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The cultural island of Einsiedel Zentendorf

The cultural island of Einsiedel Zentendorf
(© Kulturinsel Einsiedel)

Anyone who has not seen the State art collection of Dresden, with its 'Historic Green Vault' and the art gallery of old and new masters, does not know Saxony. Chemnitz tops this with the Gunzenhauser Museum, one of the largest private German collections of 20th century art. The approximately 2,500 works in the possession of gallery owner Alfred Gunzenhauser include 200 pictures by Otto Dix as well as works of Conrad Felixmüller, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Edvard Munch and Lyonel Feininger. In Leipzig, cultural tourists can combine a concert of the Thomaner choir with a visit to the Bildermuseum in one of the most modern and spectacular museums of the 21st century, located right in the middle of the old town.

However, her rich tradition of handicrafts is what has given Saxony her world reputation. Numerous workshops in the ore Mountains produce hand-made, unique Christmas creations, which are internationally known as Erzgebirgische Holzkunst® (wooden art of the ore Mountains). Since 1677, the manufacture of traditional musical instruments has had its home in Vogtland, in the southwest corner of Saxony. Many musicians in world-famous orchestras play the brilliantly hand-finished string and brass instruments. But Vogtland also harbours another treasure: the Plauener Spitze® - delicate, exceptionally fine filigree lace from Plauen. The famous Meissen porcelain, the first produced in Europe, has been manufactured in the over 1000-year-old town of Meissen on the Elbe for the last 300 years. Saxon wine and champagne from the sunny Elbe Valley are also well known. The designer watches made in Saxony are world-famous, in particular the Glashütte Original line, and the watches of Lange & Sons from Glashütte (near the state capital of Dresden), which are finished with masterly precision. Automobiles have been manufactured in Saxony for 105 years. Nowadays it is the leading BMW 3 Series, the Volkswagen Phaeton, and Porsche Cayenne models that make the hearts of car enthusiasts skip a beat.

Lifestyle, creative spirit, awealth of culture, and luxury items are hallmarks of Saxon history since the time of the Elector-Prince Augustus the Strong, who held the most intoxicating festivals in the Saxon court in the baroque era. A large cycling network (including the Elbe cycle route and the cycle touring route of the Mulden Valley), a network of horse riding trails, and many kilometres of waterways are open to anyone keen to roam. Saxony offers ideal conditions for a multitude of sporting activities: hiking, white-water rafting and rubber dinghy travel, horseback riding, mountain biking, cycling, summer tobogganing, scrambling (the sport originally developed by Saxon students) and in winter: cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, winter walks and tobogganing. Saxony has it all.

In addition, there are numerous attractive parks for entertainment and adventure: the cultural island »Kulturinsel Einsiedel» near Görlitz, the Belantis amusement park near Leipzig, the dinosaur park with a labyrinth in Kleinwelka, the fairy tale and adventure park in Plohn, near Lengenfeld in Vogtland, and the miniature park »Klein-Erzgebirge« (Little ore Mountains) in Oederan. Exotic as well as local wildlife can be admired in the numerous zoos and wildlife parks, including Dresden, Görlitz, Chemnitz, and Leipzig with its Pongoland, the largest centre in the world showing all four species of ape. Colourful butterflies thrive at the »Butterfly House« (Schmetterlingshaus) in Jonsdorf in the Zittau Mountains. Visitors in search for wellness and revitalisation, can find moor baths and numerous spa waters in Saxony. The use of healing spa water has a long tradition in the »bath corner« of the Vogtland, with the Saxon State Baths of Bad Elster and Bad Brambach (where you can find the most intensive Radon bath in the world).

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