If you visit Görlitz for the first time, you will be overwhelmed by its architectural variety: 4 000 largely restored monuments from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau and Gründerzeit periods; there are numerous magnificent testimonies representing the beauty of the city on the river Neiße and more than 500 years of European architectural history of superlatives. From the splendour of the medieval weavers‘ houses on the Untermarkt and the baroque buildings of the Obermarkt square to the closed Wilhelminian district: the rich history of the city in the German-Czech-Polish border triangle is omnipresent.
Görlitz was built in 1071 at the intersection of two major European trade routes. One of them was the Via Regia trade route that led from Kiev to Santiago de Compostela. Thanks to this route trade and science flourished in Görlitz. Above all, it brought great wealth to the weavers of which the splendid hall houses still bear witness today.
Under the title „The Görlitz hall houses on the Via Regia“ 30 of these unique monuments have been summarised for the application for the UNESCO World Heritage status. The Görlitz hall houses are a mixture of residential, commercial and representative buildings. In their several storeys high Gothic style vaults similar to staircases the weavers used to hang out their fine fabrics. The imposing cross vaults, which extend across the entire width of the entrance halls, provided enough space for entire horse-drawn vehicles.
Since its founding, Görlitz has been a city for many centuries, before it was divided into German Görlitz and Polish Zgorzelec after the Second World War. Today, both towns approach each other again and are model examples of cross-border togetherness at various levels and represent how people of two different nations can overcome boundaries. In 1998, Görlitz and Zgorzelec proclaimed themselves as the European City - the current year with special celebrations is fully in line with the 20th anniversary of this event.
Not only visitors, but also regularly national and international film producers are fascinated by Görlitz, which was honoured in 2017 as the "Best European Film Location of the Decade". Among other things, the Oscar-winning film "The Reader" with Kate Winslet was produced in Görlitz, as well as Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" and not least "The Grand Budapest Hotel" by Wes Anderson.
Furthermore, Germany's easternmost city is well-known for the real fairytale of the „Old Town Million“. An unknown benefactor donated to the city of Görlitz from 1995 to 2016 annually one million DM (later 511,500 euros) for the preservation of cultural monuments in Görlitz. The Old Town Million has made an important contribution to Görlitz being able to present itself to its inhabitants and guests - and also to you - in its revived beauty.
Let yourself be inspired!
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