Experience Görlitz

Town history

Town history

Görlitz is first recorded back in 1071. The city grew at the intersection of Europe's oldest and most important trade routes, the Via Regia which connected Kiev to Santiago de Compostela, and the Salt Road which linked Prague to the Baltic Sea. Over the centuries, Görlitz became an influential centre of trade and science.

A visit to Görlitz will turn you into a time traveller on the spot. Within a few hundred metres, you will pass treasures from more than half a millennium of European architectural history - all yours to discover.

With its late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and art nouveau buildings, Görlitz is considered an integrated architectural work of art, and fortunately, the city was not destroyed during the Second World War. In particular the buildings in the historic city centre never fail to fascinate with the richly decorated fasades, artful arches and frescoed ceilings from different epochs. Nowhere in Germany will you find such a density of lavishly restored listed buildings as in the city on the River Neisse.

Chronology of Görlitz's history

1071
first mentioned in historical records

1303
awarded town privileges

1346
foundation of the Lusatian City League along with the cities of Bautzen, Kamenz, Lauban, Löbau, Zittau

1526
construction of the Schönhof, the oldest civilian Renaissance building in Germany

1547
forfeiture of all privileges to customs and tolls as a result of the Lusatian Penalty ("Pönfall") for alleged disobedience to the king

1525, 1691, 1717
devastating fires destroy much of the city

1575-1624
Jacob Böhme, cobbler and famous theosophist lives and works in Görlitz

1815
the "Congress of Vienna" assigns the city to the Prussian province of Silesia

1847
Mayor Demiani ushers in a new era of urban development, the city walls are torn down and the city is linked to the railway network

1849
C. Lüders lays the foundations for carriage construction in Görlitz

1871
foundation of the German Reich, the Gründerzeit (roughly: Wilhelminian) period begins

1945
the city is divided into the Polish Zgorzelec and the German Görlitz

1989
following the political uprising in Germany which leads to reunification, most of the historic city centre is restored

1998
proclamation of the European City of Görlitz-Zgorzelec

2008
Görlitz is named Major District Town

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