Meissen
Overview
 
Meissen is a town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 of approximately 30,000 about 25 km (15.5 mi) northwest of Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 on both banks of the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 river in the Free State of Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, in eastern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Meissen is the home of Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

, the Albrechtsburg
Albrechtsburg
The Albrechtsburg is a Late Gothic castle that dominates the town centre of Meissen in the German state of Saxony.-History:By 929 King Henry I of Germany had finally subdued the Slavic Glomacze tribe and built a fortress within their settlement area, situated on a rock high above the Elbe river...

 castle, the Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 Meissen Cathedral and the Meissen Frauenkirche. The Große Kreisstadt
Große Kreisstadt
Große Kreisstadt is a term in the German municipal law. In some German federal states the term is used as a special legal status for district-affiliated cities or towns with additional competences in comparison with other municipalities or towns of the district. The title is based on souvereign...

is the capital of the Meissen district.
Meissen is sometimes known as the "cradle of Saxony". The city grew out of the early Slavic
West Slavs
The West Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking West Slavic languages. They include Poles , Czechs, Slovaks, Lusatian Sorbs and the historical Polabians. The northern or Lechitic group includes, along with Polish, the extinct Polabian and Pomeranian languages...

 settlement of Mis(s)ni, named for the small river Mis(s)na today Meis(s)abach (see Miesbach/Musbach/Mosbach), inhabited by the Glomacze
Glomacze
The Glomacze, also Golomacze or Dolomici - were Polabian Slavs inhabiting areas in the middle Elbe valley. Other West Slavic tribes such as the Milceni settled east of them. About 850 the Bavarian Geographer located their settlement area east of the Sorbs...

 tribe (possibly slavic) and was founded as a German town
German town law
German town law or German municipal concerns concerns town privileges used by many cities, towns, and villages throughout Central and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages.- Town law in Germany :...

 by King Henry the Fowler in 929.
Encyclopedia
Meissen is a town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 of approximately 30,000 about 25 km (15.5 mi) northwest of Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 on both banks of the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 river in the Free State of Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

, in eastern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Meissen is the home of Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

, the Albrechtsburg
Albrechtsburg
The Albrechtsburg is a Late Gothic castle that dominates the town centre of Meissen in the German state of Saxony.-History:By 929 King Henry I of Germany had finally subdued the Slavic Glomacze tribe and built a fortress within their settlement area, situated on a rock high above the Elbe river...

 castle, the Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 Meissen Cathedral and the Meissen Frauenkirche. The Große Kreisstadt
Große Kreisstadt
Große Kreisstadt is a term in the German municipal law. In some German federal states the term is used as a special legal status for district-affiliated cities or towns with additional competences in comparison with other municipalities or towns of the district. The title is based on souvereign...

is the capital of the Meissen district.

History

Meissen is sometimes known as the "cradle of Saxony". The city grew out of the early Slavic
West Slavs
The West Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking West Slavic languages. They include Poles , Czechs, Slovaks, Lusatian Sorbs and the historical Polabians. The northern or Lechitic group includes, along with Polish, the extinct Polabian and Pomeranian languages...

 settlement of Mis(s)ni, named for the small river Mis(s)na today Meis(s)abach (see Miesbach/Musbach/Mosbach), inhabited by the Glomacze
Glomacze
The Glomacze, also Golomacze or Dolomici - were Polabian Slavs inhabiting areas in the middle Elbe valley. Other West Slavic tribes such as the Milceni settled east of them. About 850 the Bavarian Geographer located their settlement area east of the Sorbs...

 tribe (possibly slavic) and was founded as a German town
German town law
German town law or German municipal concerns concerns town privileges used by many cities, towns, and villages throughout Central and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages.- Town law in Germany :...

 by King Henry the Fowler in 929. In 968, the Diocese of Meissen was founded, and Meissen became the episcopal see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 of a bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

. The Catholic bishopric was suppressed in 1581 after the diocese accepted the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 (1559), but re-created in 1921 with its seat first at Bautzen
Bautzen
Bautzen is a hill-top town in eastern Saxony, Germany, and administrative centre of the eponymous district. It is located on the Spree River. As of 2008, its population is 41,161...

 and now at the Katholische Hofkirche
Katholische Hofkirche
The Katholische Hofkirche is a Roman Catholic Cathedral, located in the 'Altstadt' in the heart of Dresden, in Germany. Previously the most important Catholic parish church of the city, it was elevated to cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen in 1964.-Overview:The Hofkirche...

 in Dresden. Meissen is the literal plural form of the modern english word "moss" - translating literally as mosses or simply as marsh. Hence Meissner or Meisner - one who works the marsh - porcelain maker.

The Margraviate of Meissen was founded in 968 as well, with the city as the capital of the Margraves of Meissen. A market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 by 1000, Meissen passed to the Kingdom of Poland in 1018 under Boleslaw I the Brave, afterwards into hands of Emperor Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

 in 1032 and the House of Wettin in 1089. The city was at the forefront of the Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung , also called German eastward expansion, was the medieval eastward migration and settlement of Germans from modern day western and central Germany into less-populated regions and countries of eastern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The affected area roughly stretched from Slovenia...

, or intensive German settlement of the rural Slavic lands east of the Elbe, and its reception of city rights
German town law
German town law or German municipal concerns concerns town privileges used by many cities, towns, and villages throughout Central and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages.- Town law in Germany :...

 dates to 1332.

The construction of Meissen Cathedral was begun in 1260 on the same hill as the Albrechtsburg
Albrechtsburg
The Albrechtsburg is a Late Gothic castle that dominates the town centre of Meissen in the German state of Saxony.-History:By 929 King Henry I of Germany had finally subdued the Slavic Glomacze tribe and built a fortress within their settlement area, situated on a rock high above the Elbe river...

 castle. The resulting lack of space led to the cathedral being one of the smallest cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The church is also known as being one of the most pure examples of Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, a subcamp of Flossenbürg concentration camp
Flossenbürg concentration camp
Konzentrationslager Flossenbürg was a Nazi concentration camp built in May 1938 by the Schutzstaffel Economic-Administrative Main Office at Flossenbürg, in the Oberpfalz region of Bavaria, Germany, near the border with Czechoslovakia. Until its liberation in April 1945, more than 96,000 prisoners...

 was located in Meissen.

Porcelain

Meissen is famous for the manufacture of porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

, based on extensive local deposits of china clay (kaolin) and potter's clay (potter's earth). Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

 was the first high quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient
The Orient
The Orient means "the East." It is a traditional designation for anything that belongs to the Eastern world or the Far East, in relation to Europe. In English it is a metonym that means various parts of Asia.- Derivation :...

.

The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meissen in 1710, when the Royal Porcelain Factory was opened in the Albrechtsburg. In 1861, it was moved to the Triebisch river valley of Meissen, where the porcelain factory can still be found today. Along with porcelain, other ceramics are also manufactured.

Main sights

The Albrechtsburg
Albrechtsburg
The Albrechtsburg is a Late Gothic castle that dominates the town centre of Meissen in the German state of Saxony.-History:By 929 King Henry I of Germany had finally subdued the Slavic Glomacze tribe and built a fortress within their settlement area, situated on a rock high above the Elbe river...

, the former residence of the House of Wettin, is regarded as being the first castle to be used as a royal residence in the German-speaking world. Built between 1472 and 1525, it is a fine example of late Gothic style. It was redecorated in the 19th century with a range of murals depicting Saxon history. Today the castle is a museum. Nearby is the 13th-century Gothic Meissen Cathedral (Meißner Dom), whose chapel is one of the most famous burial places of the Wettin family. The hill on which the castle and the cathedral are built offers a view over the roofs of the old town.

Meissen's historical district is located mostly around the market at the foot of the castle hill. It contains many buildings of Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

. Also imposing is the view from the 57 metre high tower of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), situated in the old market-place. This church, not to be confused with the Dresden Frauenkirche
Dresden Frauenkirche
The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, eastern Germany.Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II. It has been reconstructed as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies...

, was first mentioned in a 1205 deed issued by Bishop Dietrich II and after a blaze about 1450 rebuilt in the Late Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 style of a hall church
Hall church
A hall church is a church with nave and side aisles of approximately equal height, often united under a single immense roof. The term was first coined in the mid-19th century by the pioneering German art historian Wilhelm Lübke....

. Its tower hosts the world's first porcelain carillon, manufactured in 1929 on the occasion of the town's 1000-years-jubilee. Another popular tourist sight is the world-famous Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

 factory.

From spring to autumn, several festivals take place in Meissen, such as the pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 market or the Weinfest, which celebrates the wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 harvest. Meissen wine is produced at the vineyard
Vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s in the river valley (Elbtal) around the town, part of the Saxonian wine region
Saxony (wine region)
Saxony is a region for quality wine in Germany located in the German federal state of Saxony. The region is sometimes referred to colloquially as the Elbtal . The wine region covers , which makes it Germany's third smallest region, just ahead of Mittelrhein and Hessische Bergstraße in size...

, one of the northernmost in Europe.

Notable residents

  • Saint Benno
    Benno
    Saint Benno of Meissen was a Bishop of Meissen in Germany. Little is known of Benno's early life. It is unlikely that he was the scion of a Saxon noble family, the Woldenburgs.It is also unlikely that in his youth he entered and was educated at the monastery of St...

    , Bishop of Meissen, born about 1010 in Hildesheim
    Hildesheim
    Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located in the district of Hildesheim, about 30 km southeast of Hanover on the banks of the Innerste river, which is a small tributary of the Leine river...

    , died June 16, 1106
  • Heinrich Frauenlob
    Heinrich Frauenlob
    Heinrich Frauenlob , sometimes known as Henry of Meissen , was a Middle High German poet and minnesinger. The nickname Frauenlob means "praise of women" or "praise of Our Lady".-Biography:He was born in Meissen. He had great musical talents, and he held court positions in Prague...

    , poet, born 1250/60, died November 29, 1318 in Mainz
    Mainz
    Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

  • Johann Klaj
    Johann Klaj
    Johann Klaj , German poet, was born at Meissen in Saxony.After studying theology at Wittenberg he went to Nuremberg as a "candidate for holy orders," and there, in conjunction with Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, founded in 1644 the literary society known as the Pegnitz order.In 1647 he received an...

    , poet, born 1616, died February 16, 1656 in Kitzingen
    Kitzingen
    Kitzingen is a town in the German state of Bavaria, capital of the district Kitzingen. It is part of Franconia geographical region and has around 21,000 inhabitants.Surrounded by vineyards, Kitzingen County is the largest wine producer in Bavaria...

  • Johann Elias Schlegel
    Johann Elias Schlegel
    Johann Elias Schlegel , was a German critic and dramatic poet.-Life:He was educated at Schulpforta and at the University of Leipzig, where he studied law. In 1743 he became private secretary to his relative, von Spener, the Saxon ambassador at the Danish court...

     (1719–1749), critic and poet
  • Johann Adolf Schlegel
    Johann Adolf Schlegel
    Johann Adolf Schlegel was a German poet and clergyman.He was born in Meißen, Saxony, and was the brother of Johann Elias Schlegel. After finishing his studies in Leipzig, he became a deacon and teacher at Pforta in 1751. In 1754, he became a pastor and professor in Zerbst, before moving to become...

     (1721–1793), poet and clergyman
  • Samuel Hahnemann
    Samuel Hahnemann
    Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann was a German physician, known for creating an alternative form of medicine called homeopathy.- Early life :Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann was born in Meissen, Saxony near Dresden...

     (1755–1843), physician
  • Karl G. Maeser
    Karl G. Maeser
    -Brigham Young Academy:When Maeser arrived at Brigham Young Academy in 1876 it was dying. Enrollment had declined since Warren N. Dusenberry had started the school a few months before. There were only 29 students at the time of Maeser's arrival....

     (1828–1901), Mormon academic
  • Hans Philipp
    Hans Philipp
    Lieutenant Colonel Hans Philipp was a German World War II fighter ace who served in the Luftwaffe from 1936 until he was killed in action 8 October 1943 by a P-47 Thunderbolt-pilot. It is believed that he was shot down by Robert S. Johnson...

     (1917–1943), combat pilot
  • Ralf Schumann
    Ralf Schumann
    Ralf Schumann is a German 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol shooter. He is a three-time Olympic Champion and twice World Champion....

     (born 1962), Olympic shooter

Sister cities

Meissen is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Vitry Sur Seine, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, since 1973 Arita
Arita, Saga
is a town located in Nishimatsuura District, Saga, Japan. It is known for producing Arita porcelain, one of the traditional handicrafts of Japan. It also holds the largest ceramic fair in Western Japan, the Arita Ceramic Fair...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, since 1979 Corfu City, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, since 1996 Provo
Provo, Utah
Provo is the third largest city in the U.S. state of Utah, located about south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Provo is the county seat of Utah County and lies between the cities of Orem to the north and Springville to the south...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, USA, since 2001

External links

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