Occupying a favorable position on the Lower Elbe River, the pretty town of Wittenberge was founded in the 13th century by the Saxon King Otto I.
You won’t see much of that original settlement today, but the 17th century castle — Alte Burg — does still survive, despite the best efforts of fire and floods. Today it stands proudly overlooking the river, and is home to the town’s museum.
In there you’ll learn that the town grew rapidly in the 1800’s, partly due to the river traffic, but also because of the early railway links that encouraged industry. Silk, food, and milling factories appeared, as well as the famous Singer Sewing Machine works. Sadly, most were wiped out during World War Two.
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For you as a visitor, though, it means the main center is now much more relaxing. You can wander comfortably through the older parts of the town, and along the peaceful riverside paths, enjoying the serenity. The river landscape is wide and green, with the calmness hiding the fact that it is actually deceptively busy.
You have plenty of opportunity for activities here though. Sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, waterskiing, and even river cruises are all on hand to occupy your time. Away from the water, there are miles of clearly marked walking and cycling routes to explore. It’s a largely flat region, so it won’t tax the muscles too much!
In the town itself, you can’t help but notice that the skyline is dominated by towers of every shape and size. If the huge clock tower looks a little unusual, its because it started life as the water tower of the Singer Sewing Machine Works. It now boasts the largest clock faces on mainland Europe.
Nearby, the ornate spire of the impressive Evangelical Church stands proud, and the hexagonal tower of the Rathaus will also have you reaching for your camera.
Wittenberge is a town littered with fine buildings, and not all of them are particularly old. The Steintor, and the House of Four Seasons are both deserving of a visit.