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Bautzen (Sorbian Budyšin) is a thousand-year-old city in Upper Lusatia and is considered the capital of the Sorbs. It has a very well-preserved or restored old town including a pub scene. In addition, Bautzen is known nationwide for its mustard and as the location of the "Stasi prison" Bautzen II.

Bautzen, originally a Slavic settlement of Budissin, appears as a fortified city as early as 1004, when it was conquered by King Heinrich II. The reputation of a relic, an arm of St. Peter, contributed to its elevation. Here the peace between the Polish Duke Boleslaw and Emperor Heinrich II was concluded in 1018 and the contract between Charles IV and Ludwig von Brandenburg in 1350, whereby Ludwig renounced his claims to Lower Lusatia, but Brandenburg was guaranteed. Bautzen suffered a lot in the Hussite War, but in 1431 repelled a storm. During the Thirty Years' War, Elector Georg took it in 1620 after a four-week siege; In 1633 it was conquered by Wallenstein, and on May 4, 1634, the imperial Colonel v. Goltz down before he surrendered. In 1813 Bautzen became famous through the battle of May 20th and 21st, in which Napoleon's armies fought against the allies Russia and Prussia.



Place name
Bautzen was first mentioned in 1002 as civitas Budusin, the main town of the Sorbian tribe of the Milzener. There are several interpretations of this name. Some scientists assume the designation “Bud”, “Bod” or “Budetzsch” means “Grenzort”. Another common variant says that the settlement was named after the Slavic prince Budissentius (or Budestaus), who is said to have founded it in the 9th century. The name could also be derived from the female personal name Budiša (for "the alarm clock") or from "Budy" ("hut settlement"). A Bautzen legend, on the other hand, reports that a traveling pregnant duchess stopped at the place where Bautzen is today and surprisingly gave birth to her child. The husband rushing up is said to have asked: “Bude syn?” (“Will it be a son?”).

Up into the 15th century, the following variants of the Sorbian term Budissin can be found almost exclusively in written documents: Bawdysen, Baudyssen, Paudescheyn, Baudissyn, Budessen, Baudissin, Bauwdiczen, Buditcynn and Bawdycyn. Even today this name lives on in the Sorbian (Budyšin; Lower Sorbian Budyšyn), Czech (Budyšín) and Polish (Budziszyn audio file / audio sample pronunciation? / I) names for Bautzen.

From the middle of the 15th century Germanized variants were used more frequently, namely Bucen (1450), Boytzen (1512), Pautzen (1519) and Bautzen for the first time in 1523. The names Budissin and Bautzen were used in parallel by the population until well into the 19th century, with only Budissin being used officially. On June 3, 1868, Bautzen became the city's official name through a Saxon ministerial ordinance.

In the Upper Lusatian dialect, which is not spoken in Bautzen itself, the city name is Bautzn, formerly Budisse.

The name Bautzen was also given to an asteroid in honor of the city. In addition, on June 2, 2004 in Dresden-Neustadt an Intercity-Express was christened Bautzen / Budyšin.

Prehistory and the Early Middle Ages
The area of ​​today's city was settled in the Stone Age. For example, prehistoric remains were found in the Burk district in the northeast and near Niedergurig. In the 3rd century there was an East Germanic settlement here. For the year 1002 the Ortenburg in Bautzen was named for the first time as budusin civitatem by Thietmar von Merseburg as the central place of Upper Lusatia and the tribal center of the Milzener. After repeated battles, it fell to the Polish prince Bolesław Chrobry that year and remained in Polish hands until 1031. In 1018 the peace treaty between the Holy Roman Empire and Poland was signed at the Ortenburg (Peace of Bautzen). In the period that followed, the city of Bautzen developed east of the castle, benefiting significantly from its location at the Spree crossing of the Via Regia, an important transport link between the Rhine and Silesia, and also being on the Frankenstrasse. In 1031 Bautzen came back to the Holy Roman Empire. King Heinrich IV gave the state of Bautzen in 1081 after his victory over the Saxons as an imperial fiefdom to Duke Vratislav II of Bohemia, who gave it as a dowry to Wiprecht von Groitzsch, who married his daughter. When Wiprecht's son Heinrich von Groitzsch died childless in 1135, Bautzen fell back to the Bohemian king. From 1143 to 1156 the area was under the Wettin margrave Conrad I of Meissen. Between 1158 and 1243, the Bohemian kings ruled the country again as a subsidiary of the crown. Land Budissin was the name of Upper Lusatia until the 15th century. Bautzen received city rights by 1213 at the latest (some researchers speak of 1157, presumably the gradual granting of various (city) rights), and in 1240 the Franciscan monastery was founded. After the wedding of the Brandenburg margrave Otto III. With the daughter of the Bohemian King Wenceslaus I in 1243, Upper Lusatia came to the Ascanians as pledge and was converted into a direct imperial fief in 1283. In 1268 the Brandenburg margraves named an old mint of Bautzen, which was supplemented in the same year by a newly founded Görlitz mint, with which it was to be minted alternately every year.

Bautzen under Bohemian rule

In 1320 the Brandenburg line of the Ascanians died out, and Bautzen fell back to Bohemia. In 1326, Johannes de Boudissin was the first mention of the Baudissin ministerial family who were on duty at the castle. In 1346, under the leadership of Bautzen, the Upper Lusatian Six Cities League was founded, which played an important role in the history of the area in the following centuries. In 1405 there was a craftsmen's revolt against the city council of Bautzen, which could only be suppressed by the intervention of the Bohemian King Wenceslaus IV. In 1429 and 1431, Bautzen was besieged by the Hussites without success. The Archangel Michael supposedly saved the citizens, whereupon the Michaeliskirche was built in his honor. Between 1469 and 1490 Bautzen belonged to Hungary together with the other Bohemian neighboring countries, fixed by the Peace of Olomouc in 1479. A relief on the east side of the Matthias Tower still reminds of this today, showing the Hungarian king and the Bohemian counter-king Matthias Corvinus, who was elected by the Catholic estates. After his death, Lusatia came back to the Kingdom of Bohemia. The Ortenburg was under Bohemian rule until 1635 the official seat of the Upper Lusatian bailiff. The Sorbian Citizens' Oath ("Burger Eydt Wendisch"), the oldest written document in Upper Sorbian, dates from the early 16th century. The Reformation prevailed between 1520 and 1525. The collegiate chapter of St. Petri, like the Bohemian sovereign, remained Catholic and had been the Catholic diocese administration for the two Lusatia and the diocese of Meissen since 1567 at the latest. In 1547 Bautzen was hit by the Upper Lusatian Pönfall. In Bautzen, 1599–1604 witch hunts were carried out: three people were involved in witch trials, two women were beheaded. During the Thirty Years' War the city was besieged several times by the troops of Wallenstein, Saxony and Sweden. On May 2, 1634, the imperial colonel von der Goltz, who had captured Bautzen in November, had the remains of the suburbs burned down. The fire also spread to the city, killing 700 residents. In 1635 Bautzen came to Saxony with the Margraviate of Upper Lusatia. In 1638 the first hospital was built as a so-called Neuhaus on today's Behringstrasse.

Bautzen under Saxon rule
In 1678, due to the great importance of the Margraviate of Upper Lusatia, an electoral post office was set up in the city. The rank of Bautzen as the capital of the margravate within Saxony was made clear, among other things, by the location of this electoral upper post office, a privilege that only Leipzig had except Bautzen. On April 22nd, 1709, there was the second big fire in the history of Bautzen, which destroyed large parts of the city and permanently changed the cityscape. It was not until 1780 that the “Voluntary Citizens Fire Compagnie” was founded, which is still one of the oldest in Saxony. During the Wars of Liberation in 1813 the battle of Bautzen (which took place in the municipality of today's Bautzen and neighboring villages to the east; called Bataille de Wurschen at the Arc de Triomphe) between the anti-Napoleonic coalition and the French ended with the victory of the Napoleonic troops. The Sparkasse was founded in December 1832. In 1868 the city was officially renamed from "Budissin" to Bautzen. The construction of the Saxon state penal institution (Bautzen I) was completed in 1904 and operated as intended. The institution is popularly known as “Gelbes Elend” because of the yellow bricks used. Around the same time, the Bautzen II remand prison, which belongs to the district and regional court, was built. Around 1900, the Israelite religious community, which was established around the same time, set up a Jewish cemetery on Muskauer Strasse in front of the city. Their services took place in rented rooms. In 1915, the city of Saxony left the administrative authority of Bautzen and became a district free until it was reintegrated into the Bautzen district in 1946.

1918 to 1945
In 1921 Bautzen became the seat of the bishopric of Meißen.

In the week of Pentecost in 1933, a 1000th anniversary of the membership of Upper Lusatia in the German Reich was celebrated in Bautzen. This celebration was based on Heinrich I's ride in Lower Lusatia around 932. A loose bond with Upper Lusatia is said to have been entered into.


During the Nazi era, many political opponents, socialists and communists, as well as Jehovah's Witnesses were imprisoned in the city. In March 1933, the copper and aluminum, rolling, wire and hammer works C.G.Tietzens Eidamm (copper hammer) in Talstrasse served as a protective custody camp for 500 German and Sorbian opponents of Hitler. The union building in today's Dr.-Maria-Grollmuß-Straße 1 and the house at Äußere Lauenstraße 33 served the same purposes. Ernst Thälmann was imprisoned in Bautzen I in 1943/44 until he was transported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. Numerous political prisoners were also interned in Bautzen II prison, such as the well-known Czech journalist Julius Fučík. In the south of the city - directly on the Spree - there was also a satellite camp of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp, in which 1,000 to 1,500 prisoners, mostly Jews, worked in the armaments production of the wagon construction and machine factory. Busch (Wumag) of the Flick Group performed forced labor. In the interwar period, Bautzen was also the seat of the so-called Wenden department set up for state surveillance of the Sorbian people, which was used for this purpose both in the Weimar Republic and under the National Socialists.

During the Second World War, the city suffered great damage, especially between April 19 and 26, 1945. The domes of the Lauenturm and the Michaeliskirche were destroyed, almost all bridges were blown up, the railway viaduct, however, only after May 4th. There were many fatalities. On April 26, 1945, the last major German tank attack of the Second World War took place in the Battle of Bautzen; the city was recaptured and remained in German hands until the surrender.

History since 1945
With the end of the Second World War, the Bautzen State Penitentiary became one of the special camps of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) of the Soviet occupying power, more precisely: Special camp No. 4 (from the end of 1948: No. 3). Those convicted by the Soviet military court were housed in the buildings, while the so-called “internees”, prisoners without conviction, were housed in wooden barracks outside. With a total occupancy of 27,300 prisoners and an average occupancy of around 6,500 prisoners, at least 3,000 people perished there between 1945 and 1950, according to the registration in the camp cards of the Soviet camp administration. Their names are listed in the Bautzen Book of the Dead published by the Bautzen Memorial. There are estimates that are far higher. According to research by the Bautzen Committee, every third prisoner died in the camp. The prisoners died of starvation and disease due to the conditions in which they were detained. According to eyewitness reports, the dead are said to have been buried on the "Karnickelberg". During search excavations after the political change in 1992, only the skeletal parts of 247 dead were found in the vicinity of the camp. At least 4,000 Bautzen prisoners were deported to Soviet forced labor camps.

During this time, numerous opponents of the regime, for example the writers Walter Kempowski and Erich Loest, were imprisoned in Bautzen prisons. In 1992, Bautzen II was closed. Today the Bautzen Memorial is located here.

Later years
After the war, Bautzen developed into a science and industrial city in the GDR. Among other things, the large companies "VEB Waggonbau Bautzen" (today Bombardier Transportation), the cutting machine factory "Perfecta", a telecommunications plant, a building materials combine, a technical college for mechanical engineering, the Sorbian teacher training institute and the institute for Sorbian folk research as a branch of the Academy of Sciences GDR settled.

The “Internationale Solidarität” cultural center, which existed from 1953 to 1963, was an institution for the cultural and general care of Western deserters.

Until 1990, Bautzen was the location for the Otto Lilienthal Officers College.

The Catholic bishopric was moved to Dresden in 1979. On September 1, 2002, Bautzen celebrated its first mention a thousand years ago with a parade.


During the refugee crisis in 2016, Bautzen attracted nationwide attention through right-wing violence against refugees. At the end of 2015, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Saxony said the Bautzen district was a focus of right-wing extremist activity in Saxony. On February 21, 2016, the former hotel "Husarenhof", which was intended as accommodation for asylum seekers, was set on fire by strangers. Some onlookers expressed "undisguised joy". On the night of September 15, around 80 violent right-wing men and women and a group of around 15 to 20 young asylum seekers met. On December 13, 2016, five Molotov cocktails were thrown on the grounds of an asylum seeker accommodation.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the city was referred to as the “stronghold of conspiracy myths” in winter 2020.



Geographical location
The city on the Spree is located about 50 kilometers east of Dresden at the transition from the Lusatian mountains to the lowlands in the north in the natural area of ​​the Upper Lusatian region. The Bautzen dam, completed in 1974, is located north of the city. The villages of Malsitz (Małsecy) and Nimschütz (Hněwsecy) in the Spree Valley used to be in their place. About eight kilometers south of the city, the Spree emerges from the Lusatian mountainous region between the Drohmberg (Lubin) in the east and the Mönchswalder Berg (Mnišonc) in the west.

Geology and soil
The Lusatian granodiorite forms the basement base in the area of ​​the city of Bautzen. Partly this is near the surface in the area of ​​knolls and hills, in the valley of the Spree it emerges in the form of open rock formations. During the Elster and Saale Ice Age, meltwater sands covered the basement. Gravel and sand therefore occur close to the surface, particularly in the salt forest area. Both Lusatian granodiorite and gravel and sand are used for mining in the city of Bautzen.

The soils in the urban area have mainly developed from the loess loam. Moisture-free loess parabroun earths dominate. The average number of fields is between 50 and 60.

The 219 m above sea level. The highest point of the historic city area is on the meat market between the cathedral and the town hall. This elevation was formerly known as the Irrenberg. The highest elevation of the entire present-day urban area is at 268 m above sea level. NN the Chorberg near the village of Salzenforst. The 163.4 m above sea level. NN lowest point of the urban area is on the Niederkainaer Dorfstraße.

Expansion of the urban area
The old town of Bautzen extends on the rock plateau above the Spree, the top of which is the Ortenburg. It is limited by the city wall. The newer districts built later in the east of the city are enclosed by the city wall. After its demolition, the city initially expanded further to the east and to the other bank of the Spree in the west. West of the Spree, however, is only a small part of the closed urban development. In the 1970s, the new development areas Gesundbrunnen and Allendeviertel (both in the east) were built. Since 1990, several neighboring villages have been incorporated.

Neighboring communities
The city is bordered by Radibor, Großdubrau and Malschwitz in the north, Kubschütz in the east, Großpostwitz, Obergurig and Doberschau-Gaussig in the south and Göda in the west. All neighboring communities belong to the Bautzen district.

City structure
Since 2007, Bautzen has consisted of 25 districts. The actual core city with almost 35,000 inhabitants consists of the districts

Inner City (Nutřkowne město) - The historical town center of Bautzen, delimited by the (former) course of the outer city wall; includes the area of ​​the historic city center (expansion area of ​​the city from the 14th century, largely delimited by the course of the outer city wall still existing in large sections in a razed shape) in the east and south of the actual old town - 5,352 inhabitants
Nordostring (Sewjerowuchodny wobkruh) - Adjoins the old town to the north and east and consists in large parts of town houses from the 19th and early 20th centuries. According to city council resolution No. 192/11/06 of November 29, 2006, the former city center district was combined with areas north of the old town and is the most populous district of Bautzen - 10,505 inhabitants
Gesundbrunnen (Strowotna studnja) - new building area in the northeast of the city from the 1970s. According to city council resolution No. 192/11/06 of November 29, 2006, parts of the area north of the old town of Bautzen, which had previously been part of the Gesundbrunnen district, were spun off and merged with the city center district to form the “Nordostring” district. The Gesundbrunnen district is no longer the most populous in the city - 6,825 inhabitants
Südvorstadt (Južne předměsto) - Connects to the city center south of the Görlitz – Dresden railway line - 1,865 inhabitants
Westvorstadt (Zapadne předměsto) - Represents the part of the actual city west of the Spree; often referred to as "Neustadt"; According to the official structure of the city administration of Bautzen, the historic village of Seidau, immediately north of the city center and Ortenburg on the Spree, belongs to the Westvorstadt - 3,308 inhabitants
Ostvorstadt (Wuchodne předměsto) - adjoins the city center to the south-east and consists mainly of town houses from the 19th and early 20th centuries as well as some settlements from the 1930s, the Strehla (Třělany) settlement and the "Allendeviertel" development area - 5,773 inhabitants



In the area of ​​the city of Bautzen there is a continental inland climate with maritime influences. Typical are cool and humid spring and summer, a long warm autumn and a winter with very frequent but rather short snow periods (just over 50 snow days). With an annual mean temperature of 8.5 ° C and an average annual precipitation of 600 to 650 mm, Bautzen has a moderately dry climate. The urban area is located in the area of ​​the warmest landscapes in summer in southern Saxony.

In the Bautzen Spree Valley, strong winds from the south often prevail, especially in winter. This is because cold air flows from the Bohemian Basin into the Spreetal and accelerates through the narrowing of the valley there. This effect is even more pronounced in certain alleys in the old town. A Bautzen proverb says: “If the wind doesn't know where, it blows over Budissin.” On the other hand, Bautzen was famous for its good air, especially in the Middle Ages, as the wind greatly reduced the classic street smells.

On August 7, 2010, the highest flood in more than 100 years occurred on the Spree and numerous other bodies of water in Bautzen and the surrounding area. The Bautzen dam, located directly downstream of the city, was able to delay the outflow so that the flood at the water level behind it did not reach the level of summer 1981.