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Southern east Germany

 
Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 15 Dec 2015 18:19 
I'm just wondering if anyone has some tips for southern east Germany? We are heading through Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony Anhalt early in the New Year. I've been to parts of it before but only as day trips from Prague and Berlin, so I'm looking forward to exploring in more detail and ticking off my second last Länder.

Our itinerary is pretty much set but if anyone has recommendations for specifics then it would be warmly welcomed. We have a car and the trip will include:
-Dresden
-Potential quick detour to Bad Moskau- is it worth more than a brief visit for a tick?
-Erzgebirge (looking at Freiberg and Annaberg-Buchholz are these the good places to head to?)
-Weimar
-Erfurt (t-list site and looks rather nice)
-Hainach NP
-Wartburg
-Kassel, (certainly won't see it at its best, is it worth holding out for the waterworks?)
-LS Eisleben
-Halle (for the Francke Foundation only?)
-Dessau
-LS Wittenberg
-Potential revisit to Potsdam and Berlin Housing estates.

And a couple of specific bits:
We have a nights accommodation to sort out between Dessau and flying from Schönefeld, does anyone have any recommendations for a place to spend the night in this area?
I haven't scheduled a visit to Naumburg assuming it won't get inscribed, is this a bit too presumptive, is the cathedral actually worthy of a visit anyway?
Also I haven't factored in anything for Leipzig, would anyone recommend making time for it?

Sorry if that is a little too specific, I'm just trying to fill in some details in the final itinerary and thought this would be a good place to ask.

Author echwel
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 16 Dec 2015 06:56 
We've only visited the bit from Weimar till Wartburg. So for what it's worth; Weimar is nice and being a WHS I wouldn't miss it. Erfurt is a reasonably sized city with most of its old architecture intact. It was pretty much left alone during the war and that's not very common in Deutschland so I would strongly recommend a visit. If you have the choice I would pick Erfurt for your place to stay overnight.

We didn't think Wartburg was very special but being a WHS I suppose still worth the tick, Hainach is in the neighborhood so that would be an easy tick as well. That said, winter probably isn't the best time to visit Hainach because, when all the leaves are gone, you can't get that "jungle-feeling" . To be honest, we found it to be a rather common park. No OUV in sight. I think, judging from pics I saw, you'll get a better experience in Summer or Fall.

Author echwel
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 16 Dec 2015 07:01 
If you're interested; Some pictures I took while we were there can be found here

Don't expect to much though, it's just your average tourist shots.

Author clyde
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 16 Dec 2015 07:17 
In my opinion Bad Muskau is the kind of WHS I would categorise as a pleasant stopover from one WHS to the next (very easy to explore its highlights and it does not require a lot of time; certainly not worth spending the night there.

I did not stop in Halle but I remember I was quite impressed by the sheer size and condition of the main cathedral/church which can be seen when on the highway.

Kassel is worth visiting when the waterworks are working but I wouldn't miss visiting if you cannot time your visit accordingly.

In Eisleben/Wittemberg, do visit a combination of the 'main' and minor sights to better grasp the limited OUV - you can read my reviews for some pointers.

Have a nice trip and should you need any more tips, let me know :)

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 16 Dec 2015 10:39 
How much time are you planning? This seems to be a lot, even using a car...

>> Dresden

While there, I would visit the Neustadt (North of the Elbe). The train station renovated by Norman Foster might be interesting, too.

>> Potential quick detour to Bad Moskau- is it worth more than a brief visit for a tick?

I find parks in winter always a bit tricky. The park itself (when green) is nice. And you can cross into Poland inside the site.

>> Weimar

You can tick off two WHS here, but I didn't like it. Classical Weimar is too German and offers too little universal value. And Bauhaus is better in Dessau.

>> Erfurt (t-list site and looks rather nice)

I have a fond recollection of the cathedral and market square. But a lot of time has passed since I went.

>> Wartburg

Great castle. You should climb it on foot for the real experience. Driving up is cheating.

>> Kassel, (certainly won't see it at its best, is it worth holding out for the waterworks?)

Seeing the waterworks are the key point of this site, the answer should be "yes, hold out". On top, it's a park and it's in winter... Would be a good part of any Harz trip.

>> Halle (for the Francke Foundation only?)

Has a nice old town, too. Like most Eastern German towns. Francke Foundation is a fast one. If you arrive during school time you get a sense of its purpose.

>> Dessau
I would go to Wörlitz, too. Unless you already went. Very nice park. Again, it's winter.

>> LS Wittenberg

Not sure I would do all Luther sites (Wartburg also being Luther related). This is one site where I would tick off and go.

>> I haven't scheduled a visit to Naumburg assuming it won't get inscribed, is this a bit too presumptive, is the cathedral actually worthy of a visit anyway?

Really depends on your scheduling. It shouldn't be a huge detour if you are going to Thuringia. And I did enjoy it, simply for the fact that it's a bit obscure. But it's not a WHS.

>> Also I haven't factored in anything for Leipzig, would anyone recommend making time for it?

I would visit Leipzig. It's the "place to be", now that Berlin got too expensive. You could get a hotel here and do the trip to Dessau from here. Dessau is really an empty town with very little evening activities.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 17 Dec 2015 06:35 
Thanks very much for these so far.

Will be back to comment in a little more detail soon, though most of my attention is currently on a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Author hubert
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 17 Dec 2015 13:20 | Edited by: hubert 
A nice trip and a tight schedule, I suppose.
Well, there are a lot of parks and castles to visit in the region and both are not my favourites categories of WHS. Nevertheless, I would say that the South East is one of the best areas to visit in Germany. Nice historic town centres, a quick tour through German history from the Middle Ages to recent history, and a WHS hotspot.
I've visited most of the sites on your list and also wrote some reviews.
Hope that my comments are helpful:

Dresden
a beautiful city and a shame for both, the WHC and the Dresden authorities that it was delisted. My first visit to Dresden was in 1989, most historic buildings were in bad condition, and it is incredible how things have changed and how the city has developed. I would recommend an evening at the opera and a boat trip from Dresden to Pillnitz Castle, but the pleasure of the latter depends certainly on the weather.

Bad Muskau
I've not been there, but I think it's not outstanding. But maybe you'll never get a better opportunity to tick this site off.

Erzgebirge
Also not yet visited, but I would agree that Freiberg and Annaberg are the most worthwhile destinations. And a good chance for snow in January. Two websites with information on the nominated elements:
http://www.montanregion-erzgebirge.de/en/world-heritage-discover/elements/the-saxon-c omponent-parts.html
http://www.montanregion.cz/de/

And a pdf-guide (in German and Czech) with a list of all nominated elements:
http://www.montanregion.cz/administrace/soubory_ke_stazeni/1406537265_cz_pruvodce_fin .pdf

Weimar
a charming town, I have a great fondness for Weimar, mainly because of what it represents (Bauhaus, Goethe/Schiller). It's more of national importance and visitors from other countries may be less enthusiastic.
My recommendation for Classical Weimar: Goethe House, Ilm Park, Anna Amalia Library
The Bauhaus buildings in Dessau are more typical, but the Weimar sites are also worth seeing. The University buildings are still in use and are open on weekdays. The Bauhaus University also offers guided tours, perhaps it fits into your schedule.
http://www.uni-weimar.de/en/university/profile/bauhausatelier/bauhaus-walk/walk-times -and-prices/

Two non-WHS recommendations: The Bauhaus Museum and the Van de Velde House
http://www.klassik-stiftung.de/en/institutions/museums/haus-hohe-pappeln/

Weimar is also a good place to try two local specialities that may accompany you during the trip: Köstritzer Schwarzbier and Thüringer Rostbratwurst
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuringian_sausage
https://www.koestritzer.de/produkte/koestritzer-schwarzbier/

Erfurt
The T-list sites are not very impressive, but Erfurt has one of the most beautiful old town centres in Germany

Hainach NP
Not very exciting. The WHS zone comprises only a part of the national park. The WHS is best covered with the trail Sperbersgrund

I will comment on the other sites in a second post.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 18 Dec 2015 07:00 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Thanks hubert, will look forward to part two.
hubert:
But maybe you'll never get a better opportunity to tick this site off.

I think that is the crux of it, this will be my second trip to Dresden and I have already been to Wroclaw, Berlin and Prague (multiple times) so there aren't really many big draws back to the area, and it will just be an island of an unvisited WHS.
So I probably wont see it at it's best, but in all likelihood I'm never going to make a special trip to Germany or Poland just to see it.

Author hubert
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 18 Dec 2015 18:16 
Part two of my recommendations:

Wartburg
definitely worth a visit, an exception to my above castle-and-park-statement

Kassel
I enjoyed the waterworks, and it is certainly a major reason for the inscription. Apart from that, the best attraction is the Herkules monument. Be aware that the name 'Bergpark' is absolutely justified, I have some doubts that it's a great pleasure in January. And Kassel is 1.5 hours from Eisenach and about 2 hours from Eisleben.

Luther
I liked Wittenberg better than Eisleben, both the Luther sites and the city

Halle
I presume that the Francke Foundation will not get the inscription, the architecture is not outstanding and its global impact on education is not that high. Halle has a nice old town centre and the State Museum of Prehistory is quite interesting , its most famous object is the Nebra Sky Disc
http://www.lda-lsa.de/en/nebra_sky_disc/

Dessau Bauhaus
we share the passion for modern architecture, so I assume Bauhaus will be a highlight of your trip. I would recommend the guided tour to the Bauhaus Building, the tour leads you through rooms that are otherwise not accessible. The Master Houses are open to the public (some of them) with and without a guided tour. In 2014, the reconstruction of the two houses that were destroyed in WWII was completed, the intention was a 'new interpretation' not a reconstruction true to original. It will be interesting to read your review on that.
Of the non-WHS Bauhaus sites I can recommend the Kornhaus restaurant, the others are less impressive. The Laubenganghäuser are part of the T-list extension, the former Employment Office is of some interest (open on weekdays).
http://www.kornhaus-dessau.de/
http://www.bauhaus-dessau.de/visiting-the-bauhaus-buildings.html

Dessau Wörlitz
The Georgium Park is close to the Master Houses, but the best part of this WHS is the Wörlitz Park, 15 km east of Dessau

Accommodation in Dessau
I would agree with nfmungard that Dessau is empty and dull (well, it has two WHS and you can't have everything), Potsdam would be a better choice to spent the last evening (the Dutch Quarter is nice).
But if you decide to stay in Dessau, an option could be 'Sleeping like a Bauhausler', a bit austere but authentic:
http://www.bauhaus-dessau.de/accommodation.html

Potsdam
one of my favourite WHS in Germany (so maybe I like castles and parks?). My recommendations: Cecilienhof (famous for the Potsdam Conference in 1945) and the Einstein Tower (not open to the public)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein_Tower

Leipzig
worth a visit, a lively city centre and a good nightlife. The Nikolaikirche is worth a visit, I like the interior and it's the symbol of the peaceful protest against the GDR government in 1989.

Hope that some comments are helpful, have a nice trip and – may the force be with you.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 21 Dec 2015 05:30 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Thanks very much for all of the feedback, and indeed Hubert the force was strong with me this weekend, though of course it was only for the scenes on Skellig Michael :)

It is all very useful. We only have hotels for Dresden and Dessau (as soon as we had flights we booked a stay at the Bauhaus) so the rest can still be filled in.

The unseasonably warm weather may be slightly to our advantage if it hangs around, it feels like spring in London and there are daffodils out so that may make the parks and forests a little more pleasant (I would prefer freezing and festive though).

Although we are still unsure of our final night's destination is there anywhere south of Berlin that people would recommend as a pleasant place to stay? If not we may just stay near Schonefeld, but aside from Tropical Islands in a Zepplin hanger I haven't turned up much of interest, so if anyone thinks of anything we will gladly take pointers.

How do I get to visit Aldabra? www.worldheritagesite.org Forum / How do I get to visit Aldabra? /
 Southern east Germany

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