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Dahlen

The southern gateway to the Dahlen Heath

© W. Siesing

The Dahlen Heath is a 150 km² landscape conservation area between the Elbe and the Mulde in northern Saxony at an altitude of 120 and 200 m above sea level. The extensive forest area of the Dahlen Heath, with its unique natural landscape, has been a worthwhile and popular destination for recreational travellers and excursionists for decades.

The idyllic heathland landscape is dominated by flat and hilly coniferous and mixed forests, which are interspersed with small brook valleys with meadows and ponds. It is home to rare plants and animals, and more than 100 bird species nest in the heathland where the well-known zoologist Dr. Alfred Brehm used to enjoy observing animals.

The Dahlen Heath offers a well-signposted network of hiking, cycling and riding trails and invites you to swim, indulge your senses or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you take your time, you can do some nice hikes. Worthwhile excursions are e.g. Brehms Ruhe, Tabakskiefer, Jägereiche, Dahlequelle, Sieben-Quellen-Tal with its H-beech, Nixentümpel or the Tote Magd. Permanent huts invite you to rest and offer shelter in windy and rainy weather.

The heathland town of Dahlen is located midway between the larger cities of Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz in the heart of Saxony. Mentioned in documents as early as 1188, and owned by the town council since 1228, Dahlen suffered severe setbacks in the course of its development including wars, city fires, the plague and famines. Thanks to its favourable location along two trade routes, it was always possible for it to recover economically.

Pronounced agriculture and forestry practices have always made Dahlen a typical rural town. Today, the town and its districts Schmannewitz, Ochsensaal, Börln, Bortewitz, Großböhla, Kleinböhla, Neuböhla and the Schwarzer Kater have approximately 4,600 residents.

The market with the Town Hall, built in its current form in 1888, and the adjoining town houses have given the town centre its harmonious appearance. According to a legend, Dahlen is also known as "Sackhupperstadt" (literally "sack racer's town") - hence the sack racer statue on the market place in Dahlen.

The local history museum with its still functioning music instruments and a small collection of weapons is located nearby.

Not to be overlooked is the town church "Unser Lieben Frauen" ("Our Dear Ladies") which can look back on more than 500 years of history. In addition to the internal altar, the mural painting on the south side of the high choir, depicting St. Christopher with the Christ Child, is of particular interest.

Dahlen's castle and the castle park, with the oldest tulip tree in Saxony, characterise the present day appearance of the Heidestadt Dahlen.

Bortewitz is small village situated on the edge of the Dahlen Heath between Börln and Schmannewitz. A special feature of this small town is its clock tower. Since Bortewitz had no church (and still doesn't), a Leipzig fur trader and hunter donated money to build such a tower. That way, residents could at least read the time from a distance. Today, the local fire brigade uses the clock tower.

 

Ochsensaal

Ochsensaal, a village surrounded by forest ponds and forests, is an ideal starting point for hikes into the surrounding area of the Schildberg or the Sieben-Quellental ("Seven Spring Valley"). Ochsensaal has a long tradition as a holiday resort. The village church probably dates from the 12th century. In the forest area "Heinitz am A-Weg" you will find the largest burial mound from the late Bronze Age of the Dahlen Heath. Southwest of Ochsensaal is the largest pond of the Dahlen Heath, the Dammühlenteich, with its 13 hectares. Here you will find an inn with guest house and a camping ground.

About one kilometre south of the village is the Markusteich with an adjacent marsh meadow. Nearby is also the Nixentümpel (mermaid pond).

 

Börln

The townscape is characterised by a large number of three-sided courtyards, and the first signs of human activity can be traced back to the Bronze Age, as the area graves south of the village testify.

The castle of Börln, which is now privately owned, was built in the late Baroque style on the remains of a moated castle. A moat, some of which is still intact, surrounds the castle. Today, concerts, art exhibitions and cultural events are held in and around the castle.

 

Großböhla, Kleinböhla & Neuböhla

The three districts have been part of the Heidestadt Dahlen since 1994. Kleinböhla, with its "Tellerhölzchen" (wooden plate) island, is the starting point of the Böhla region. The "Tellerhölzchen", a small natural historical monument, is an early medieval moated castle, also known as a tower hill. It has remained basically unchanged to this day. Neuböhla was established from 1947-1947 as part of the land reform of 1945. In the 15th century, a knight's estate with a manor was built in Großböhla. The most beautiful and best preserved building is the castle in Großböhla. We owe the appearance of the castle to the noble family of Bültzingslöwen, who lived in Großböhla from 1921 - 1945. Nowadays, you can hear children laughing from the castle. The former palace park - now the Böhla Volkspark - is particularly charming. With its many ponds, winding paths and interesting flora and fauna, it offers rest and enjoyment.

 

Schmannewitz

The state-approved resort of Schmannewitz is probably the best known holiday resort in the Dahlen Heath in its over 100 years of history. The famous zoologist and world traveler Alfred Brehm was also a guest in the Dahlen Heath on the occasion of his 50th birthday. The memorial stone "Brehms Ruhe" was erected in the forest north of Schmannewitz in honour of his death in 1934.

of his death in 1934 the memorial stone "Brehms Ruhe" was erected in the forest north of Schmannewitz in his honour. In 1996 two rehabilitation clinics were opened in Schmannewitz, namely the "Christiaan-Barnard-Klinik, Fachklinik für Kardiologie, Onkologie, Psychosomatik", and the "Rehabilitationklinik Dahlener Heide, Fachklinik für Orthopädie und Psychosomatik". They caused an an even stronger inflow of visitors. The Schmannewitz Rüstzeitheim is an attractive destination for families with children, singles and senior citizens.

Schmannewitz boasts a cultural and historical landmark with its baroque village church. This church, built in 1732, was designed by the famous George Bähr. Also worth a visit is the "Bäuerliches Museum", a renovated windmill, the fire brigade historical exhibition, the animal enclosure and the forest bath with its giant slide.

Informations

location Tourist Information Schmannewitz
Dr.-Alfred-Brehm-Straße 2
04774 Dahlen
phone 034361 63506
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Dahlen Town Hall behind trees
© W. Siesing
The Sackhupper Fountain figure with row of houses in the background
© W. Siesing
© S. Löwe
Dahlen Castle ruin through the old castle gate, sights, culture
© K. Berger