Saxony was part of the socialist Eastern Germany but took a fast economic upswing after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Federal State today offers a unique scenical, architectural and cultural diversity. Especially the two major cities of Dresden and Leipzig boast a tremendous cultural heritage like few other cities in Europe. And if you are looking for rural charme: visit the Saxony mountains with their bizarre sandstone cliff formations, the Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Erzgebirge with its tradition of woodcarving and folklore, the Vogtland as the center of musical instrument construction, or the Oberlausitz with its heath and lake landscape abounding in forests.
The Saxony State Capital (pop. 500.000) is called “Florence on the Elbe”. The sumptuous art collections and impressive monumental buildings have given the city world-wide fame. In the old city on the left banks of the Elbe, famous buildings and interesting sights are lined up like pearls on a string: the Zwinger, the Green Vault, the Painting Gallery, the castle, the Semper Opera, the Court Chapel, Taschenberg Palace or the Dresden Church of our Lady (Frauenkirche), which is still undergoing restoration. World-famous ensembles such as the Saxon State Opera, the State Chapel and the Kreuzchor singers are based in the city. Dresden is also a research and science city, as well as an important industrial stronghold.
Leipzig (pop. 490.000) has always enjoyed the reputation of a national and international trade metropolis. Today, 25 important trade fairs set the city’s commercial pace. Leipzig is a book city. Major German publishing houses are based in Leipzig, such as Baedeker, Brockhaus and Reklam. The annual book fair and the central branch of the German Library reflect this description of the city. Leipzig is also a city of music. Johann Sebastian Bach, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Schumann were influential here and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra always belonged to the most exquisite orchestras in the world.
Saxon Switzerland National Park
The Saxon Switzerland National Park with its majestic table mountains, rock needles and the sandstone formations in the Elb Sandstone Mountainsis is one of the most beautiful national parks in Germany. The artist, Caspar David Friedrich, drew inspiration from the unique natural scenery. The flora and fauna that inhabit the park are equally impressive. Many species cannot be found anywhere else in Central Europe. Many hiking trails lead to enchanting places. Hikers and climbers can also view the unique landscapes from the rock faces.