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2023 Cultural heart of Germany travel ideas

Never too early to start this year's travel planning: Take a look at 2023 anniversaries, events and happenings in Saxony and Thuringia and pick your favourites.

Celebrating cultural icons

100, 300 and 300 – 2023 come with Cultural Heart of Germany anniversaries on the agenda: In Thuringia's Weimar, Bauhaus icon “Haus Am Horn” is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and not just architecture and design lovers will be amazed by how timeless this building is. Created in 1923, as a model home for the first major Bauhaus exhibition, it has become a prototype for modern building and living. As part of the UNESCO-listed “Bauhaus” ensemble in Weimar, it is also one of Thuringia's numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites which the region is putting a special spotlight on this year:

Apart from three UNESCO Bauhaus locations, cultural travellers in Weimar can tour the 16 sights of the UNESCO-listed “Classical Weimar” ensemble, including a number of charming palaces and parks. A mere 50 miles further west, the mighty Wartburg Castle towering above Eisenach has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. Arguably Germany's most famous castle, it is worth visiting for some breath-taking views of the surrounding “green see” of the Thuringian Forest alone. Only a stone's throw away, Hainich National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage treasure, a wonderful, untouched wilderness in the middle of Germany featuring where visitors can walk among the tree tops on a 540-metre-long canopy trail.

Bach bonanza

Over in Saxony, Leipzig's annual Bach Festival (8 to 18 June) is all about the 300th anniversary of Bach's appointment as Leipzig's Thomaskantor, director of music at the city's St Thomas's Church. Headlined “BACH for Future”, the festival will feature more than 150 events with major international artists and ensembles. Attending one of the concerts is also an opportunity to discover Leipzig from another perspective, with venues ranging from St Thomas Church to the city's stunning train station or a lecture hall at the Anatomical Institute. Tip: the open-air anniversary concert on 9 June, bringing together classical, jazz and pop artists on Leipzig's market square. Bach fans should also pencil in the Thuringia Bach Festival (31 March to 23 April), with 50 concerts under the motto “Reassurance”. Music lovers can tour Bach's home region “from concert to concert”, with many of them taking place in Bach-related venues such as his house and the church where he was baptised in Eisenach or places where he worked and lived in Arnstadt and Weimar.

Best of bling-bling

Another anniversary is being elebrated in Dresden, where the Green Vault, an absolute treasure chest of a museum, was founded in 1723 by Augustus the Strong. On the occasion of this year's 300th anniversary, visitors will be able to see special installations and exhibitions in addition to the permanent displays. Speaking of which, prepare to be dazzled by gold, crystals, diamonds and more. Europe's largest collection of this kind is an opulent experience!

From winter sports…

Alpine skiing is not just happening in the Alps: Right in the Thuringian Forest, Oberhof is a hidden gem of a winter resort. Apart from downhill options, it is a haven for cross-country skiing through the forest's winter wonderland. From 23 to 29 January and 8 to 19 February, the small town will also turn into a centre for competitive winter sport, first hosting the Luge World Championship 2023 and then the Biathlon World Championship 2023 (yes, that's the one combining cross-country skiing with rifle shooting). Tip for non-skiers: Try snow shoeing, ice-rafting or snow-tubing!

… to wine festivals

Fast forward to September and Saxony's beloved wine festivals, taking place in the wine growing region outside Dresden. From 22 to 24 September, city breakers can combine sightseeing with sampling top wines and other delicacies at the wine festivals in Radebeul and Meissen respectively. Both are enchanting historic towns, easily reached from Dresden, with a centuries-old tradition of wine growing. Tip: For longer stays, there are some great wine hiking trails, featuring enchanted scenery – and potentially the odd wine tasting.

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