Upper Lusatia is a geographic and historic region that is mostly located in modern-day land of Saxony in Germany. In this guide, it is used to refer to the territory of the Bautzen and Görlitz districts of Saxony, although what is referred to as Upper Lusatia by historians would usually include parts of what is now Dolnośląskie in Poland, as well as lands now belonging to the Czech Republic.
The Saxon Upper Lusatia is known for its picturesque hilly and mountainous landscapes covered with dense forests, as well as cities and towns with rich, long history. Many of the settlements in the region have been recorded as existing for over a thousand years and have played a vital role in the history of Saxony, Bohemia, Poland and Central Europe in general. The natural beauty of the region is also a major draw, and the region is a popular holiday destination for the nature-loving Germans.
Upper Lusatia is also the home of the Upper Sorbian ethnic minority in Germany. Sorbs use a Slavic language that is not immediately ralted to German, and it has an official status in Saxony. There are 40 000 active speakers of Upper Sorbian in Upper Lusatia, and many municipalities feature biligual (German / Upper Sorbian) signage. A related Lower Sorbian ethnic minority is mostly concentrated in southern Brandenburg
Regions and destinations
- The Bautzen district is the western part of Upper Lusatia, containing the historically important cities of Bautzen and Hoyerswerda
- The Görlitz district is the eastern part of Upper Lusatia, bordering Poland. Historically, it used to blend seamlessly with what is now a part of Poland on the other side of the border-marking river Neisse (pol. Nysa)
While the local population generally speaks German, Upper Sorbian is in active usage. People speaking Upper Sorbian will be able to understand Czech and, to a lesser extent, Polish, while speakers of both those languages may be able to understand spoken and written Upper Sorbian to some extent.