Meerane was once home to Horing & Co., an East German carriage and car company. It also, according to weather records, receives more sunshine than any other place in all of Germany. Here’s a town that celebrates freedom fighters, loves music, and yet maintains a well preserved medieval history.
For some interesting trivia, head over to the Romantik Hotel Schwanefeld, a really well preserved half timbered building, where the Thuringian and Saxon border runs right through the middle of the hotel!
The best place to start your trip would be at the 18th century Rathaus, the Town Hall housing the local History Museum. You’ll learn why some of the streets names have changed in respect for some famous resistance fighters, Martin Hochmuth, Gustav Schaller, and Rudolf Hallmeyer.
Don’t be fooled by what is called the Steep Wall. It’s actually a street but quite a steep grade up the “mountain route.” The name was coined by visiting reporter in the 1950’s.
For even older history there’s the St. Martin Church, built sometime in the early 14th century, with the Gothic Choir dating to 1503.
Grab a tour guide and go down under to the Höhler to explore the underground caves and caverns. Dating back to at least the 14th century, these underground tunnels stored food (and beer!) for residents at a constant temperature. These caverns helped the residents of Meerane survive medieval fires and even the air raids of the Second World War.
Not too soon after the fall of East Germany, the town opened its Art Museum in 1991. It’s here that you find plenty of lovely artwork and everything from jazz to classical music concerts. Meerane also prides itself on its 2-day music festival that somehow gets the entire town jammin’! ;-)
It’s no wonder the town loves music… This is where no other than Johann Sebastian Bach played while at Altenberg Castle. The castle itself is a 1,000 year old wonder and shouldn’t be missed. The Hausmannsturm (House Man’s Tower) dates from the 12th century and stands some 32 meters high. There had been major additions to the original castle through the centuries, like the chapel that was added in 1404.
The castle today plays host to Altenberg Summers. A summer cultural arts program filled with gospel choirs, lectures, and even Tibetan Nuns with their wonderful sand art.
All in all, there are not too many foreign visitors to this region in Saxony which means you’ll mostly have this special town all to yourself!