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Bautzen (pronounced [ˈbaʊ̯t͡sn̩] (About this soundlisten); Upper Sorbian: Budyšin [ˈbudɨʃin] (About this soundlisten); until 1868 German: Budissin; Lower Sorbian: Budyšyn [ˈbudɨʃɨn], Czech: Budyšín [ˈbudɪʃiːn], Polish: Budziszyn [buˈd͡ʑiʂɨn]) 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 2017, its population is 39,429. Asteroid 11580 Bautzen is named in honour of the city.


Historical centre of the town
Historical centre of the town
Coat of arms of Bautzen
Coat of arms
Location of Bautzen within Bautzen district
Bautzen in BZ.svg
Bautzen is located in Germany
Bautzen is located in Saxony
Coordinates: 51°10′53″N 14°25′27″E / 51.18139°N 14.42417°E / 51.18139; 14.42417Coordinates: 51°10′53″N 14°25′27″E / 51.18139°N 14.42417°E / 51.18139; 14.42417
 • MayorAlexander Ahrens (SPD)
 • Total66.62 km2 (25.72 sq mi)
204 m (669 ft)
 • Total39,087
 • Density590/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03591
Vehicle registrationBZ, BIW, HY, KM

Bautzen is often regarded as the unofficial, but historical capital of Upper Lusatia, and it is the most important cultural centre of the Sorbs, a Slavic people.

Its hilltop position and multiple towers are often compared to some of the hilltop towns of Tuscany.

It has a long association with mustard (Bautznersenf) and is one of the few places in the world to boast a mustard museum.


Geographical situationEdit

The town on the River Spree is situated about 50 km (31 mi) east of Dresden between the Lusatian highland and the lowlands in the north, amidst the region of Upper Lusatia. To the north stretches the Bautzen Reservoir, which was flooded in 1974. This is the former location of the villages of Malsitz (Małšecy) and Nimschütz (Hněwsecy).

Expansion of the urban areaEdit

The old part of Bautzen is located on the plateau above the Spree, whose top is marked by the Ortenburg (de) castle. It is bordered by the city walls. The later-built more recent quarters in the east were enclosed by the city ramparts. After their removal, the city expanded further east and to the left bank of the river. However, there has only been a small urban area west of the Spree until today. In the 1970s, the development areas of "Gesundbrunnen" and "Allendeviertel" were erected. After 1990, several neighbouring villages were incorporated.

Bordering municipalitiesEdit

The city is bordered by Radibor, Großdubrau and Malschwitz in the North, Kubschütz in the East, Großpostwitz, Obergurig and Doberschau-Gaußig in the South, as well as Göda in the West. All of these belong to the Bautzen district.

The city districts


The 15 city districts are:

Name Population
(as of 1 January 2009)
German Upper Sorbian English translation
Innenstadt Nutřkowne město City centre 5,278
Südvorstadt Južne Předměsto Southern outskirts 1,738
Westvorstadt Zapadne Předměsto Western outskirts 3,505
Gesundbrunnen Strowotna studnja 8,178
Nordostring Sewjerowuchodny Wobkruh North-eastern ring 10,727
Ostvorstadt Wuchodne Předměsto Eastern outskirts 6,360
Teichnitz Ćichońca 377
Nadelwitz Nadźankecy 268
Burk Bórk 325
Oberkaina Hornja Kina 832
Niederkaina Delnja Kina 522
Stiebitz Sćijecy 510
Kleinwelka Mały Wjelkow 1,314
Salzenforst-Bolbritz Słona Boršć-Bolborcy 839
Auritz Wuricy 458


Bautzen town hall
Historical affiliations
Duchy of Poland 1002-1025

  Kingdom of Poland 1025–1032
  Margraviate of Meissen 1032-1253
  Margraviate of Brandenburg 1253-1319
  Kingdom of Bohemia 1319-1469
  Kingdom of Hungary 1469-1490
  Kingdom of Bohemia 1490-1635
  Electorate of Saxony 1635-1807
  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
An der Petrikirche, Bautzen

In the 3rd century AD an eastern Germanic settlement existed here, but excavations have proved that the region was already inhabited as early as the late Stone Age. Sorbs arrived in the area during the Migration period in the 6h century AD.

The first written evidence of the existence of the city was in 1002. In 1018 the Peace of Bautzen was signed between the German king Henry II and the future King of Poland Bolesław I the Brave. The treaty left Bautzen (Budziszyn in modern Polish) under Polish rule. In 1032 the city passed to the Holy Roman Empire, in 1319 to Czech Crown lands and in 1635 to Saxony.

During the Middle Ages it was a member of the Six Cities' Alliance of the Upper Lusatian cities of Görlitz, Zittau, Löbau, Kamenz, Lauban and Bautzen.

It was the site of one of the battlefields of the Napoleonic War Battle of Bautzen in 1813.

In 1839 the Sorbian student organization Societas Slavica Budissenensis was founded in the city. The Sorbian House (Upper Sorbian: Serbski Dom), a Sorbian cultural centre, was opened in the city in 1904.

During World War II and the Nazi era, there was a subcamp of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp in Bautzen. Ernst Thälmann was imprisoned there before being deported to Buchenwald. Between 21 April and 30 April 1945, the Battle of Bautzen was fought.

Bautzen was infamous throughout East Germany for its two penitentiaries. "Bautzen I" was used as an official prison, soon to be nicknamed Gelbes Elend ("Yellow Misery") due to its outer colour, whereas the more secretive "Bautzen II" was used as a prison for political prisoners, dissidents and prisoners of conscience. Bautzen I is still actively used as a criminal prison. Bautzen II has served as an open memorial since 1993. It is accessible to the public at no charge, the entire premises being largely open.

In 2002 the city commemorated its 1000th birthday.

Population developmentEdit

(as of December 31 unless otherwise stated)

  • 1849 – 10,518
  • 1868 – 12,623[2]
  • 1875 – 14,709
  • 1890 – 21,516
  • 1933 – 41,951
  • 1950 – 41,592 (as of August 31)
  • 1960 – 41,613
  • 1984 – 51,208
  • 1995 – 44,763
  • 2000 – 43,353
  • 2005 – 42,150
  • 2010 – 40,573
  • 2015 – 40,501


  • Konrad Johannes Kaeubler, Lord Mayor (1890-1918)
  • Gottfried Franz Hermann Niedner, (1872-1945), Lord Mayor 1918-1933
  • Christian Schramm (born 1952), (CDU), (Lord)Mayor 1990–2015
  • Alexander Ahrens (born 1966), (independent), Lord Mayor since 2015

Main sightsEdit

Old Waterworks and Church of St. Michael

Bautzen has a very compact and well-preserved medieval town centre with numerous churches and towers and a city wall on the steep embankment to the river Spree, with one of the oldest preserved waterworks in central Europe (built 1558).

Sites of interest include:

  • The Reichenturm, one of the steepest leaning and still passable towers north of the Alps
  • Ortenburg Castle
  • The Old Waterworks, an architectural monument and museum
  • Saint Peter's Cathedral, Eastern Germany's only historic interdenominational church edifice
  • Hexenhaus (Witch's House), oldest preserved residential building (built in 1604)

There are four museums including the Stadtmuseum Bautzen ("Bautzen city Museum") and the Sorbisches Museum ("Sorbian Museum", Sorbian: Serbski muzej).

The leaning Reichenturm tower

Notable citizens of the townEdit

Hermann Lotze
Hans Unger self-portrait
Rudolf Buchheim

International relationsEdit

Bautzen town hall

Bautzen is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung des Freistaates Sachsen jeweils am Monatsende ausgewählter Berichtsmonate nach Gemeinden" (PDF). Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen (in German). July 2019.
  2. ^ Geschichte der Stadt Bautzen, Richard Reymann, Druck und Verlag: Gebrüder Müller, 1902, S. 720. Die Angaben stammen ursprünglich aus einem Zeitdokument, das am 10. September 1868 in die Turmkugel des Reichenturms gelegt wurde. Demnach waren unter den 12.623 Einwohnern 2579 Wenden. Zudem waren darunter [...] 11.419 Lutheraner, 1153 Katholiken, 29 Reformierte, 5 Angelikaner, 7 Deutschkatholiken, 1 Griechisch-Katholik und 9 Juden.

External linksEdit