Meißen is great to discover on foot. The distances on a city tour are not particularly long and there is a lot to see.
We joined a guided tour of the city of Meißen. The tours are offered regularly and start directly at the tourist information office on the market square. You can buy tickets there.
The tour lasted about 1.5 hours and took us through the restored, historic old town of Meissen to the end point on Burgplatz in front of Albrechtsburg Castle. We were shown not only the “usual” sights of the city, but also small discoveries on the outskirts, such as the high-water marks on a house wall or the large city map made of cobblestones and metal plates embedded in the pavement. If you also keep your eyes open, you will discover a lot in the narrow streets. Be it a beautiful door or small figures on the roof, these little treasures often please us the most.
We present a few of the most interesting places we discovered on our city tour of Meißen in more detail.
Meißen City Hall
The late Gothic building of the town hall stands directly on the market square. The original building was erected between 1472 and 1480 and was designed by Arnold von Westfalen.
After several alterations, the façade was to be restored to its original state in 1910, but a balcony was added that had not actually been there.
If you stand in front of the plastered rubble stone building today, you will see brick gables and sandstone jambs. The gable roof rises 17 metres steeply and blind gables can be seen on the narrow sides. Three dwarf houses and a sundial are the main stylistic elements facing the market square. The main portal of the town hall dates back to 1470 and the town’s coat of arms can be seen above it.
Church of Our Lady Meißen (Frauenkirche Meißen)
The Frauenkirche Meißen is also right on the market square. You can visit the Protestant church and climb up the steeple.
The first documented mention of a chapel on the market square dates back to 1205. It was another 100 years before the name Chapel of Our Lady St. Mary or Church of Our Lady was discovered in records. Originally, the church belonged to the Augustinian Canons Regular Monastery of St. Afra.
After several city fires, the church was rebuilt from 1450. A representative late Gothic hall church was built. After a lightning strike destroyed the spire in 1547, it was replaced by an octagonal tower with a gilded spire head and a weather vane.
If you look up the tower, you can discover the world’s first tunable and playable porcelain carillon. It has been hanging there since 1929 and was played for the first time on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the city. From 2002 to 2004 the bells were restored and today you can hear the 37 bells ringing six times a day with different melodies across the market:
- 6:30 h: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
- 8:30 h: Großer Gott, wir loben dich
- 11:30 h: Die Himmel rühmen des Ewigen Ehre
- 14:30 h: Wir treten zum Beten
- 17:30 h: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott
- 20:30 h: Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König
In addition, every quarter of an hour a porcelain bell westminster chime is heard, which is the prelude to the chime. The city tour of Meißen was timed exactly so that we were at the church at 2.30 p.m. on the dot to listen to the chimes.
We returned to the Meißen Frauenkirche later to climb up the church tower. The door to the tower is locked and you need a key, which you can get in the church. It costs €2.50 per person to climb the tower.
With the friendly admonition to lock the door behind us again, we made our way up the 193 steps. Until 1907, the tower keeper, who had his flat in the tower, also took this route. He still used the tower walkway, which is now used as a viewing platform, for his search for fires and dangers in the city.
First we went up a spiral staircase to the first floor of the tower and then further up to the former people’s floor. This is where the historic drive roller of the carillon is located. You also pass four cast steel bells on the way up. These date from around 1929.
When you reach the fourth floor, the ground plan of the tower begins to change. Now you are in the octagonal structure. You pass the turret room and then reach the tower walkway.
What a beautiful view over the city that awaited us there. You can look into the small and winding alleys of Meißen and have a good view of the market square.
I found the view towards Albrechtsburg Castle and Meißen Cathedral particularly beautiful…
What else you can see on a city tour of Meißen
If you walk around the church, you come to a beautiful gate. Around 1600, the clothiers’ guild donated this sandstone gate. The clothmakers’ gate led to the churchyard, which was behind the church. Today, a replica stands here, the original is in the town museum.
The Small Hollow Way (Kleiner Hohlweg) seems quite inconspicuous at first. This narrow path leads up to Albrechtsburg Castle. High walls rise up on the sides, from which the knights were once able to defend the castle hill during attacks.
A short stop followed in front of the Saxon State High School St.Afra. The former Augustinian monastery was once the school of Lessing and Hahnemann and is now a school for highly gifted pupils from Saxony.
We then crossed the castle bridge, a very old stone bridge, and went through a castle gate towards the cathedral square on the castle hill. Here we learned about Meissen Cathedral and Albrechtsburg Castle. You should definitely plan more time for both places after the guided tour. There is much to discover here. If you can make it in time, you should definitely take part in the guided tour of the cathedral tower. The ascent is spectacular. Plan a little more time for the visit to Albrechtsburg Castle. I was thrilled not only by the history of the castle, but also by the tour with the HistoPad.
The guided city tour of Meißen is the ideal introduction when visiting the city. The tour was fun and we got to see a lot of things we might otherwise have passed by.
We took part in the city tour of Meißen in cooperation with the Tourist.Information of the city of Meißen.
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