This architectural gem is called Görlitz in German and Zgorzelec in Polish. You can see the tourist information site here.
It may be familiar to many who haven’t yet visited because it is a popular place to set Hollywood films. The Grand Budapest Hotel , The Book Thief , and Inglorious Basterds among others, were shot here.
Unlike many German towns that were largely destroyed in World War II, Görlitz – so far to the east – was left untouched, and its impressive examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Historicist and Art Nouveau architecture make it a pleasure to explore.
One of the fun aspects of this town for my kids was how it’s divided between Germany and Poland.
They loved standing on the bridge over the Lusatian Neisse River, which serves as the border marking. They had fun putting one arm and leg in one country and one in the other or hopping between the two. Kids will be kids. Still, it is pretty cool to be surrounded by German or Polish on opposite sides of the river.
The town is made for wandering, and all the picturesque corners, squares and cobblestoned streets add to its charm.
I tend to avoid Tarantino films, but I did see both The Book Thief and The Grand Budapest Hotel – the latter I especially loved.
I had to stop by the beautiful art nouveau department store on Demianiplatz, which serves as the Grand Budapest Hotel in the fictional Mitteleuropa town of Nebelsbad in the equally fictional Republic of Zubrowka.
Sadly, it’s closed for renovations, but we could still peek in to see the impressive, soaring Atrium that was so familiar from the film.
Did I mention enough how much I loved the film? : )
I highly recommend a visit to this pretty German and Polish town when you’re in the area.
We’ll definitely be back to explore the surrounding area some more.