It is only through being used and being developed with caution that historical buildings and village structures can be preserved. Villages become more desirable places for inhabitants to stay and they can attract more inhabitants, as well as visitors and tourists looking for something exceptional, if their unique architecture is well-preserved. The protection of historical buildings and monuments, village development and tourism go very much hand in hand. In addition, public relations help raise awareness of this issue, whilst making the villages more well-known at the same time.
Sachsens Schönste Dörfer (The Most Beautiful Villages in Saxony) highest priority is to support the preservation, valorisation, vitalisation and rejuvenation of architectural heritage in villages in Saxony. The group’s activities focus on:
Raising awareness of the architectural and cultural riches in rural areas as a whole,
Increasing the value of the villages’ cultural heritage for tourism and the rural economy
Cooperation, networking, sharing knowledge, expertise and experience with organisations and initiatives who share our aims, on both a national and international level.
The association Sachsens Schönste Dörfer (The Most Beautiful Villages in Saxony) was founded in 2011 as a subdivision of the Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz e.V. (a registered association for conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage in Saxony), which itself has been committed to protecting Saxony’s natural and cultural heritege since 1908.
Auterwitz is located in one of the best agricultural regions in Germany, the Lommatzscher Pflege. Small villages with large farms are typical here. Auterwitz consists of only four big farmyards supplemented by some houses of craftsmen. The village has preserved its character in a very good way. Seen from above, Auterwitz looks like a green, ecological island in the intensively used agricultural landscape. Visitors can experience old craft techniques in the www.Lindenhof-Auterwitz.de, as baking in a traditional oven.
Dreiskau-Muckern was formed of two villages in 1956, so one can see two different types of settlements at once. Located in a coal mining area, the village was sentenced to elimination in East German times. In the very last moment, the devastation was stopped, but the village had already lost 90 % of its inhabitants. In 1993, the resettlement started including a careful restoration of the buildings. The best time to discover the village is the “Offene-Höfe“-weekend” (Open-doors) in August.
Franken is a traditional “Waldhufendorf”, a planned settlement type from the Middle Ages with two lines of farmsites along a creek in a valley. Today, one can find well-preserved timber-framed houses including one of the oldest farmhouses in Saxony (15th century). A private museum of rural heritage shows how everyday life was in the past. The Classicist church, being a ruin in the 1990ies, was transformed into a unique cultural center (www.kirche-franken.de). Franken is the neighboring village of Schlagwitz – so two of the Most Beautiful Villages in Saxony can be visited in a short distance.
Hinterhermsdorf is located in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. The mountain village has its roots in agriculture, linen weaving and forestry. Beginning in the late 19th century, the village turned into a popular tourist destination. The “Obere Schleuse”, a historical timber rafting system, is a tourist attraction now. Many hotels and guesthouses offer overnight stays. The village is also wellknown for its many half-timbered houses (Umgebindehäuser), a unique rural architecture.
Höfgen is situated in the scenic floodplain of the Mulde river. Visitors, who come from the nearby convent ruins in Nimbschen, cross the river by a hand-operated ferry, which has been existing for 400 years. The 700-year-old Romanesque village church is situated on the highest point of the village – protected from flood. It has a rural Baroque interior.
The village is also wellknown for its mills – a water and a ship mill. Different hotels and guesthouses offer overnight stays.
Lorenzkirch was originally founded on an island of the river Elbe. The proximity to the river characterizes the place until today – including the threat of flood.
The small village has many historical features, such as the former pilgrimage church and the traditional Lorenzmarkt in August, once a major livestock market. In 1945, the very first encounter of the U.S. Army and the Red Army took place here. And Lorenzkirch is the birthplace of the Nobel laureate for physics Wolfgang Paul.
Naustadt is situated near the “porcelain town” of Meißen. The famous porcelain designer Johann Kändler created a Baroque tomb in the church, which was built in the 16th century.
Naustadt has an extraordinary village structure: large yards form a ring around the church. In one of the farmhouses, a glassblowing manufactory was set up. Visitors can spend the night in the nearby castle Scharfenberg.
Obercunnersdorf is famous for its many half-timbered houses (Umgebindehäuser), a unique rural architecture especially in Upper Lusatia. Visitors can discover it on a guided tour through the village and in the little museum “Schunkelhaus”, one of the oldest buildings here. Some of these houses can be booked for overnight stay. Further attractions are the Baroque church, a former railway viaduct, spanning the village, and a windmill museum nearby.
Schlagwitz is characterized by big farmyards, which indicate the high soil quality in the floodplain of the Zwickauer Mulde river. One of the oldest farmhouses in Saxony (from 1562) stands her. Many buildings date from the early 19th century, the Neo-Romanesque church from 1902. The Denkmalhof Schlagwitz (www.schlagwitz.de) is a popular location for weddings etc. Schlagwitz is the neighboring village of Franken – so two of the Most Beautiful Villages in Saxony can be visited in a short distance.
Schmilka is located at the Elbe river in the Saxon Switzerland National Park near the border to Czech Republic. The village originated as a settlement of boatsmen, raftsmen, forest workers, masons and millers. In the 19th century, the tourist development began. Within the last 25 years, many of the old houses have been carefully restored, the old watermill was reconstructed. Today, Schmilka specializes in ecotourism.
Stangengrün is a traditional “Waldhufendorf”, a planned settlement type from the Middle Ages with two lines of farmyards along a creek in a valley. The village offers – over a distance of 4 kilometers – a very authentic impression of this traditional settlement type in Saxony. The history and traditions can be discovered in a private museum. The church from the 14th century has a precious Gothic winged altar made by the famous wood sculptor Peter Breuer (1509).