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St. Peter's Church and some cityscape
St. Peter's Church and some cityscape
Coat of arms of Görlitz
Görlitz is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°09′10″N 14°59′14″E / 51.15278°N 14.98722°E / 51.15278; 14.98722
Country Germany
State Saxony
Admin. region Dresden
District Görlitz
Town subdivisions 10 town- and 8 village-quarters
Mayor Joachim Paulick
Basic statistics
Area 67.22 km2 (25.95 sq mi)
Elevation 199 m  (653 ft)
Population  56,461  (31 December 2008)source
 - Density 840 /km2 (2,175 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate GR
Postal codes 02826–02828
Area code 03581
Location of the town of Görlitz within Görlitz district
House at "Untermarkt" (Lower Market)

Görlitz (Goerlitz pronunciation in German.ogg [ˈɡœɐ̯lɪts] ; Upper Sorbian: Zhorjelc) is a town in Germany on the Lusatian Neisse River, in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony. It is opposite the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz until 1945. Historically, Görlitz belongs to the region of Upper Lusatia and Silesia. Today it is the easternmost town in Germany. It is the capital of the district of Görlitz.



As a small village named Gorelic in the region of Upper Lusatia, it was a part of Bohemia. The date of the town's foundation is unknown. However, Goreliz was first mentioned in a document from the King of Germany, and later Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV in 1071. This document granted Görlitz to the Diocese of Meissen, then under Bishop Benno of Meissen. Currently, this document can be found in the Saxony State Archives in Dresden[1]. The origin of the name Görlitz is derived from the slavic word for "burned land,"[2] referring to the technique used to clear land for settlement. Zgorzelec and Czech Zhořelec have the same derivation. In the 13th century the village gradually became a city. Due to its location on the Via Regia, an ancient and medieval trade road, the settlement prospered.

In the following centuries it was a wealthy member of the Lusatian League, which consisted of Bautzen, Görlitz, Kamenz, Lauban, Löbau and Zittau. In 1352 during the reign of Casimir the Great, colonists from Görlitz founded the town of Gorlice in southern Poland near Kraków.

After suffering for years in the Thirty Years' War, the region of Upper Lusatia (including Görlitz) was accorded to the Electorate of Saxony in 1635. After the Napoleonic Wars, the 1815 Congress of Vienna transferred the town from the Kingdom of Saxony to the Kingdom of Prussia. Görlitz was subsequently administered within the Province of Silesia, and, after World War I, the Province of Lower Silesia, until 1945.

Former East German rail exit stamp from Görlitz.

Near the end of World War II, German troops blew up all bridges crossing the Lusatian Neisse. The redrawing of boundaries in 1945 — in particular the relocation of the German-Polish border to the Oder-Neisse line — divided the town. The right bank became part of Poland and was named Zgorzelec in 1948, while the main portion became part of the German state of Saxony. When the East German states were dissolved in 1952, Görlitz became part of the Dresden Bezirk (region), but the states were restored upon German reunification in 1990.

On June 27, 1994, the town became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Görlitz.

In 2002 Lake Berzdorf, located south of Görlitz, began to flood. The Altstadtbrücke (literally old town bridge) between Görlitz and Zgorzelec was rebuilt in 2003-04. It was officially opened on October 20, 2004. As soon as Poland signed the Schengen Agreement (December 20, 2007), movement between the two sides of the river has once again become unrestricted, since border controls were eliminated.


Schönhof, the oldest renaissance building of Görlitz, built in 1526

Today Görlitz and Zgorzelec, two towns on opposite banks of the narrow river, get along well. Two bridges have been rebuilt, a bus line connects the German and Polish parts of the town, and there is a common urban management, with annual joint sessions of both town councils.

The town has a rich architectural heritage (Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Historicist, Art Nouveau), which was — in contrast to most other German cities — not destroyed during World War II. One example of this rich architectural heritage is the Schönhof, which is one of the oldest civil renaissance buildings in Germany.

In 2006 the twin city Görlitz/Zgorzelec applied to be the European City of Culture 2010. It was hoped that the concept of Polish-German cooperation would be sufficient to convince the jury, but Essen won the award. Görlitz placed second. The campaign was renamed City of Culture to further German-Polish relations and to attract tourists from all over the world.

St. Peter's Church and the 2004 rebuilt Altstadt bridge between Görlitz and Zgorzelec



  1. ^ Görlitz and Diocese of Miessen --
  2. ^ "Placenames of the World" by Adrian Room, McFarland Pub. 2003 page 140

See also

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

View of Görlitz from the bridge linking it with Poland.
View of Görlitz from the bridge linking it with Poland.

Görlitz [1] is Germany's easternmost town, situated across the Neisse River from its Polish sister city of Zgorzelec. It is very well preserved and survived the Second World War more or less intact. A lot of money was invested in the 1990's to restore the city's old town. It is conviently located on the rail and autobahn routes from Dresden to Wroclaw, Poland.

  • Visit the Silesia Museum - a museum dedicated to the history of Silesia.
  • Walk along the Neisse River bank and enjoy the view of the older buildings and the abundant nature.
  • Tour the cathedral and the main street in the Old Town.
  • Take a stroll across the Neisse River into Poland using the new pedestrian footbridge and get a different perspective of the old town from a distance.


There is a local brewery, the Landskron Brauerei.


The city is home to a nice historic youth hostel.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Proper noun


  1. independent city in Saxony, Germany



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Proper noun


  1. Görlitz (independent city in Saxony, Germany)

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