The town’s charm comes from its beautiful landscapes, history-steeped towns and villages and committed, creative residents who manage to maintain their ancient traditions and customs while also shaping their future with an attitude of optimism. After the Second World War, the city was divided in two when the border with Poland was drawn along the course of the Neiße. Since German reunification and as Europe has grown closer, the two towns have developed a unique relationship as neighbours whose hearts are again joined as one.

With over 4,000 Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Wilhelminian and Jugendstil buildings preserved in their original state, Görlitz is one of Germany's most important cultural monuments. Even those who are not interested in culture are bound to have seen Görlitz town centre before – as the setting of Quentin Tarantino’s Hollywood blockbuster "Inglourious Basterds", or "The Reader" starring Kate Winslet. That’s "Görliwood" for you.

One impressive relic of the district’s eventful history is the palace and Fürst Pückler Park in Bad Muskau, which have been awarded UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status. Other visitor magnets include the unique foundling park in Nochten, the medieval castle and monastery ruins on the Oybin in Upper Lusatia, and the beautiful rhododendron park at Kromlau, with its romantic Rakotzbrücke or Devil's Bridge. The Great Zittau Lenten Cloth dating to 1472 is well known among the world's historians.

Craft traditions still survive everywhere in the region, such as the unique Upper Lusatian Umgebindehäuser, a type of timber-framed house which is preserved hereabouts in unrivalled variety. The Sorbs, a national minority who live in the north of the Görlitz district, observe their customs with confidence, from the “birds’ wedding” in January to the proud presentation of the traditional bridesmaids’ costumes at Corpus Christi. The ethnic group’s artistically painted Easter eggs and lace are bestsellers at many decorative arts and souvenir shops.

One of the district’s biggest plus points is its high innovation potential thanks to the good supply of vocational schools, technical colleges and higher education institutions. There are also numerous research institutes, such as the Fraunhofer Society’s “Cybersecurity Training Lab” in Görlitz, the Senckenberg Nature Research Society or the Interdisciplinary Centre for Ecological and Revitalizing Urban Transformation at Zittau University of Applied Sciences.

The traditionally most important sector in the district of Görlitz is the energy industry. Mining is declining in importance, but constructional steelwork, mechanical engineering, the automotive supplier industry, the food industry, the textiles and plastics industry and agriculture are still major employers.

What is life like in the Görlitz district?

Quality of life is very important in the district of Görlitz. In rural areas in particular, people enjoy a great deal of freedom to develop individual concepts for living and working.

In the far east of Germany, land and rental prices are well below the (still comparatively inexpensive) sums in Saxony’s conurbations.

The gentle landscape of forests and lakes makes an enticing setting for cycling, hiking and water sports. Some 14,000 active sportspeople are organised into 360 clubs, but even without joining one, you can still go canoeing on the Neiße, swim in the Quitzdorf reservoir or hike through the Upper Lusatian heathland (on the lookout for wolves).

There is a rich range of culture, for example at the Gerhart-Hauptmann theatres in Görlitz and Zittau, or numerous cultural associations. There are fascinating art projects such as Jaroslaw Kozakiewicz’s walk-in ear (so big it houses a theatre), which uniquely combines nature and art in a disused lignite mine at the Bärwalder See lake. The realms of possibility are explored here every year at the TransNATURALE light and sound festival.

What is it like to learn and work in the Görlitz district?

The district is heavily influenced by SMEs. Many companies have located here as commercial enterprises, on fully developed sites with good transport links. Being on the border with Poland and the Czech Republic, the district can position itself as a hub for business relations, and tap new sales and supply markets by establishing cooperative ventures.

The creative economy and IT industry are also gaining importance in the district – "Görliwood" is not the only idea being pursued by artists and young start-ups in Görlitz’s open-minded atmosphere. Hipsters and creative movers and shakers no longer seek out Dresden and Berlin – now, their motto is "Go east!"

Picture credits: Entwicklungsgesellschaft Niederschlesische Oberlausitz mbH