Nothing could be further away from soulless mass production than the unique handicrafts that are still very much alive in Saxony and Thuringia. Take a peek and on the way, discover some fascinating off-the-beaten track destinations in the Cultural Heart of Germany.
Bürgel: Small town pottery
White points on a dark-blue or medium-blue background characterise the ceramic products made in the small Thuringian town of Bürgel. Pottery making goes back to the 15th century and the “town of potters” is also home to a museum of ceramics. Explore the region’s many pottery markets for unique handcrafted items!
In 1845, the first master watchmakers settled in Glashütte south of Dresden – and the rest is history: Regarded as the birthplace of the German watchmaking industry, the small town today is as prolific when it comes to high-quality watches as ever. The local watch museum presents the craft’s past and present with unique exhibits, taking visitor, quite literally, through the history of time.
Kahla: Porcelain manufacture
Porcelain manufacture is so prominent in Thuringia that it even justifies an entire “Porcelain Route”, linking traditional porcelain producers, towns and production sites. Highlight on the way is Leuchtenburg Castle near Kahla. The medieval structure houses a porcelain exhibition, not to mention the spectactular “Skywalk of Wishes” high above the Saale valley.
Lauscha: Glass manufacture
Thuringian “Waldglas” (forest glass) has a uniquely greenish luster, caused by the high proportion of iron oxides in the sands of the Thuringian Forest. Centred in Lauscha, glass manufacture in this region goes back to the 16th century and today's show workshops offer great insights into the art of glassmaking. Lauscha is also the birthplace of Christmas baubles that were first produced here in the mid-19th century and Christmas tree decorations can be bought all-year-round!
Markneukirchen: Instrument making
The Saxon Vogtland region is Germany’s “musical corner”: The finest wooden and brass instruments used by artists and musicians around the world have been produced in the small towns of Markneukirchen, Klingenthal and Schöneck for more than 350 years. Don’t miss the museum of musical instruments in Markneukirchen and visit a workshop to see expert craftspeople at work.
Meissen: Porcelain manufacture
From tableware to art and decorative items – porcelain from Meissen is not only one of Germany’s most prestigious trademarks, it is simply beautiful. European porcelain making started in the Saxon town in 1710 and today’s visitors can learn in Meissen Porcelain Manufactory’s “House of Meissen” how the precious items are made and tour a porcelain museum.
Seiffen: Wooden art and toys
In the heart of the Ore Mountains, Seiffen is the centre of a unique tradition of handmade wooden art and toys. Christmas decorations such as intricately crafted wooden pyramids or nutcrackers are beloved round the world and to best get the insight story, visit Seiffen’s toy museum or show workshops of local producers.