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Freiberg, Saxony

Freiberg Cathedral and Untermarkt

ABOVE: Freiberg's St. Marien Cathedral and the Untermarkt.

Freiberg (the name means "Free Mountain") may live in the shadow of two larger Saxon cities, Dresden and Leipzig, but its importance to the wealth and development of Saxony--and especially of Dresden--can't be overstated.

Without "the Silver City of Saxony" and the mines of the Erzgebirge or Ore Mountains, the Electors of Saxony wouldn't have been able to indulge their passion for art, architecture, music, and theatre.

Silbermann OrganEven though much of Freiberg's wealth was sucked away by royals like Augustus the Strong, there were enough riches left over to pay for a rebuilt Freiberg St. Marien Cathedral,  an impressive Rathaus or town hall, a Stadtheater, Freudenstein Castle, a technical university of mining, and other additions to the medieval town during the silver industry's heyday from the 1500s to the late 1800s.

Freiberg windows with shuttersToday, Freiberg has a population of about 40,000, and the Technical University Bergakademie--the world's oldest school of mining--continues to attract students from Germany and abroad. The town has an attractive medieval center, several excellent museums, four Silbermann organs, and events such as the Bergstadtfest mining festival (June), the Silbermann Days organ festival (September), and the Freiberg Christmas Market.

 Where to get tourist information:

Schloss FreudensteinStadtmarketing Freiberg has a Web site at www.freiberg-service.de.

When you're in Freiberg, you can pick up several different English-language brochures and maps at the Tourist Information Office, which is behind the Rathaus or Town Hall on the Obermarkt. One of the most useful is Zu FuŖ durch Freiberg, which is available in English as "The old part of the town: a guided walk (about one hour)."

The tourist office's multilingual staff can also help you find accommodation (in a hotel, guesthouse, apartment, or private room) if you haven't booked ahead.

Note:

  • Freiberg is an excellent base for touring in the Ore Mountains, and it's easy to reach by car or train from Dresden (which is only 35 km or 20 miles away). We recommend staying for at least one night, or possibly for two nights if you're coming for an event or spending time in the local cathedral, museums, and other attractions.

  • See the "Freiberg articles" navigation table below for articles about specific things to see and do in Freiberg, Saxony.


More photos:

Freiberg windows

Several of Freiberg's medieval buildings have distinctive windows, such as these peaked windows with carved stone frames.


Freiberg museum

Stadt- und Bergbau Museum FreibergFreiberg's museums include the Stadt- und Bergbaumuseum, or City and Mining Museum, with exhibits such as objects from mining history, Gothic religious sculptures, folklore and crafts, a miners' devotional stall with a 17th Century harmonium, and a film presentation about mining history.

The museum is located on the Cathedral square, in a late Gothic building known as the Domherrenhof. It's open every day except Monday, and entrance fees are modest.


Rathaus Freiberg

Photo: Tobias Richter.

The Rathaus Freiberg, or Town Hall, was built in 1640. It incorporates an earlier building from the 13th Century and is on the Obermarkt or Upper Market square.

Twice a day, at 11:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., the "Miner's Song" is played from the Rathaus tower.


Schloss Freudenstein

Terra Mineralia displaySchloss Freudenstein, a.k.a. Freudenstein Castle, is on the Schlossplatz at the edge of the medieval town center.

Cross the moat bridge and enter the castle courtyard, where you'll find a cafť and the modern, world-class Terra Mineralia mineral museum.


Freiberg St Marien Cathedral ceiling

Freiberg St. Mary's Cathedral (in German, the Dom St. Marien) was built in 1501 on the site of an earlier Romanesque church that was destroyed by fire.

The Late Gothic church has a light, airy interior with beautiful painted ceilings and two Silbermann organs. (The church became protestant and gave up its Roman Catholic cathedral status after the Reformation in 1537.)


Bergwerk Freiberg - Freiberg Mine Tour

The Besucherbergwerk Freiberg (in English, the Bergwerk Freiberg Mine Tour) is a "don't miss" attraction for anyone who isn't claustrophobic or afraid of the dark. A level "Underground Path" tour is suitable for children and the disabled.


All Freiberg articles:
Freiberg, Saxony
Freiberg Cathedral - Dom St. Marien
Bergwerk Freiberg Mine Tour
Schloss Freudenstein
Terra Mineralia Museum

Also see:
Saxony - Index of Main Topics