Görlitz Things to Do Tips by Kathrin_E
Görlitz Things to Do: 172 reviews and 471 photos
Chapel of the Unction and Sepulchre
The Holy Sepulchre is a medieval copy of the holy sites in Jerusalem. In 1464 the mayor Georg Emmerich was forced to do a pilgrimage to Jerusalem as repentence for his sins, whatever they may have been. He made it safely to Jerusalem and back and returned with the plan to found and build this copy in his hometown.
The topography of the site resembles the topography of Jerusalem. On the small hill that represents Golgatha three chapels have been built.
The first is the double Chapel of the Cross, with the dark crypt-like Chapel of Adam in the basement and the Golgatha Chapel on the upper floor. The crevice in the eastern wall that runs from the upper to the lower chapel recalls the earthquake at the death of Jesus.
The small Chapel of the Unction contains a sandstone pietà, Mary with her dead son.
The Way of the Cross ends in the Sepulchre, a cop of the Sepulchre in Jerusalem - art historians look at this site with utmost interest because the sites in Jerusalem underwent many changes in the past centuries, so these buildings here give an idea what the originals may have looked like in the 15th century.
Jesus Bakery and station of the Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross through the old town of Görlitz has been established in pre-reformation times but it is still in use by pilgrimages and catholic processions. It begins at the Church of St Peter and Paul and leads down Nikolaistraße and along Bogstraße and Steinweg to the Holy Sepulchre.
Only one of the Stations is still there: station no. 3 on the corner Bogstraße/Nikolaigraben. The old stone pillar contains a modern mosaic that shows Jesus falling under the cross. It is located outside a bakery which is, very befitting, named Jesusbäckerei.
Church of St Peter and Paul
The late gothic Church of St Peter and Paul with its two spires is the main church in town and a predominant landmark, especially in the panorama from the Polish side. It was built on a rocky terrace high above the Neiße bank. Named "Peterskirche" in short, it is the main protestant parish church of the town.
The interior is a wide spacious gothic hall with five naves, covered in star vaults. The entire furnishing, however, was renewed in the baroque era after a fire that destroyed most medieval pieces, with the exception of the fence around the baptismal font.
The organ was built in 1703 by Eugenio Casparini and Johann Conrad Büchau. They gave the prospect a special feature: small pipes assorted in the shape of suns. Hence the instrument is known as Görlitzer Sonnenorgel ("sun organ").
The church is open in the daytime. Don't miss going in, despite the small entrance fee. Walk around and observe the changing perspectives and patterns of the vaults and columns.
The Baroque House
Görlitz's Kulturgeschichtliches Museum occupies three addresses: Kaisertrutz, the adjacent Reichenbacher Turm, and the baroque house in Neißstraße 30.
At the moment (winter 2010/2011) both Kaisertrutz and the Baroque House are closed for restoration works and preparations for the big state exhibition "via regia – 800 Years of Mobility and Movement" which is shown in Kaisertrutz from May 21 to October 31, 2011.
The Baroque House has four wings round a central courtyard, it is said to be the most beautiful house from tat era in town. It was built in the 1720s for a wealthy merchant. Later it became the seat of the Upper Lusatian Society of Sciences, their beautiful library is preserved inside. Unfortunately at the moment it is all fenced off. A glimpse through the windows reveals restaurators at work on the stucco ceilings.
The town hall of Görlitz occupies the entire western front of Obermarkt. From the squares it looks like a row of four separate houses and a tower, but all this is the town hall. The oldest part is the wing on the corner to Brüderstraße next to the tower, which dates back to the 14th century. The administration grew and the neighbouring houses were taken over by the magistrate and added to the town hall complex. This includes also the former law court building round the corner in Brüderstraße. In 1902/03 the town hall was again extended and the neorenaissance wing was added that faces the right half of Untermarkt.
The balcony on the corner next to the tower deserves a closer look. It overlooks a part of Untermarkt, the perfect spot for the mayor to give a speech to the public. The statue on the column is an allegory of Justitia with scales and sword. Her eyes are not blindfolded, which is unusual.
The town hall is a public building and open during office hours. In case you want to ride a real paternoster, hop in... but take care, the thing is tricky.
Asking nicely gave us the chance to see the historical town archive in the back wing. The memory of the town is still kept in the original renaissance halls.
The church was built in the 13th century for the newly founded monastery of the Franciscans. It underwent a couple of changes in the following centuries, but it is the only church in Görlitz that still contains its late medieval furnishing.
In the 15th century the adjacent wing of the cloister was transformed into a side nave of the church, now the chapel of St Barbara. It contains a beautiful woodcarved altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary (1516, photo 3).
There is a peculiarity about the clock on the steeple: It is 7 minutes ahead. Legends tell that because of this the rebellion of the cloth makers in 1527 (see Verätergasse - traitor lane) has been discovered in time. Since then Görlitz stuck with the tradition - you never know what it might be good for.
Reichenbacher Turm is a medieval gate tower on the western side of the old town on the road to, surprise, Reichenbach. It was part of the town's fortifications and protects the access to Untermarkt.
The top floor of the tower offers a great view of the town, unfortunately only through glass windows. The rooms inside are a little museum about the history of Görlitz. You can visit the tower only with a guided tour. Tickets must be obtained at the museum Kaisertrutz on the other side of the street.
Not suitable for people who mind climbing 156 steps for whatever reason.
Photos of the view are here
Directions: Western end of Obermarkt
The fanciest jewel of renaissance architecture, built in 1526, proudly occupies a prominent location in the main streets of the old town and opposite the town hall. On the corner of Untermarkt and within the axis of Brüderstraße, its elaborate oriel is impossible to miss.
Nevertheless I somehow missed taking a decent photo of it, shame on me!
The building has recently been restored. During my visit in 2008 it was hidden behind scaffolding. Now the works are finished and the building has reopened. The rooms still have their wooden renaissance ceilings with painted ornaments.
Schönhof hosts Schlesisches Museum (Silesian Museum) which presents the history and culture of Silesia between Prussia and Austria, Bohemia and Saxony, between Germany and Poland. A visit to the museum is herewith recommended. The rooms of the old Schönhof are used for the new permanent exhibition. The museum occupies two more wings behind Schönhof which contain the presentation about Silesia in the 20th century and temporary exhibitions.
Don't miss the view from the windows of the oriel down on Untermarkt and along Brüderstraße.
Up-to-date further information for visitors can be found on the website of the museum.
Address: Cornder Brüderstraße/Untermarkt
Tombs and burial chapels
The oldest and most beautiful cemetery of Görlitz is the one of St Nikolai on the hillside behind the church. The oldest part on the steep slope has beautiful old tombstones and baroque burial chapels. Unfortunately most of the latter are decaying and in urgent need of restoration. Nevertheless this is a romantic place.
The most prominent 'inmate' is the philosopher Jacob Böhme (died 1624); his tomb was tourist-friendly and carefully cleared from snow.
The part higher up on the hill is still in use for burials. The graves are embedded in a nice park with old trees.
I visited in deepest winter with lots of snow. My compliments to the caretakers, they seem to be the only ones in the whole of Görlitz who know how to make snow-covered paths safe and easily walkable. They went over the snow with a big shovel and then put rough gravel on it. After all the stumbling and slipping in the streets of the old town, walking the cemetery was indeed relaxing.
The church is not open in winter, so I can't tell about it.
Adam and Eve in paradise
This renaissance house in Neißstraße, just off Untermarkt, is ornated with reliefs all over the facade. They show five scenes each from the Old and New Testament with the most important biblical stories. It is a summary of the Bible.
Old Testament (1st floor):
2. Adam and Eve in Paradise
3. Abraham sacrifices Isaac
4. Moses receives the Ten Commandments
5. Moses and the Ore Snake
New Testament (2nd floor):
1. Announcement to Mary
3. Baptism of Christ
4. The Last Supper
My favourite is the paradise scene with Adam and Eve under the tree laden with apples, surrounded by animals. Note the sceptical look the lion is giving them...
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