Clockwise from top: view of Bautzen, view over the city hall to the Czorneboh (Lusatian Highlands), historicizing bilingual Bautzen street signage, view of the city at dusk, Reichenturm, Main Market Square with town hall
Coat of arms of Bautzen Budyšin
Location of Bautzen
Budyšin within Bautzen district
Czech RepublicDresdenGörlitz (district)Meißen (district)Sächsische Schweiz-OsterzgebirgeArnsdorfBautzenBernsdorfBischofswerdaGroßröhrsdorfBurkauCrostwitzCunewaldeDemitz-ThumitzDoberschau-GaußigElsterheideElstraFrankenthal, SaxonyGödaGroßdubrauGroßharthauGroßnaundorfGroßpostwitzGroßröhrsdorfMalschwitzHaselbachtalHochkirchHoyerswerdaKamenzKönigsbrückKönigswarthaKubschützLaußnitzLautaLichtenberg (Lausitz)LohsaMalschwitzNebelschützNeschwitzNeukirch (bei Königsbrück)Neukirch/LausitzObergurigOhornOßlingOttendorf-OkrillaPanschwitz-KuckauPulsnitzPuschwitzRadebergRadiborRäckelwitzRalbitz-RosenthalRammenauSchirgiswalde-KirschauSchmölln-PutzkauKamenzSchwepnitzSohland an der SpreeSpreetalSteinaSteinigtwolmsdorfWachau, SaxonyWeißenbergWilthenWittichenauBrandenburgPolen
Bautzen Budyšin is located in Germany
Bautzen Budyšin
Bautzen Budyšin is located in Saxony
Bautzen Budyšin
Coordinates: 51°10′53″N 14°25′27″E / 51.18139°N 14.42417°E / 51.18139; 14.42417
 • Mayor (2022–29) Karsten Vogt[1] (CDU)
 • Total66.62 km2 (25.72 sq mi)
204 m (669 ft)
 • Total37,838
 • Density570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03591
Vehicle registrationBZ, BIW, HY, KM

Bautzen (German pronunciation: [ˈbaʊ̯t͡sn̩] ) or Budyšin (Upper Sorbian pronunciation: [ˈbudɨʃin]), until 1868 Budissin in German, is a town in eastern Saxony, Germany, and the administrative centre of the district of Bautzen. It is located on the Spree river, is the eighth most populous town in Saxony, and is the seat of Saxony's largest district. Bautzen lies in the bilingual Sorbian settlement area (Serbski sydlenski rum) of Lusatia, and is Lusatia's third-largest town after Cottbus and Görlitz, as well as the second-largest town in Upper Lusatia.

The town lies in the hilly Upper Lusatian Gefilde (Hornjołužiske hona), a part of the northwesternmost foothills of the Sudetes, just north of the Lusatian Highlands. Bautzen is the first larger town on the Spree River (SpreeHavelElbeNorth Sea), and the Bautzen Reservoir (Budyska rěčna zawěra) lies in the north of the town. In 2021, Bautzen had a population of around 38,000.

Although Görlitz is larger, it is Bautzen that is regarded as the historical capital of Upper Lusatia. Bautzen is the political and cultural center of the entirety of the Slavic minority of the Sorbs (Upper and Lower), although Lower Lusatia and the Lower Sorbian-speaking Sorbs have an own, second center, which is Cottbus. About 10 percent of Bautzen's population is Upper Sorbian-speaking.[3] The use of the language is more widespread in the countryside surrounding the town than in the town itself. Bautzen is the seat of several Sorbian institutions like the Domowina, the German-Sorbian People's Theater (Němsko-Serbske ludowe dźiwadło), and Sorbian Broadcasting (Sorbischer Rundfunk, Serbski rozhłós).

From 1346 until 1815, the town was a member of the Lusatian League. The Bautzen Wenceslaus' Market (Bautzener Wenzelsmarkt, Upper Sorbian: Budyske Wjacławske wiki) is "Germany's oldest Christmas market mentioned in a chronicle".[4][5] Asteroid 11580 Bautzen is named in honour of the city.[6]


Like other cities and places in Lusatia, Bautzen has several different names across languages. Its German name was also officially changed in 1868.

Besides Bautzen (German) and Budyšin (Upper Sorbian), the town has had the following names:


Geographical situation

The town on the River Spree is situated about 50 km (31 mi) east of Dresden between the Lusatian highland and the lowlands in the north, amidst the region of Upper Lusatia. To the north stretches the Bautzen Reservoir, which was flooded in 1974. This is the former location of the villages of Malsitz (Małšecy) and Nimschütz (Hněwsecy).[7]

Expansion of the urban area

The old part of Bautzen is located on the plateau above the Spree, whose top is marked by the Ortenburg (de) castle. It is bordered by the city walls. The later-built more recent quarters in the east were enclosed by the city ramparts. After their removal, the city expanded further east and to the left bank of the river. However, there has only been a small urban area west of the Spree until today. In the 1970s, the development areas of "Gesundbrunnen" and "Allendeviertel" were erected. After 1990, several neighbouring villages were incorporated.

Bordering municipalities

The city is bordered by Radibor, Großdubrau and Malschwitz in the North, Kubschütz in the East, Großpostwitz, Obergurig and Doberschau-Gaußig in the South, as well as Göda in the West. All of these belong to the Bautzen district.

The city districts


The 15 city districts are:

Name Population
(as of 1 January 2009)
German Upper Sorbian English translation
Innenstadt Nutřkowne město City centre 5,278
Südvorstadt Južne Předměsto Southern outskirts 1,738
Westvorstadt Zapadne Předměsto Western outskirts 3,505
Gesundbrunnen Strowotna studnja 8,178
Nordostring Sewjerowuchodny Wobkruh North-eastern ring 10,727
Ostvorstadt Wuchodne Předměsto Eastern outskirts 6,360
Teichnitz Ćichońca 377
Nadelwitz Nadźankecy 268
Burk Bórk 325
Oberkaina Hornja Kina 832
Niederkaina Delnja Kina 522
Stiebitz Sćijecy 510
Kleinwelka Mały Wjelkow 1,314
Salzenforst-Bolbritz Słona Boršć-Bolborcy 839
Auritz Wuricy 458


Bautzen town hall
Historical affiliations

Duchy of Poland 1002-1025
Kingdom of Poland 1025–1032
Margraviate of Meissen 1032-1075
Duchy of Bohemia 1075–1198  Kingdom of Bohemia 1198–1253
Margraviate of Brandenburg 1253-1319
 Kingdom of Bohemia 1319-1469
Kingdom of Hungary 1469-1490
 Kingdom of Bohemia 1490-1635
 Electorate of Saxony 1635–1806
 Kingdom of Saxony 1806-1871
 German Empire 1871-1918
 Weimar Republic 1918-1933
 Nazi Germany 1933-1945
 Allied-occupied Germany 1945-1949
 East Germany 1949–1990
 Germany 1990–present

The leaning Reichenturm

In the 3rd century AD an eastern Germanic settlement existed here, but excavations have proved that the region was already inhabited as early as the late Stone Age. Sorbs arrived in the area during the migration period in the 6th century AD.

The first written evidence of the city is from 1002 under the name Budusin (Upper Sorbian: Budyšin, Polish: Budziszyn).[8] In 1018 the Peace of Bautzen was signed between the German king Henry II and the Polish ruler Bolesław I the Brave. The treaty left the town under Polish rule. In 1032 it passed to the Margraviate of Meissen within the Holy Roman Empire, in 1075 to the Duchy of Bohemia, elevated to a kingdom in 1198 (with short periods of Brandenburgian and Hungarian rule), in 1635 to Saxony, whose electors were also Polish kings in personal union from 1697 to 1763. One of two main routes connecting Warsaw and Dresden ran through the town at that time.[9]

From 1346 to 1815, it was a member of the Six Cities' Alliance of the Upper Lusatian cities of Görlitz, Zittau, Löbau, Kamenz, Lubań, and Bautzen.

In 1429 and 1431 the town was unsuccessfully besieged by the Hussites.[8] In 1634, it was destroyed by the Swedes during the Thirty Years' War.[8] It was the site of one of the battlefields of the Napoleonic War Battle of Bautzen in 1813. In 1868, the name was officially changed from Budissin to the more Germanized form Bautzen.[8]

In 1839, the Sorbian student organization Societas Slavica Budissenensis was founded in the city. In 1845, the Sorbian national anthem was publicly performed for the first time in the city. The Sorbian House (Upper Sorbian: Serbski Dom), a Sorbian cultural centre, was opened in the city in 1904.[10]

After the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, many political prisoners were held in the Bautzen I and Bautzen II prisons, built in 1904 and 1906, respectively.[8] During the Kristallnacht in 1938, local Jews were persecuted and Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed.[8] During World War II, in 1942–1943, the Nazis conducted three trials of members of the Polish resistance at the local court, sentencing thirteen to death.[11] The AL Bautzen subcamp of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp operated in Bautzen.[12] At least 600 men, mostly Poles, but also of other nationalities, were imprisoned there, about 310 of whom died.[12] Ernst Thälmann was imprisoned there before being deported to Buchenwald. In April 1945, the Germans evacuated many prisoners on foot to Nixdorf, where they were liberated by Polish troops on May 8, 1945, while the remaining prisoners were liberated in Bautzen by the Soviets on April 20, 1945.[12] Between 21 April and 30 April 1945, the Battle of Bautzen was fought which resulted in the town being recaptured by the German army.[13] This meant Bautzen and its surroundings stayed in German hands until Germany's capitulation.

From 1952 to 1990, Bautzen was part of the Bezirk Dresden of East Germany. Bautzen was infamous throughout East Germany for its two penitentiaries. "Bautzen I" was used as an official prison, soon to be nicknamed Gelbes Elend ("Yellow Misery") due to its outer colour, whereas the more secretive "Bautzen II" was used as a facility to hold political prisoners, dissidents and prisoners of conscience. Today, Bautzen I is known as the Bautzen Correctional Institution and is used to hold prisoners who are awaiting trial.[14] Bautzen II which was also operated by the GDR's Ministry for State Security, has served as an open memorial since 1993, operated by the Saxon Memorials Foundation. It is accessible to the public. Guided tours are provided and occasionally, films are screened.[15] A permanent exhibition depicts the misery suffered by occupants; visitors may tour detention cells, the isolation area and the yards where prisoners were allowed to exercise.[16]

In 2002 the city commemorated its 1000th birthday. In 2010 it was hit by a flood.[8]

Population development

Population development of Bautzen from 1871 to 2017

(as of December 31 unless otherwise stated)


The Bautzen City Council consists of 34 members. It meets either in the Town Hall [de; hsb] or in the Gewandhaus [de]. There are also four local councils (Niederkaina, Stiebitz, Kleinwelka, and Salzenforst-Bolbritz), whose honorary members are elected for five years.


Main sights

Old Waterworks and Church of St. Michael

Bautzen has a very compact and well-preserved medieval town centre with numerous churches and towers and a city wall on the steep embankment to the river Spree, with one of the oldest preserved waterworks in central Europe (built 1558).

Sites of interest include:

There are six museums in Bautzen, including the Stadtmuseum Bautzen ("Bautzen city Museum"), the Sorbisches Museum ("Sorbian Museum", Sorbian: Serbski muzej) and the Senfmuseum (Mustard Museum).

Sorbian institutions

Sorbian House (Serbski dom), headquarters of various Sorbian organizations
Sorbian Museum (Serbski muzej)
Sorbian gymnasium (Serbski gymnazij)
Sorbian Institute (Serbski institut)

Bautzen is the seat of several institutions of the cultural self-administration of the Sorbian people:


Alstom Transportation operates a large factory on Fabrikstraße making railway locomotives, carriages and trams. It was built by the former VEB Waggonbau Bautzen, which was acquired by Bombardier Transportation in 1998 via Deutsche Waggonbau and acquired by Alstom when Bombardier Transportation was sold by parent Bombardier Inc. in 2021.

The mustard Bautz'ner Senf is produced in Bautzen. It is the market leader in the new states of Germany with a market share of 65 percent.[19]

Notable people

Hermann Lotze
Hans Unger self-portrait

Twin towns – sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany

Bautzen is twinned with:[20]

Panorama of Bautzen viewed from the Peace Bridge [de; hsb]


  1. ^ Gewählte Bürgermeisterinnen und Bürgermeister im Freistaat Sachsen, Stand: 17. Juli 2022, Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerung des Freistaates Sachsen nach Gemeinden am 31. Dezember 2021" (XLS) (in German). Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen. 2022.
  3. ^ "2 + 2=1". brand eins (in German). Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "IAU Minor Planet Center".
  7. ^ Malala
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "The History of Bautzen". Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Informacja historyczna". Dresden-Warszawa (in Polish). Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  10. ^ Stone, Gerald (2015). The Smallest Slavonic Nation: The Sorbs of Lusatia. History: Bloomsbury Academic Collections. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 29 et seq. ISBN 978-1-4742-4154-0.
  11. ^ Sack, Birgit (2015). "Plac Monachijski w Dreźnie i jego znaczenie w kontaktach gostyńsko-drezdeńskich". Rocznik Gostyński (in Polish). No. 2. Gostyń: Muzeum w Gostyniu. pp. 101–103. ISSN 2353-7310.
  12. ^ a b c "Subcamps of KL Gross- Rosen". Gross-Rosen Museum in Rogoźnica. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  13. ^ Berndt, Eberhardt (1995). Kriegsschauplatz Sachsen 1945; Die Kämpfe um Bautzen 18. bis 27. April 1945 (Battleground Saxony 1945; The battles around Bautzen 18-27 August) (in German). Wölfersheim-Berstadt. pp. 53–67. ISBN 978-3-9804226-2-8.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  15. ^ The Bautzen Prison Memorials
  17. ^ Geschichte der Stadt Bautzen, Richard Reymann, Druck und Verlag: Gebrüder Müller, 1902, S. 720. Die Angaben stammen ursprünglich aus einem Zeitdokument, das am 10. September 1868 in die Turmkugel des Reichenturms gelegt wurde. Demnach waren unter den 12.623 Einwohnern 2579 Wenden. Zudem waren darunter [...] 11.419 Lutheraner, 1153 Katholiken, 29 Reformierte, 5 Angelikaner, 7 Deutschkatholiken, 1 Griechisch-Katholik und 9 Juden.
  18. ^ "Serbski rozhłós - Sorbisches Programm | MDR.DE".
  19. ^ "Bautz'ner Senf wird 60". Focus Online (in German). Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  20. ^ "Partnerstädte". (in German). Bautzen. Retrieved 2021-02-04.