4969306 info@sachsen-tour.de www.visitsaxony.com


. L L A R O F E ON ng, exciting, si ri rp su – e ss e M r e g zi ip Le mily. inspiring. Fun for all the fa usiness. For leisure, hobbies and b Discover our diversity!

N JOY. D IS C OV E R . M A RV E L. E

The future is who we are: www.leipziger-messe.com

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Martin Luther – 500 years since the Reformation History and culture in Germany. On the trail of Martin Luther. The St. Anna’s Church in Augsburg. The chapel at Torgau’s Hartenfels Palace. The Luther towns of Eisleben and Wittenberg. The city of Worms. The Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Discover the life of one man whose legacy spans 500 years of history in 2017: www.germany.travel/luther

Bayern © dpa -© Report Passau_Thinkstock 463363763

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SIGHTGEIST No. 10 (Auszug)  

Das englischsprachige Lifestyle-Magazin begeistert mit großzügig bebilderten Features und Reportagen zu kulturellen und wirtschaftlichen Hig...

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