Do I have a word for you! Wikow. I know you’re looking at me like that’s supposed to mean something. So, I won’t keep you in suspense; it’s the Lower Sorbian name for the town of Elsterwerda.
No, I do not make this stuff up.
Lower Sorbian is an old Slavic language that’s (somewhat) widely spoken in the areas of Lower Lusatia; which just so happens to be the former Kingdom of Prussia.
Actually, Elsterwerda dates back to before there was even a Prussa, since people lived here back in the Bronze Age days.
But, since Germany’s reunification things have started to look up in Elsterwerda. The town works in conjunction with the nearby spa town of Bad Liebenwerda, although it does have many sites and cultural activities of its own.
For the artsy folks you’ll want to check out the Elbe-Elster Hall, which is the center for theater performances, concerts, and art exhibitions. Then you’ll want to see the Gallery Hans Nadler (once a local artist) that’s housed in an early 18th century half-timbered house (one of the few that still remain). Within this old framework house are Nadler’s works as well as those of many local artists.
Another framework house is the Rautenkranz, which used to be a guesthouse from around 1711. It’s one of the oldest buildings in town.
In keeping with art and historic theme, look no further than the Protestant Church of St. Katherina (located near the late 19th century Rathaus). The present church dates to around the 16th century, though it is actually older than that.
We can now go from the inside to the outside. Elsterwerda sits along the Nature Park Lusatia Heath and the Schwarze Elster Bike Route. Perfect for a day of exercise and taking in all the local flora and fauna.
By the way, there are 27 bridges within Elsterwerda, so you’re bound to find one that tickles your fancy for a souvenir snapshot.
Keep cycling around, you’ll find the former Soviet Cemetery; the Schloss Park (oh yeah, did I mention there was a castle here?); the City Park (with beautiful sculptures); and see the early 15th century fountain in the Marktplatz.
Once a month (from April to November) on the Marktplatz is the Green Market, and December is where the Christmas Market is held. Oh, and the annual Spring Festival as well.
I forgot to ask what the Lower Sorbian word for fantastic is. When I find out, I’ll let you know. ;-)