Saxon Switzerland Attractions Sächsische Schweiz
Situation and characteristicsThe name of "Saxon Switzerland" has been given since the Romantic period to an area of some 360sq.km/140sq.mi in the German part of the Elbe Sandstone Hills, the rest of which is in the Czech Republic. It is an upland region lying at an average height of 400m/1,300ft, much broken up and carved into bizarre rocky landscapes by the Elbe and its tributaries, between the Lusatian Fault in the north, the Eastern Erzgebirge (Gottleuba valley) in the west and the frontier with the Czech Republic in the south.
In the course of time, the present varied landscape forms have developed: the canyon-like Elbe valley and the narrow valleys of its tributaries; the tracts of relatively level ground lying 100-120m/330-390ft above the Elbe valley with their covering of gravel and silt, now under cultivation; the tabular hills with steep rock walls (Lilienstein, 415m/1,361ft; Pfaffenstein, 429m/1,408ft; Königstein, 361m/1,184ft; Grosser Zschirnstein, 561m/1,841ft)), remnants of a once continuous sandstone plateau; rocky areas such as the Bastei (305m/1,001ft) and the Schrammsteine (386-417m/1,266-1,368ft) - labyrinths of stone, with rock buttresses, battlements and pinnacles, gorges and defiles. Tertiary basalts are found only at a few places, for example on the Grosser Winterberg (552m/1,811ft).For many centuries this area was mainly a source of sandstone, used as building material in towns lower down the Elbe. Although Bad Schandau was frequented as a spa from around 1730, it was only in the early 19th C. with its romantic quest for the beauty of nature that the area was "discovered" and given the name of Saxon Switzerland. There is now an excellent network of waymarked paths and trails leading to the principal sights and natural beauties; and this is also a popular area with climbers.Much of the Saxon Switzerland has recently been designated as a National Park.
Bad Schandau, Germany
Situation and characteristicsBad Schandau lies at the junction of the Kirnitsch with the Elbe, on the railroad and road between Dresden and Prague (frontier crossing in Schmilka district). It is the largest holiday resort and spa in the Saxon Switzerland.
In the Marktplatz (No. 12) in Bad Schandau is the Brauhof, a Renaissance building with a beautiful doorway of 1680 and an octagonal stair tower on the courtyard side.
St John's Church
St John's Church in Bad Schandau, originally Late Gothic, was much altered in the 17th and 18th centuries; the interior was remodeled in 1876. Pulpit hewn from a single block of sandstone; altar of 1572 by H. Walter.
The Heimatmuseum is at Badallee 10 in Bad Schandau (geology of the region, development of shipping on the Elbe and the tourist trade).
In the districts of Ostrau (reached by 50m/165ft lift) and Postelwitz in Bad Schandau are old half-timbered houses and houses of the Saxon umgebinde type (with external beams supporting the upper story and roof).
Bad Schandau-Dresden Scenic Rail Trip
This scenic rail trip features beautiful mountains and views of the Elbe River.