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Coordinates: 51°10′N 13°29′E / 51.167°N 13.483°E / 51.167; 13.483
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Albrechtsburg and Cathedral
Albrechtsburg and Cathedral
Coat of arms of Meissen
Location of Meissen within Meißen district
CoswigDiera-ZehrenEbersbachGlaubitzGröditzGroßenhainHirschsteinKäbschütztalKlipphausenLampertswaldeLommatzschMeissenMoritzburgGröditzNiederauNossenNünchritzPriestewitzRadebeulRadeburgRiesaRöderaueSchönfeldStauchitzStrehlaThiendorfWeinböhlaWülknitzZeithainSaxonyDresdenBautzen (district)Sächsische Schweiz-OsterzgebirgeMittelsachsenNordsachsenBrandenburg
Meissen is located in Germany
Meissen is located in Saxony
Coordinates: 51°10′N 13°29′E / 51.167°N 13.483°E / 51.167; 13.483
Subdivisions12 Stadtteile/Stadtbezirke
 • Mayor (2018–25) Olaf Raschke[1] (CDU)
 • Total30.90 km2 (11.93 sq mi)
106 m (348 ft)
 • Total29,011
 • Density940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03521
Vehicle registrationMEI, GRH, RG, RIE

Meissen (in German orthography: Meißen, IPA: [ˈmaɪsn̩]), is a town of approximately 30,000 about 25 km (16 mi) northwest of Dresden on both banks of the Elbe river in the Free State of Saxony, in eastern Germany. Meissen is the home of Meissen porcelain, the Albrechtsburg castle, the Gothic Meissen Cathedral and the Meissen Frauenkirche. The Große Kreisstadt is the capital of the Meissen district.


Historical affiliations

Margraviate of Meissen 968–1002
Duchy of Poland 1002
Margraviate of Meissen 1002–1423
 Electorate of Saxony 1423–1806
 Kingdom of Saxony 1806–1871
 German Empire 1871–1918
 Weimar Republic 1918–1933
 Nazi Germany 1933–1945
 Allied-occupied Germany 1945–1949
 East Germany 1949–1990
 Germany 1990–present

It grew out of the early West Slavic settlement of Miśni inhabited by Glomatians and was founded as a German town by King Henry the Fowler in 929.[3] In 968, the Diocese of Meissen was founded, and Meissen became the episcopal see of a bishop. The Catholic bishopric was suppressed in 1581 after the diocese accepted the Protestant Reformation (1559), but re-created in 1921 with its seat first at Bautzen and now at the Katholische Hofkirche in Dresden.

In 965, the Margraviate of Meissen, a frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, was founded, with Meissen as its capital. A market town by 1000, Meissen passed to the Duchy of Poland in 1002 under Boleslaw I the Brave, afterwards into hands of Henry II a few months later and to the House of Wettin in 1089. In 1015, Meissen was besieged by the Poles led by future King Mieszko II.

In 1241, the town was attacked in the Mongol raid on Meissen. The small Mongol force under Orda Khan defeated Meissens's defenders and much of the town was destroyed. The Mongols withdrew from Germany after the death of Ögedei Khan, sparing the region from further destruction.

The town was at the forefront of the Ostsiedlung, or intensive German settlement of the rural Slavic lands east of the Elbe, and its reception of town rights dates to 1332.

The construction of Meissen Cathedral was begun in 1260 on the same hill as the Albrechtsburg castle. The resulting lack of space led to the cathedral being one of the smallest cathedrals in Europe. The church is also known as being one of the purest examples of Gothic architecture.

In 1423, Meissen became capital of the Electorate of Saxony. In 1464, the capital was moved to Dresden.

In 1759, the Austrians defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Meissen.

During World War II, a subcamp of Flossenbürg concentration camp was located in Meissen.[4]

Meissen served as an important place of religious dialogue in 1988 when the agreement on mutual recognition between the German Evangelical Church (both East and West German) and the Church of England was signed in the town.


Porcelain bells at the Frauenkirche

Meissen is famous for the manufacture of porcelain, based on extensive local deposits of china clay (kaolin) and potter's clay (potter's earth). Meissen porcelain was the first high-quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient.

The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meissen in 1710, when by decree of King Augustus II the Strong the Royal-Polish and Electoral-Saxon Porcelain Factory (Königlich-Polnische und Kurfürstlich-Sächsische Porzellan-Manufaktur)[5] 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 in the town. In the old town streets, there have been set up numerous porcelain stores, often selling antique Meissen porcelain and sometimes offering repair of broken porcelain. In Meissen and the surrounding area, several former painters from the manufacturer have set up porcelain painting workshops and galleries with their own pieces of porcelain art.

Main sights[edit]

Hohlweg from the bridge to Meissen Castle

The Albrechtsburg, 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.[6] 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. 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, was first mentioned in a 1205 deed issued by Bishop Dietrich II and after a blaze about 1450 rebuilt in the Late Gothic style of a hall church. 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 factory.

From spring to autumn, several festivals take place in Meissen, such as the pottery market or the Weinfest, which celebrates the wine harvest. Meissen wine is produced at the vineyards in the river valley (Elbtal) around the town, part of the Saxonian wine region, one of the northernmost in Europe.

Educational institutions[edit]

Meissen is the home of the Saxon public elite college Sächsisches Landesgymnasium Sankt Afra zu Meißen.

Also the Saxon Civil Servants Academy and the Academy of the Evangelical Church of Saxony are located in the town.


Meissen Speedway Stadium is located on the eastern side of the town, on the Zaschendorfer Straße.[7] The stadium was the venue for a round of the Speedway World Team Cup in 1965[8] and multiple qualifying rounds of the Speedway World Championship (the first in 1966).[9][10]

Notable people[edit]

Polish-Saxon post milestone

Worked in the town[edit]


Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Roofscape of Meissen's old town

Meissen is twinned with:[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bürgermeisterwahlen 2018, Freistaat Sachsen, accessed 10 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Einwohnerzahlen nach Gemeinden als Excel-Arbeitsmappe" (XLS) (in German). Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen. 2024.
  3. ^ Bachrach, David (1 August 2013). "Henry I of Germany's 929 military campaign in archaeological perspective". Early Medieval Europe. 21 (3). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell: 327. doi:10.1111/emed.12020. S2CID 161201353.
  4. ^ Christine O'Keefe. Concentration Camps. tartanplace.com
  5. ^ "Starcookers ǀ Meißner Porzellan - Foodmagazin". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  6. ^ "History". Albrechtsburg Meissen Website. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Speedway Meißen - Motorsport mit Kultfaktor". Stadt Meissen. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  8. ^ "1965 Speedway World Cup". International Speedway. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  9. ^ "1966 World Championship". Metal Speedway. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  10. ^ "1966 World Championship". Speedway.org. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  11. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften". stadt-meissen.de (in German). Meissen. Retrieved 2021-02-23.

External links[edit]