Kamenz — Archaic Gems, Literary Greats, Infamous Kidnapper

Kamenz is a quiet town in East Germany, so you don’t expect it to be home to quite so many interesting tidbits of culture.

Naturally, not all of the pieces are of equal value, but nearly everything here is appealing to some one. This makes the town a good stopover for individual as well as group travelers.

If you start with just what meets the eye, you will have plenty to see. The market square is an eye-catching rectangular space good for people watching and small markets. You’ll take in the red town hall, the old church spires, and a bustling collection of small shops.

Beneath the surface are the medieval roots of the town, and you have to investigate a bit further to see the old medieval tower and the former pathways. There are small markers and walking tours to help. It is quite worth it to unearth these old diamonds, however, so do take the time!

If you come during Lessing Days in January/February, however, you won’t be able to see anything but items related to the literary life and works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Born in Kamenz, he grew up to be a well-known author and dramatist of the Enlightenment era, with his name all over museums, libraries and sculptures across Germany. You can see his museum here and also take in his plays at the open air auditorium.

Outside of town, there are a number of newly renovated bike and walking trails. If you are feeling like a bit of dark fun, you can play cops and kidnappers here in the woods.

The infamous kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby, Bruno Hauptmann, grew up here, also playing in these woods. However, since he also burglarized a number of local homes before running away to America, you won’t be able to get much out of the locals about him!

All the same, he may be the only dark secret of Kamenz.

The rest of the town is open and sunny, with a festive disposition. You may want to schedule a trip for Whitsunday, when there is a punk rock festival, or in August for the Forest Days, to see this for yourself.

 

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