Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Although Saxony has monumental prehistoric structures that date to around the 5th century BC, it is better known for its medieval heritage. From the Duchy of Saxony, to an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire and then the Kingdom of Saxony. Art and culture, castles and palaces as well as crafts and industry are what attract German and foreign visitors to Saxony. The city of Dresden is known as Germany’s Jewel Box because of its lavish Baroque and Rococo historical centre. Since early in the Holy Roman Empire, Leipzig has prospered from its position on two major trade routes through Europe.

Create Your Saxony Itinerary & Travel Lists

Archaeology & History Sites in Saxony

Albrechtsburg Castle, Meissen

Accepted by some as Germany’s oldest palace, this Gothic and Renaissance castle, and the site on which it was constructed overlooking the Elbe River, has had a long history. The first fortress was built in 929 for Henry 1, Duke of Saxony. And it was here in 1471 that brothers Ernest and Albrecht, both Dukes of Saxony, built their residential palace and administrative centre. Although they never used it as such. The Gothic masterpiece became a porcelain factory and in 1863 a museum. Innovative displays give insight into the castle’s complex history.

Monument to the Battle of the Nations

The Völkerschlachtdenkmal commemorates the defeat of Napoleon’s French army at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, also known as the Battle of Nations. The location of the monument is close to Napoleon’s former command post in the centre of the battlefield. Visitors can climb the 500+ steps to a viewing platform for spectacular views around Leipzig. When inaugurated on 18th October 1913, the one-hundredth anniversary of the battle of the Nations, the 91 m high monument was the biggest monument in Europe.

Zabeltitz Baroque Palace

In 1728 extensive remodelling of an earlier residential castle was carried out for the Imperial Count of Wackerbarth by a well-known builder Johann Christoph Knöffel. Prior to the castle, a medieval moated fort stood here, having been built to protect a salt road. Today the palace is also known for its French inspired Baroque garden, one of the most important historic parks in Saxony. A permanent exhibition inside the palace gives visitors the history of the palace and gardens.

Museums & Art Galleries in Saxony

Egyptology Museum, University of Leipzig

Housed in what was a private bank built in the 1920s, the Krochhochhaus, is the Egyptological Institute of Leipzig University’s Ägyptisches Museum – Georg Steindorff. An important collection of over 7,000 artefacts from Egypt and Sudan that starts with prehistory cultures and ends in the early Islamic period of the area. One of the highlights on display is the richly decorated sarcophagus of Hedbastiru; the object that would give rise to the establishment of the museum.

Museum of Classical Antiquities, Leipzig

Housed in the Alte Nikolaischule, the University of Leipzig’s Museum of Classical Antiquities has over 10,000 artefacts from various Mediterranean countries representing Classical Greece and Rome. Although the collection was founded in 1840 as a teaching collection for students of Classical archaeology at the university, the museum is accessible to the public. Highlights include a number of red and black painted ceramics from Apulia, including a beautifully decorated Apulia Krater.

Ore Mountain Open-Air Museum, Seiffen

The Ore Mountain Open Air Museum, linked to the Toy Museum in Seiffen, is a collection of historic buildings from around the Ore Mountain area, dating from the mid-19th through to the early-20th centuries. In an area covering 3 hectares there are 15 buildings, including two hydroelectric power installations (of which there are daily demonstrations in the summer). The focus of the activities showcased here is on the woodworking professions of the Erzgebirge region, specifically the workshops, machines and technologies of Erzgebirge toy production.

Ore Mountain Toy Museum in Seiffen

Housed in a former hosiery factory, the Ore Mountain Toy Museum opened in 1936. The exhibition space covers 1,000 square meters spread over three floors. These displays feature over 5,000 objects reflecting the traditional local toy industry and other forms of folk art. Besides the objects, there is a great deal of historical background into the collection and the toy making industry in the area. There are also toy-makers on hand, demonstrating how some of the toys are made.

Runde Ecke Memorial Museum

In what was for 40 years the Stasi’s headquarters of the Leipzig District is now a museum that tells the history of the secret service in Leipzig during the period of the GDR. The central, permanent exhibition is ‘Stasi – Power and Banality. Curated by the Citizens Committee of Leipzig, which was formed during the peaceful revolution in 1989. The demonstration that on 9 October 1989 brought down East Germany and the fall of the Iron Curtain. The custodians have tried to preserve the decor and contents of the Stasi offices as it was at the end of 1989, from linoleum floors and radiators, from surveillance cameras to shredding machines.