Neustadt in Sachsen, Germany

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Neustadt, a town in the south east of Germany is nestled in the Neustädter Valley between the ridges of the Hohwald and the Ungerberg only a couple of kilometres from the Czech border. The valley lies between the Lusatian Highlands and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and is known for the spring snowflakes that grow here. \nNeustadt was first mentioned in 1333 in connection with gold mining. The founders of the town were miners. Gold has never been found here despite numerous attempts to look for it. Nonetheless the town continued to grow as it was an important crossroads of two trade routes, the salt road from Halle (Saale) to Prague and the pilgrim road from Bautzen to the Bohemian pilgrimage town of Mariaschein which is today called Bohosudov. The first church, the Hospitalkirche, probably stood on the former pilgrim road even before the founding of the town, at the Hospitalstraße. Soon after the founding of the town, the Jakobikirche was built, either named after the Saint James or because it stood on the medieval St. James’ Way.\nInitially, the city belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia before becoming part of Saxony in 1451. \nIndustries included metal working, tractor production and during WW2 88mm anti aircraft weapons.\nAt the beginning of May 1945, some of Neustadt\'s inhabitants decided to hand over their town, which had no regular troops, to the advancing Red Army and 2nd Polish Army. The capitulation was offered by hoisting white flags. Nonetheless a die hard Hitler Youth leader thought differently. He had entrenched himself in the school with some Hitler Youth boys and opened fire on the approaching Soviet and Polish armies. Fire was met with fire including heavy weapons which damaged a great deal of the town and caused massive conflagrations. Half of the buildings around the market square were destroyed. Only the intervention of the Catholic and Protestant pastors who were able to plead with the Soviet commander spared the rest of the city. The Catholic priest spoke Sorbian which is similar enough to Polish and Russian to be understandable and this saved the town from complete destruction. \nIn the DDR, Neustadt was a centre of agricultural machinery production and because of this the population doubled from 1948 to 1984. Other industries included knife and artificial flower production. Today the most important local business is Capron which makes recreational vehicles on the site of the former anti aircraft and later agricultural implements factory. Unemployment currently stands at around ten percent and this is the best figure since the 1990s. You can see the Capron factory in another film!\n\n\nTown Hall\nThe Town Hall in the middle of the market square was built around 1700. Above the town hall portal one finds the coats of arms of Meissen and Neustädt. The town hall clock tower is copper-plated. Some say that the shape of the town hall is reminiscent of a mining hut. Near the town hall we find the town hall tower with the clock. The building resembles a hut house, which may be explained by the founding history of the town by Freiberg miners. \n\nDistance pillar in the market square\nElector Friedrich August I of Saxony had a number of distance columns put up in the first half of the 18th century in his Electorate. The distance pillar in Neustadt has been moved although not very far and it is almost at its original location on the east side of the town hall on the market square and bears the date 1729. Until 1888, it stood in front of the town hall, was then removed to a park in front of the imperial post office. In 1929 it returned to the marketplace. It has been repaired and restored. The distance information is given to many surrounding cities using the old form of measurement Wegstunden (1 St. = 7,531m).\n\nThe tallest building in Neustadt is the tower of the neo-gothic style Protestant St. Jacobi church. The church was first mentioned in 1346. Since then there have been several church buildings made of wood and later also of stone, some of which were dilapidated or no longer fit the requirements of the growing city. The oldest surviving part of the church is the 16th century chancel. The tower with its clock can be seen far from the surrounding hills and therefore anyone who had good eyesight could always read the exact time even at a time when people did not own their own wristwatch – or have a telephone as things are now! In addition to the services, numerous concerts are held in the church.\nNeustadt\'s oldest building is the vicarage, built in 1616, with its Renaissance-style entrance portal and its exposed Franconian framework. \nThe catholic church named after St. Gertrude was built 1927-1928.

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