In rural and mountainous South Westphalia, Sagan is a university town that was once home to the counts of Nassau. That noble family went through a difficult period in the 17th century when it broke into a Catholic and Protestant line.
The Catholics lived in the Oberes Schloss (Upper Palace), on Seigberg, where there is a museum on the Seigland area. Protestants chose the Unteres Schloss in the lower city, now a university building.
In German, Sagan has earned the nickname Rubensstadt, as it is the birthplace of the Baroque artist, Peter Paul Rubens. The Contemporary Art Award in Rubens’ name is given five years to the heavyweights of the art world, and Sigmar Folk and Francis Bacon are among the winners.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Sagan:
1. Obers Schloss
On a 307-meter-high Siberg Hill is a palace from 1259. Schloss Obers began as a fortress, jointly owned by the Counts of Nassau and the Archbishops of Cologne.
Later in the 1400s the counts of Nassau became the sole lords of the castle and town, and the property was slightly refined following a fire in the early 16th century.
The reconstruction gave the palace the Gotische Halle (Gothic Hall) on the top floor and the Orniersal (orange room) on the second floor.
In the 1700s the interior of the palace was reworked in the Baroque style and in 1905 it became the site of the Seegerland Museum, which we will talk about later.
2. The Cigarland Museum
The Oberes Schloss is home to the Cigarland Museum of Art and History.
There is no doubt what the great attraction here is: Rubens-Saal has ten large paintings by the old master Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Sagan in 1577. This collection contains a version of the “Rape of the Daughters of Lucifer”, painted in 1618. There are also portraits of all members of the Orange and Nassau lines, as well as information on the 2,500-year history of iron ore mining and smelting in the area.
The Gotische Haal is also wonderful in its flooring, which has herbivore-patterned Greivac stones.
3. Lockpark Sagan
Outside, the old palace gardens are now a 2.30-acre park.
The Schlosspark was opened to the public in 1888 when the castle was purchased from the Prussian Empire.
The park is partly surrounded by a wall by the historic fortifications of Ziegberg, and you can climb fortresses and embankments for views of the city and the hut beyond it. The park has lots of tall and mature trees, as well as flower beds, a cafe and a playground for young people.
A wonderful time to be at Schlosspark is spring, when 60,000 tulips bloom.
Then in the summer there are outdoor concerts at the orchestra stand of the park.
4. Schlossplatz Unteres Schloss
The history of the Nassau-Sagan House is complicated because in 1623 it was divided into a Catholic and Protestant line.
The Protestants lived in a former convent in the city center, a little west of the Oberes Schloss.
The unique feature of the Unteres Schloss is the Dicke Turm (roughly, an oil tower), which rose in 1721 and holds a krill ring every day at 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00. Since the Protestant line ended in 1722 the tower has had a host of tenants, including the regional government after Siegland passed a Prussian yoke in 1815, and a court from 1864 to 1976. After restoration it now owns the library and business of Sagan University. staff.
Schlossplatz, the square opposite, hosts open-air cinema screenings in the summer, and sets up a big screen when the German national football team plays in international competitions.
5. Museum of Contemporary Art
On the south side of Schlossplatz, in the former Telegraph building and at its modern end is the Sagan Museum of Contemporary Art.
The museum displays the Lambrecht-Schedberg collection, which makes up all the winners of the Sagan Rubens Prize.
This pan-European award has been awarded every five years since 1957, and has been awarded to C. Twombly, Francis Bacon, Sigmar Polka, Hans Hartong and Lucien Freud.
The last winner was Swiss minimalist Niala Toroni in 2017. There are also three or four temporary exhibitions a year for specific artists, movements or themes.
Recent exhibitions have included works by Misha Kobel, Sigmar Polka, Takako Saito and Francis Bacon.
6. Nikolai Church
At the highest point of Ziegberg, in the heart of the medieval saga, stands the Church of Nicholas, built in the first half of the 13th century.
You can not miss the 50 meter high church tower because of its red and white colors.
At the top of the tower is the Krönchen, a glowing symbol of Sagan.
This is a replica of the two-meter-long gilded iron crown from 1658. The original hangs above the portal right inside.
Another thing that sets Nikolaikirsha Church apart is its nave, which has a hexagonal layout.
It goes back to the first Romanesque structure of the church and is the only church north of the Alps with this design.
As a mining and smelting town, Sagan was a target for Allied bombing raids in World War II and was almost completely eliminated in one attack on December 16, 1944. But just below City Hall a cluster of 17th-century old houses was not hit.
Some have slate cladding, while others are semi-wood.
You can find them on Oberer Metzgerstraße, Löhrstraße and Hainstraße, and in the Middle Ages these streets hosted the city’s tanneries and butchers’ guilds.
In September the Altstadtfest in Pfarrer-Ochse-Platz attracts about 10,000 people and brings German and international food stalls, street theater and concerts in the city’s three churches
8. Actives Museum Südwestfalen
One street south of Schlossplatz is a museum of National Socialism in South Westphalia in a historically charged location.
The Active Museum opened in 1996 in a bunker built in 1941. This building is on the site of the Sagan Synagogue, which burned down during Kristallnacht in 1938. So there is an emphasis on Jewish history in the museum, along with other synonymous groups like the Romanians. Minority, disabled and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
You can view the profile of Walter Kramer, a Buchenwald concentration prisoner who used self-taught medical skills to care for other inmates.
After his death, he was awarded the Righteous Among the Nations on behalf of the State of Israel in 2000.
9. Reinhold Forrester Arbstolen
In the Eisfeld district, a half-kilometer-long mining tunnel is open for guided tours during the summer.
The Reinhold Forster Erbstollen is an edit, a horizontal gallery approaching the Ofer Eisenzer Zug composite mine.
Beginning in the 15th century and operating until 1960, it was a huge operation, with more than 20 pits connected to each other.
At the entrance there is a prominent neoclassical portal from 1879 bearing the date of 1805 when the gallery was excavated.
The Reinhold Forster Erbstollen was excavated to support the Tretenbacher Gänge, passages descending up to 1,300 meters.
10. Alter Falken, Freudenberg
15 kilometers west of Sagan is one of the most prestigious scenes in South Westphalia.
Alter Falken is the town of Freudenberg’s immaculate core, consisting of half-timbered buildings with almost identical gables.
All of these houses date to about the same time, in the 16th and 17th centuries.
This is because a fire destroyed Freudenberg’s castle in 1540, Wilhelm, the Count of Nassau decided to build his new house outside the city.
This left empty space for the construction of houses on four parallel streets: Marktstraße, Mittelstraße, Unterstraße and Poststraße, and water canals and wells were installed as a means of preventing fires.
11. Monte Shelko
In the Geysvid district, not far from the university, is a strange land form sometimes referred to as “Fuji’ma”, named after Mount Fuji.
This makes sense, because this pile of slag, which rises to a height of 373.8 meters above sea level, has a strange conical shape.
The pile consists of waste material from the Bremer Hota metal plant from 1900 onwards.
The rubble was carried to this place from the blast furnace by cable car.
Monte Shelco is the most prominent in the saga, and due to its nutrient-poor soil is only partially covered by vegetation.
Where there is life it is protected as a nature reserve due to the unusual plants and animals that bloom in this environment.
12. Tierpark Niederfischbach
Visiting Sagan with small children you can go on a family day to this zoo not far west of the city.
The Tierpark Niederfischbach has about 500 animals in the three hectares of forest.
The monkey house (Openhouse) has white-cheeked gypsies and barbaric monkeys, and among the other exotic species in the park are cougar, deer, kangaroo bent, and birds like laughing cockroaches, flamingos and lungs.
Between April and November, falcon demonstrations take place in the park, and there is a compound where children can make friends with Shetland ponies, goats and donkeys.
The wooded countryside around Sagan is one of the most sparsely populated in Germany, and if you are ready to venture out into this peaceful and mountainous landscape, you can walk along the section of the Rothaarsteig.
This 150-kilometer trail passes slightly east of Sagan on the way south from Berlin to Dilenburg.
Siegen is located near the southern section of the trail, you can go up a side trail on foot from the city.
These adjacent trails are marked with a black “R” on the side against a yellow background, while the main trail has the same design with white on red.
14. City-Sagan Gallery
In the lower town of Sagan, close to the main train station, is a mall that opened in 1998 and has 100 shops and services.
When the City-Galerie arrived it moved most of Sagan’s national chain stores to downtown, while the upper town on Siegberg is where you can find independent and family-owned stores.
In the meantime the mall has all the retailers you would expect to find on the streets of Germany, like S.Oliver, Douglas, Esprit, NewYorker, Gamestop and Deichman.
These are joined by several national fast food chains, such as the Nordsee Fish & Chips Restaurant.
15 Conqueror Crusade
If you are in the mood for local comfort food, one dish on the menu at any traditional restaurant in the area is Siegerländer Krüstchen.
This is a schnitzel (deep-fried or grilled scallops), with a fried egg on top, served on a slide of rye toast.
On the side you can usually choose between French fries, roasted potatoes or potato salad, as well as salad and pickles.
The only real match for this dish is a tall glass of regional Pilsner beer like Irle, Bosch, Erzqell, Krombacher or Ilsen.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Sagan, Germany
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