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Location of the Lausitz in Central Europe
Historical map of Lower and Upper Lusatia

The Lausitz (of Sorbian Luza , such as "swampy, wet meadows"; Lower Sorbian Łužyca , Upper Sorbian Łužica , Polish Łużyce , Czech Lužice ) is a region in Germany and Poland . It includes the south of Brandenburg and the east of the Free State of Saxony as well as parts of the Polish voivodeships of Lower Silesia and Lebus . Lusatia is divided from north to south into Lower Lusatia , Upper Lusatia and Lusatian Mountains . Today the Spreewald forms the northernmost part of Niederlausitz; originally it reached as far as the Müggelsee in Berlin . Only the German part of the Lusatian Mountains, known as the Zittau Mountains , belongs to Lusatia, but not the Czech part. Today the Lausitzer Neisse forms the border between the German and the Polish part of the Lausitz. The Latin form of Lausitz, Lusatia , corresponds to the name in the English language and in this form, ie only with “u” instead of “au”, is also the basis for the name in the Romance languages .

Basic data

Lusatia covers an area of ​​around 13,000 km² and has around 1.3 million inhabitants, including around 350,000 in Poland . In Saxony, Upper Lusatia includes the district of Görlitz and most of the district of Bautzen (the town of Lauta is the only Lower Lusatian town in Saxony). In Brandenburg the southern part of the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district belongs to Upper Lusatia . The districts of Oberspreewald-Lausitz (apart from two communities in the extreme southwest) and Spree-Neisse , parts of the districts of Elbe-Elster , Dahme-Spreewald and Oder-Spree as well as the independent city of Cottbus belong to the Brandenburg Lower Lusatia . In Poland, the districts of Zgorzelec and Lubań in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship as well as the district of Żary and parts of the districts of Żagań and Krosno in the Lebus Voivodeship belong to Upper Lusatia.


A river in the Spreewald
The Lausche - the highest point in the Zittau Mountains

The Lausitz is divided into two completely different parts of the landscape, the Upper and Lower Lusatia.

Lower Lusatia

The Lower Lusatia is bounded in the northwest by the Fläming and in the west by the Black Elster , in the east it extends to Poland. The eastern border there is roughly the Bober . The northernmost point is Eisenhüttenstadt . Lower Lusatia is largely a lowland area that was originally covered by extensive moors , swamp forests and beech - oak forests. Pine forests were widely planted in the 19th century .

Upper Lusatia

The border between Upper and Lower Lusatia or the northern border of Upper Lusatia runs almost along a line Hoyerswerda - Weißwasser and then almost coincides with the course of the Black Elster . The western border of Upper Lusatia forms roughly the federal motorway 13 between Ruhland and Dresden , the eastern border is the Queis river in Poland. The Upper Lusatia shows a completely different landscape than the Lower Lusatia, it leads from the Upper Lusatian Heideland north of Kamenz , Bautzen and Görlitz over the Upper Lusatian area and the Upper Lusatian Bergland (about south of the Bischofswerda - Löbau line) up to the Lusatian Mountains with the Zittauer and the Jeschken Mountains . This is followed by the Jizera Mountains (highest elevation: table spruce , 1124  m above sea  level ) in the Czech Republic , which is no longer included in Lusatia.

The western area of ​​the former districts of Hoyerswerda , Kamenz and Bischofswerda is also referred to as West Lusatia , regardless of whether it belongs to Upper Lusatia .

Natural spaces

Landscapes or natural areas of Lusatia are the Spreewald , Upper Lusatian Heide and Pond Landscape , Lusatian Basin and Heathland, Upper Lusatian Heideland, Upper Lusatian Bergland , West Lusatian Hills and Mountains including Dresden Heath , Saxon-Bohemian Chalk Sandstone Area with the associated Zittau Mountains. The Lusatian Mountains join on the Czech side . Since the beginning of the 1990s, the recultivation of the Lusatian lignite mining district has created the Lusatian Lakeland as a post-mining landscape .

Nature parks

Designated Natural Park are the Lower Lusatian Heath Nature Park , the Lower Lusatian Ridge Nature Park and the Zittau Mountains .

Cities of the Lausitz

In Cottbus and Görlitz there are
trams in the city ​​center

(The cities are named in Sorbian in brackets.)

The main towns in Niederlausitz are Cottbus (Chóśebuz) , Calau (Kalawa) , Eisenhüttenstadt (former Fürstenberg or Stalinstadt), Guben (Gubin) , Forst ( Baršć ), Luckau (Łukow) - the historic capital of Niederlausitz, Finsterwalde (Grabin) , Senftenberg (Zły Komorow) , Spremberg (Grodk) , in the Polish part Żary ( Sorau; Žarow) , in the Spreewald Vetschau / Spreewald (Wětošow) , Lübben (Lubin) , administrative center of the margraviate of (Lower) Lausitz, Lübbenau / Spreewald (Lubnjow) .

For the Oberlausitz are six cities Bautzen (Budyšin) as an administrative center, Görlitz ( Zhorjelc ; the Polish part is called Zgorzelec ) as the largest city, Luban (Luban) , Zittau (Žitawa) , Löbau (lubij) and Kamenz (Kamjenc) significantly, further also Bischofswerda ( Biskopicy ), Niesky (Niska) , Hoyerswerda (Wojerecy) , Weißwasser / OL (Běła Woda) and Bad Muskau (Mužakow) . In Upper Lusatia, the towns and villages in the southern part are also interesting with their rich architectural treasure trove of historic half-timbered houses . a. Ebersbach-Neugersdorf , Großschönau , Wehrsdorf , Sohland an der Spree , Taubenheim / Spree and Obercunnersdorf .

Population and language

Folk art from Lausitz: GDR postage stamps from 1969

In the early phase of the migration period , Germanic Hermundurs immigrated to Lusatia and assimilated the pre-population there. Most of them migrated to Thuringia at the time of the great migration. The rest of the Germanic population mixed with the newly arriving Slavic Sorbs , who took possession of the now sparsely populated areas.

The question of whether Lusatia was Christianized by the German or the Slavic side is controversial. After the first German conquest in the 10th century, the Slavic population stayed in Lusatia; After the second, final annexation to the East Franconian Empire in 1031 ( Peace of Bautzen with Poland), German settlers slowly began to settle, especially where there was space, i.e. in the Lusatian highlands and in open areas. Supported by the Slavic population, the expansion of the country experienced a boom, which led to a strong increase in the Slavic population. There was frequent intermingling of the population, and this is how today's settlement pattern emerged.

The mountain areas are almost entirely populated by Germans. The German population in Upper Lusatia is predominantly of Thuringian, Meissnian and Franconian origin, and in Lower Lusatia it is predominantly of Lower Saxony origin. The realm is a mixed national space. Especially in the countryside outside of Bautzen and Cottbus, the Sorbs made up the majority of the population until the 20th century and thus an essential part of the Lusatian tradition and identity. In the course of the late 19th and 20th centuries, they came into the minority mainly through assimilation and language change towards German; Today there are majority areas only in the area northwest of Bautzen (communities at Klosterwasser ).

Due to the war, Lusatia had to cope with a large population influx, mainly from Silesia, which made up about a third of the total population and further contributed to the linguistic assimilation of the Sorbs. Due to the increased industrialization of Lower and Upper Lusatia between 1955 and 1989, the Cottbus, Hoyerswerda, Weißwasser, Guben, Eisenhüttenstadt and Senftenberg areas recorded rapid population growth. In particular, skilled workers from Mecklenburg, the Ore Mountains and Thuringia settled down. The restructuring of industry is currently leading to an emigration of many residents in the entire Lausitz region (with the exception of the Dahme-Spreewald district).

In spite of everything, the Sorbian language is still present in everyday life in these regions (Sorbian cultural institutions and schools, bilingual street and town signs, radio, etc.). A distinction is made between Lower Sorbian and Upper Sorbian . However, the use of Sorbian has declined sharply over the past 100 years. Important reasons for this development are industrialization, v. a. the lignite opencast mining and the associated immigration of many German speakers since the beginning of the 20th century, on the other hand also the German national politics of the state and the evangelical church v. a. in the Empire and under National Socialist rule as well as natural assimilation factors. The (German) Lusatian dialects come in several variants.


Lausitzring EuroSpeedway Lausitz with the Klettwitz wind farm


International companies determine the structure of the Lusatian economy. Open-cast lignite mining , power generation, the steel industry, the chemical industry, machine, plant and vehicle construction, and industrial research all play a special role. The growing generation of electrical energy in Lusatia is significant for the whole of Germany; the share in the German production output was 10 percent in 2018.

In comparison, Lusatia is considered structurally weak. The Dresden administrative district , which includes the Upper Lusatia in addition to the Dresden metropolitan area, achieved an index value of 87.7 in a European GDP comparison (EU-27 average corresponds to 100), while Dresden alone achieved a value of around 121. Lusatia thus also determined the eligibility of Dresden in the economic policy of the European Union; on the other hand, since the EU's eastward expansion, Dresden has made it difficult for southern Lusatia to be eligible for funding. Depending on the demarcation, the West Lusatia itself extends into Dresden.

Lower Lusatia is assigned to the much larger non-administrative NUTS region Brandenburg-Südwest , which also includes Potsdam and the Fläming.

Large company branches (as of 06/2010):

New medium-sized technology companies are currently growing up in Upper and Lower Lusatia and are increasingly successful in international markets.

Wagon construction has been part of Lausitz for around 160 years. With the wagon building factories in Görlitz , Bautzen and Niesky, passenger coaches, trams and freight cars are still produced today. These include B. all double-decker cars of the Deutsche Bahn, the earlier express railcars type Hamburg and type Görlitz , Berlin S-Bahn cars , the ICE-T , low-floor articulated railcars of the tram in Dresden and many freight cars. The maintenance of locomotives takes place in the AW Cottbus of the Deutsche Bahn.

The service sector is traditionally strong in the tourism sector in the Zittau Mountains and in the Spreewald . The food industry ( Spreewald gherkins , Bautz'ner mustard , Cottbus mayonnaise, love pearls , Fürst-Pückler ice cream ) is also of supraregional importance .

Public administration in Lausitz is limited to sovereign tasks for Berlin , Brandenburg and Saxony . The following institutions perform administrative and law enforcement tasks for the entire federal territory:

  • Tierseuchenkassen data center Cottbus
  • Public prosecutor's office for Internet crime in Cottbus

Energy and raw materials

The new town of Hoyerswerda , built for the coal combine , is now heavily dismantled
Construction of Eisenhüttenstadt

From 2017, copper ore with a share of around 20 percent gold, silver, zinc, lead, platinum and other minerals should be extracted from a depth of more than 1000 meters in a copper deposit between Spremberg , Graustein and Runde . The yield of the deposit is believed to be approximately 15 tons of gold and approximately 1.5 million tons of copper.

Several large-scale lignite power plants were and are in operation in Lusatia. The Jänschwalde power plant is the third largest in terms of electrical output in Germany. List of coal-fired power plants in Lusatia:

Of solar power plants of photovoltaic systems are located in the Lausitz the finsterwalde solar park (82 MW), the solar Lieberose (52 MW) and the solar Senftenberg (78 MW). Together with the largest solar power plant to date, Finowfurt (84 MW) in northern Brandenburg, the four largest solar parks in Germany can feed 296 MW into the power grid (as of 2012).

Structural change

Lusatia is one of the regions that are particularly affected by the coal phase-out . The necessary structural change requires concepts and funding. Several associations are dealing with the structural change in Lusatia: The Lusatia Round of 23 mayors and office directors made demands on the politicians. The Innovationsregion Lausitz GmbH was founded on the initiative of the Cottbus Chamber of Commerce, which bundles and develops innovative projects and ideas. As a regional partner of the federal government, the Lausitz GmbH economic region (formerly the Lausitz-Spreewald Energy Region), an intermunicipal business development agency with Cottbus and five districts in Brandenburg and Saxony, is implementing exemplary measures and is developing a common model and a clear development strategy for the Lausitz future workshop the region.


The main traffic axis was the Via Regia , which ran through Lusatia from west to east between Königsbrück and Lauban .

During the industrial revolution, the railway lines leading through Lusatia developed into important main traffic axes in Germany:

In the new European transport system, they are regaining their old significance in accordance with EU planning and the current federal transport route plan.

For motorized through traffic, the A 4 (Dresden – Breslau) and A 15 (Berlin – Breslau, in Poland: A 18 ) motorways run in a west-east direction and the A 13 (Dresden-Berlin) in a north-south direction.


The Lusatian Lakeland and the existing castles and parks form a basis for tourism in Lusatia. To improve promotion and marketing, nine cross-border parks have merged to form the European Park Association Lausitz . The merger of the Niederlausitz and Lausitzer Seenland tourism associations to form the Lausitz tourism region points in the same direction .

Education and Research

Library of the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg in Cottbus

There are four university locations in Lusatia:

Industrial and university research in Lusatia concentrate on the following areas:

  • Biotechnology (Senftenberg)
  • Chemistry ( Schwarzheide )
  • Energy technology and management ( Cottbus , Senftenberg , Zittau )
  • Vehicle development (rail: Görlitz, electric mobility Shell Eco-Marathon : Senftenberg)
  • Computer science (Cottbus, Senftenberg, Görlitz)
  • Aerospace (Cottbus)
  • Logistics (Cottbus, Senftenberg, Zittau)
  • Microelectronics (Cottbus, Senftenberg)
  • Floating buildings (IfSB in Cottbus)
  • Social affairs (Görlitz, Senftenberg)
  • Environmental sciences / technology (Cottbus, Senftenberg, Zittau)
  • Materials research (Cottbus, Senftenberg, Zittau)
  • Research Institute for Post-Mining Landscapes (Finsterwalde)


Proposal for an autonomous Lusatia or Lusatia annexed to Czechoslovakia 1919/1920.
Proposal of the Sorbian National Committee for an independent Lausitz (1945)

In the past two different countries bordering one another were called "Lausitzen". Currently, the singular Lausitz for both regions is shared more frequently, although he really only for the country's Lusitzi - Niederlausitz ( Mark Lausitz ) - was, during the Oberlausitz, the country's Milzener , other names, such as Six cities country , led and only since the end of the 15th century is also called that. The history of both countries shows many parallels. However, due to the fact that both sub-regions were separate sub-states and in some cases developed significantly differently, they should generally be considered separately. In 1816 the north-eastern half of Upper Lusatia, to be ceded by the Kingdom of Saxony, came to the Prussian province of Silesia .

After the First World War there were efforts on the Sorbian side for a Lusatian Free State ; After the Second World War , the Prague- based Sorbian National Committee demanded the independence of Lusatia and its annexation to Czechoslovakia .

During the negotiations on the unity treaty, representatives of the Domowina (umbrella organization of the Sorbs of Upper and Lower Lusatia) demanded that the entire Lusatia be awarded to Saxony. According to referendums in the Senftenberg , Hoyerswerda and Bad Liebenwerda districts , in some cases contrary to the results, only the Hoyerswerda and Weißwasser districts became Saxon. Regionalist efforts in the course of the reorganization of the federal states in 1990 (initiative “For an undivided Lausitz”) hardly met with any response.

Spremberg (Grodk) was a geographical center of the German Empire from 1871 until the Treaty of Versailles came into force in 1920 . A memorial stone in the village provides information about this.

Under National Socialist rule, numerous place names of Sorbian origin were replaced by new German names . These renaming were mostly reversed after the Second World War .

Crosses at the entrance to Lakoma are reminiscent of the excavated Lausitz villages

Lusatia was the power generation center of the GDR and is currently regaining its earlier, supraregional importance as an energy supplier. On the one hand, this happens through the construction of wind turbines , through solar power and also through the use of the Lusatian lignite supply along the Lusatian border wall . The Reichwalde opencast mine was put back into operation in 2010. The remaining open pit holes are usually filled with water, creating the Lusatian Lakeland . In the past 100 years, but especially after 1950, almost 26,000 people and dozens of places had to give way to open-cast lignite mining.


  • Kerstin Micklitza, André Micklitza: Lausitz - On the way between Spreewald and Zittau mountains . 5th updated and extended edition Trescher Verlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-89794-330-8 .
  • André Brie , Alexander Schippel: Lausitz - landscape with a new face . Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2011, ISBN 3-865-68538-2 .
  • Kerstin Micklitza, André Micklitza: Spreewald, Lausitz: Germany's East . 4th updated edition HB Verlag, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-616-06115-3 .
  • Ulf Jacob: Between the Autobahn and Heath. The Lausitz picture in the Third Reich. A study on the origin, ideology and function of symbolic worlds of meaning . Edited by the international building exhibition Fürst-Pückler-Land, Großräschen ( time machine Lausitz ), Verlag der Kunst, Dresden in the publishing group Husum, Husum 2004, ISBN 3-86530-002-2 .
  • Max Pilop: The Liberation of Lusatia - Military- historical outline of the fighting in 1945 . VEB Domowina-Verlag , Bautzen 1985.
  • Manfred Streubel , Max Langer: My Lusatian peep box . Greifenverlag, Rudolstadt 1979.
  • Arnold von Vietinghoff-Riesch : The Upper Lusatian Forest - its history and its structure until 1945 . [Reprint.] Oberlausitzer Verlag, Spitzkunnersdorf 2004, ISBN 3-933827-46-9 .
  • Johann Wilhelm Neumann : The Margraves of Lusatia . In: New General Archive for the History of the Prussian State . Volume 3, Issue 1. Berlin / Posen / Bromberg 1836, pp. 3–37 ( e-copy )
  • Lausitz , encyclopedia entry, in: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition, Volume 12, Leipzig / Vienna 1908, pp. 254-257 ( ).

Web links

Portal: Lausitz  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of Lausitz
Commons : Lausitz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The districts of Görlitz, Oberspreewald-Lausitz and Spree-Neiße, the city of Cottbus, the Lausitz parts of the districts of Bautzen, Dahme-Spreewald, Elbe-Elster and Oder-Spree as well as the voivodships of Lower Silesia and Lebus are included.
  2. ^ W. Boguslawski: The Polish rule in the Lausitz . In: Journal of Slavic Literature, Art and Science . Volume I, Issue 1, Bautzen 1862, pp. 150-161 .
  3. JE Schmaler: The Lusatian Serbs received Christianity first of all from the Slavs and then from the Germans . In: Journal of Slavic Literature, Art and Science . Volume II, Issue 1, Bautzen 1864, pp. 33-43.
  4. Anne Hähnig: Lausitz: Long live the dredger. In: Zeit Online 46/2018. November 7, 2018, p. 26 , accessed August 12, 2019 .
  5. Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG, accessed on August 12, 2019 .
  6. ^ Christian Taubert: Lausitz after coal: In search of a voice for Lausitz. In: Lausitzer Rundschau, part of Lausitz / Cottbus. February 5, 2018, accessed March 4, 2018 .
  7. Christian Taubert: Structural change in Lausitz lacks the structure. In: Lausitzer Rundschau. October 10, 2016, accessed March 4, 2018 .
  8. Regina Weiß: Park Association draws larger circles. In: Lausitzer Rundschau , Weißwasser edition. June 14, 2017, accessed March 3, 2018 .
  9. Rolf Ullmann: Four became nine. In: Saxon newspaper . February 26, 2018, archived from the original on September 8, 2018 ; accessed on April 30, 2019 .
  10. Lausitzer Parkverbund grows from four to nine. In: Der Märkische Bote, Senftenberg and surrounding area. March 3, 2018, accessed March 3, 2018 .
  11. Anja Hummel: Lusatian Lakeland: The Lakeland grows to the north. In: Lausitzer Rundschau, Hoyerswerda edition. March 19, 2018, accessed March 20, 2018 .
  12. Catrin Würz: Merger of the tourism associations: two in one boat: travel region is getting bigger. In: Lausitzer Rundschau, Senftenberg edition. July 10, 2018, accessed July 11, 2018 .

Coordinates: 51 ° 31 '  N , 14 ° 28'  E