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Old town of Meißen.

Meißen, (or 'Meissen' according to the now-standard conversion of the German letter 'ß'), internationally most known for porcelain, is a town of approximately 35,000 near Dresden on the river Elbe in the Bundesland of Saxony in the southern part of eastern Germany. In very early times it was the first capital of Saxony. Points of interest are mainly the Meißen porcelain label, the Albrechtsburg Castle, the Gothic Meißen Cathedral, the Meißen Frauenkirche, and the St. Afra high school for gifted children.

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History

In 929 King Henry I erected a stronghold on the hill that is the center of today's old town, where formerly a Slavic castle had been located. The castle, called Albrechtsburg, was the centre of the Margravate of Meißen, which later became the Electorate of Saxony and then the Kingdom of Saxony. With minor changes, its territory corresponds to that of the free state of Saxony today.

In 963 the diocese Meißen-Dresden was founded, and Meißen became the seat of a bishop.

Around 1000 Meißen was granted Marktrecht, the privilege to hold its own markets, and in 1150 it was officially documented as town (Stadt).

The construction of the cathedral was started in 1260 on the same hill as the castle. This created a lack of space due to which the cathedral is one of the smallest cathedrals in Europe. The cathedral is also known as being one of the most pure examples of gothic architecture.

The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meißen in 1710, when the Royal-Polish-Electoral-Saxonian Porcelain Manufactory was opened in the Albrechtsburg Castle. Later, in 1861, it was moved in the Triebisch valley of Meißen, where the Porcelain Manufactory of Meißen can still be found today.

Tourism

Tourism is a major economic force in Meißen today.

Some of its attractions are:

  • The historic district: The area of the city located mostly around the market at the foot of the castle's hill. Its narrow serpentine streets make a picturesque scenery, complemented by several remarkable Renaissance buildings.
  • The porcelain factory: Visitors can watch how the Meißen porcelain is manufactured, or have a look at the exhibition hall which displays around 3000 selected items, historical and modern.
  • Albrechtsburg and the cathedral: The hill on which the castle and the cathedral are built offers a view over the roofs of the old town.
  • Markets and festivals: From spring to autumn, several festivals take place in Meißen, for example the pottery market or the Weinfest, which celebrates the wine harvest.
  • Wine: Meißen wine is produced at the vineyards in the river valley around the town.

See also

External links

eo:Meißen nl:Meißen (stad) pl:Miśnia sv:Meissen

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