Gorlitz Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsGörlitz (Sorbian Zhorjelc) lies on the river Neisse, exactly on the 15th degree of eastern longitude. It owes its present importance to the two important frontier crossings into Poland over the Neisse and to its industries (manufacture of goods wagons, engineering, electronic and optical apparatus).
The streets and buildings around the Postplatz, in Görlitz's modern town center, date mainly from the late 19th C. The only medieval building is the Late Gothic Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady; 1459-86).
Near the Warenhaus (department store) in Görlitz stands the Dicker Turm (before 1305), with the town coat of arms carved in sandstone (1477). To the left is the Annenkapelle (St Anne's Chapel; 1508-12), with a series of Late Gothic statues.
To the north of the Dicker Turm in Görlitz's Demianiplatz, is the Kaisertrutz, a massive round tower (1490), now housing a section of the Municipal Museum on the history of the town. Nearby is the handsome Reichenbacher Turm (before 1376; upper part 1485, Baroque roof 1782), with the arms of the Lusatian League of Six Cities, of which Görlitz was a member. In this tower is another section of the Museum.
To the east of the two towers in Görlitz lies the old Obermarkt. On the north side of the square (No. 29) is a Baroque house of 1718 with a riot of sculptural decoration on its colossal pilasters.
On the south side of the Obermarkt in Görlitz stands the Trinity Church (choir 1371-81, nave 15th C.). Notable among its Late Gothic furnishings are the monks' stalls (1484), an "Entombment" (1492), a figure of Christ resting (c. 1500), an altar with the "Golden Virgin" (c. 1511) and a High Baroque reredos.Brüderstrasse, which leaves the west corner of the Obermarkt, is lined with handsome Renaissance and Baroque buildings.
On the right-hand side of Brüderstrasse (No. 8) in Görlitz, projecting slightly into the street, is the Schönhof, with a corner oriel richly articulated by pilasters, which is believed to be the oldest burgher's house in Germany (by W. Roskopf the Elder, 1526).
The Untermarkt, which was the heart of medieval Görlitz, is surrounded by Late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings. Several of the houses (Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 22) preserve interiors characteristic of great merchants' houses during the town's economic heyday between 1480 and 1547. On the east side of the square are the Late Gothic Lange Lauben (Long Arcades), once the shops of cloth merchants, and a Baroque house, the Brauner Hirsch. On the north side is the old Ratsapotheke (Municipal Pharmacy; 1550), with a double sundial. Also on the north side is a house at No. 22 with a Late Gothic doorway known as the "Whispering Arch" (Flüsterbogen) and a Renaissance house of 1536 at No. 23.
On the west side of the Untermarkt in Görlitz is the Town Hall (Rathaus), built in several phases. The most recent extension is the New Town Hall (1902-03). The oldest part is at the south end (before 1378), with W. Roskopf's famous external staircase (Justice Column, 1591; coat of arms, 1488, of King Matthias Corvinus, who for a time held Lusatia) and the tower, with two historic old clocks (1584). The Untermarkt is divided into a northern and a southern half by a range of Renaissance and Baroque buildings known as the Zeile occupying the site of the original 13th century town hall.
The Baroque House in Görlitz houses a collection of art work from the 16th through the 19th C., glass and engravings from the 16th to 20th C. and scientific displays from the 18th C.
Municipal Art Collections
There are a number of notable buildings in the old streets to the east of Görlitz's Untermarkt. At Nei`strasse 30 is a building with a magnificent Baroque doorway (1726-29) which now houses the Municipal Art Collections. At Nei`strasse 29 is the "Biblical House" (1570), with reliefs of Old and New Testament scenes, one of the finest examples of German Renaissance architecture.The most interesting Early Renaissance house in Görlitz is at Peterstrasse 8 (by W. Roskopf the Elder, 1528).
Parish Church of SS. Peter and Paul
In the northeast of the old town can be found the most imposing medieval building in Görlitz, the parish church of SS. Peter and Paul (1423-97), the Late Gothic successor to a Late Romanesque basilica of around 1230. It has Renaissance porches on the side doorways and two neo-Gothic towers (1889-91). St George's Crypt ranks as the finest Late Gothic interior in Upper Lusatia.
Near the parish church are the fortress-like Waidhaus or Renthaus, Görlitz's oldest secular building, and the compact Vogtshof (now occupied by a boarding school) on the steep slope down to the river Neisse, built in the early 19th C. on the site of an old castle.
To the north of Görlitz's old town, beyond the Nikolaiturm (St Nicholas's Tower; before 1348) is the Nikolaivorstadt, the site of the earliest settlement, with the Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas's Church; present building 1452-1520) and its churchyard, the Nikolaifriedhof (many Baroque monuments, including the tomb of the philosopher Jacob Böhme).
In the west of the Nikolaivorstadt in Görlitz is the Heiliges Grab (Holy Sepulcher; 1481-1504), a copy of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, with representations of the scenes of Christ's Passion.