Things to do in Cottbus

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Schloss Branitz
Schloss Branitz

[ source: Wikipedia]

Outside of Potsdam (Potsdam vacation rentals | Potsdam travel guide) and perhaps the Spreewald, much of Brandenburg remains relatively unexplored by the average tourist. However, this varied state is a worthwhile destination for those seeking things to do off the usual, well-worn tourist path. One of the cities located off that path is Cottbus (Cottbus vacation rentals | Cottbus travel guide) (Chóśebuz in Lower Sorbian). Less than an hour and a half south of Berlin (Berlin vacation rentals | Berlin travel guide), Cottbus is located on the Spree River near the Spreewald, and was established when the ancestors of the Slavic Sorbs constructed a castle here. The first written reference to the city is from 1156. The city grew slowly during the Middle Ages, but became known throughout the eastern German lands for its fine wool. Although cut off from most western tourists until 1990, German Reunification has brought Cottbus's attractions into easy reach.

The Branitz Park is worth a day trip in and of itself. Like the Muskau Park, the Branitz Park was designed by renowned prince and landscape designer Hermann von Pueckler-Muskau. After he sold his estate at Muskau, he relocated to his other family estate at Branitz in Cottbus. The park here was conceptualized and built by Pueckler after 1845, and he remained here, oddly enough in residence with his ex-wife Lucie, until his death in 1871. The castle, which now functions as a museum, contains furnishings and items from Pueckler's life, including an English hammered piano that was played by both Clara Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn. In the park itself, one can find, unexpectedly, two pyramids, which reflect Pueckler's fascination with Egypt. The moated pyramid was intended all along to be Pueckler's final resting place, and the land pyramid contains Lucie's grave.

Two other museums should be added to the list of things to do in Cottbus. First of all, the Wendish Museum downtown provides valuable information and insight into the history of the Sorbs in this part of Lower Lusatia. The culture of the Sorbs is interpreted here through exhibits centered on the traditions, costume, and language of this endangered people group. Cottbus is also the home of the Brandenburg Pharmacy Museum. Located in the 400-year-old Lion Apothecary building on the Altmarkt, the museum contains exhibits of artifacts related to the world of druggists and apothecaries from as far back as 1830.

To those seeking to expand their knowledge and interaction with the so-called New States in the eastern part of Germany, Cottbus provides an array of interesting cultural institutions and things to do. And from here, one can easily access the wonders of the sunlit, watery Spreewald, a fascinating destination any time of the year.

[ source: ]

About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Vetschauer Straße 12, 03048 Cottbus, Germany

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