In its idyllic villages and romantic mediaeval towns such as Bautzen or Kamenz, you will find impressive structures such as the towering St. Peter’s Cathedral or the Old Waterworks. Rammenau’s baroque palace is one of Saxony’s loveliest baroque country estates. Only at Pentecost is it surpassed by the glorious rhododendrons on the slopes of Kamenz’s Hutberg.

The district is known for the unique design of the traditional wooden weavers’ houses, and the roadside crucifixes and colourful embroidered costumes of its native Sorbs. The latter, an ethnic group who have preserved their special customs in the region for centuries, and whose language and culture even survived the GDR era, now give Upper Lusatian handicrafts and seasonal traditions a thoroughly exotic touch. The Sorbian Easter Horsemen parade, and Easter eggs traditionally decorated by wax-resist dyeing, can be found nowhere else in Germany.

The bilingual signs on the Sorbian settlements’ roads and buildings make a trip to Upper Lusatia almost feel like travelling abroad – for local people, bilingualism is not a modern trend but a fact of everyday life. Bautzen is home to Germany’s only bilingual Sorbian/German grammar school, there are Sorbian radio and television stations and of course a rich programme of cultural events. Even if you do not speak Sorbian, stories such as “Krabat and the Sorcerer's Mill” by Otfried Preussler, or a trip to the Krabat mill in Schwarzkollm, provide a gentle introduction to the world of Sorbian legend.

Hikers and cyclists are drawn to the hills, seeking out the Upper Lusatian Hill Trail and the source of the river Spree, while water sports enthusiasts appreciate the varied leisure activities in the developing Lusatian lake district.

One surprising tradition is the Upper Lusatian carnival season – yes, even the east of Germany has jesters and jokers who celebrate the lead-up to Lent. Visitors are most likely to be greeted with a rousing “Helau” on Shrove Monday or Tuesday in the municipalities of Schirgiswalde and Wittichenau.

In Pulsnitz, some of the craft traditions cultivated are recognised as having UNESCO World Heritage status, the historical craft of woad dyeing being especially popular among collectors. Tableware and other vessels can be ordered and bought from the oldest German pottery still in operation, and artificial flowers manufactured in the Wallroda district of Arnsdorf are even popular among the British royal family.

Their popularity may almost be outstripped, however, by “Pulsnitzer Spitzen”, a gingerbread speciality baked in Pulsnitz during the pre-Christmas period. The biggest hit among the region’s exports, however, is Radeberger Pilsner, which enjoys international fame.

What is life like in the Bautzen district?

In the field of all-day childcare, figures for the Bautzen district are outstanding, with numerous excellent early years institutions and childminders. A well-developed network of schools ensures that even children in small municipalities do not have to travel far.

Those in search of their dream home will find the Bautzen district offers a varied range of rental properties, building plots and residential real estate. Apart from the fact that rents and building land are affordable here in the East, subsidies are also available for converting and extending vacant properties.

The Bautzen district is well known for its broad range of leisure activities. Various cultural institutions such as the Museum of West Lusatia, the Sorbian Museum or the German-Sorbian Theatre proudly present the region’s many facets. Events take place regularly at the open-air theatre in Reichenau, the Lausitzhalle centre in Hoyerswerda or on the legendary Hutberg stage in Kamenz.

One of the region’s most popular leisure attractions is the long-established dinosaur park in Kleinwelka, which regularly sees new, life-size dinosaur models appear on its grounds. The “Jump-up” trampoline park in Hoyerswerda, or the high ropes course at Bautzen Reservoir are a dream come true for adrenaline junkies.
The Bautzen district is home to a large number of active associations, the range of sports clubs being especially broad, extending from water sports, bowling and dancing to gliding or boxing. Many people also spend their spare time preserving and upholding Upper Lusatian culture and traditions.

To ensure that young people in the Bautzen district are just as in touch as elsewhere, there are plans to turn the region into a “fibre-optic district”: almost all the areas which are currently underserved are to be equipped with high-quality fibre-optic connections within the next three years. The district already has good connections in the more traditional sense: Bautzen is linked to Dresden and western Saxony via the A4 motorway, with various expressways and bypasses connecting the business parks. There are rail links from Bautzen, Hoyerswerda, Kamenz and Bischofswerda to Dresden or Zittau.

The Bautzen district enjoys good medical care, with six hospitals, two inpatient physical rehabilitation centres and one epilepsy centre. Specialist practitioners are also easy to reach in the region, and there are numerous nursing facilities.

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

The Bautzen district is the location of several major industries. The food industry is represented by companies such as Heinrichsthaler Milchwerken, Radeberger Brauerei or Wilthener Weinbrennerei, and Müller Milch and Jägermeister also have production facilities in the region.

Other sectors include plastics production, IT, the automotive supplier industry and the textile industry, all of which report a high demand for staff. Skilled workers in the Bautzen district are especially sought-after in the trades.

The district works in cooperation with the skilled labour initiative “Dresden, a fast-growing region” and offers support both to people interested in returning to the district and to local skilled workers. A regional jobs portal, the “wiederda” fair for returnees and various careers guidance measures for young people are all designed to maintain a sufficient supply of workers in future.

Photo credits: Uwe Schwarz, Jens Michael Bierke, TMGS/Fouad Vollmer Werbeagentur, dinosaur park/Juliane Mosterz, Antje Lehmann