Schraden (landscape)

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The Schraden is a landscape on the Saxon - Brandenburg border about 50 kilometers north of the Saxon state capital Dresden . It includes the formerly completely wooded lowlands of the Schwarzen Elster and the Pulsnitz in the borderland between the former Mark Meißen , Upper Lusatia and Lower Lusatia , which once largely resembled the Spreewald and was considered an enormous wood and game room. On the southern edge, in the area of ​​the Schradenberge, is Brandenburg's highest topographical point, the 201.4 meter high Heidehöhe . After river regulation , amelioration and clearing , the lowland of the Schraden is now dominated by arable and grassland areas.

The most important Schraden communities are the cities of Elsterwerda , Lauchhammer and Ortrand . The municipality of Schraden and the office of Schradenland were named after this landscape.

Aerial view of the western Schraden, in the background the Heidehöhe
Grosskmehlen Church


Geographical location

Map of the Schraden in southern Brandenburg

The approximately 15,000 hectare lowland area is located on the border between the federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony, around 50 kilometers north of Dresden and 120 kilometers south of Berlin in the Breslau-Magdeburg glacial valley . It extends about six kilometers in the west and nine kilometers in the east in a north-south direction. The length of the Schraden is about 15 kilometers.

The historic Schraden corridor was originally bordered by the Elsterwerda and Krauschütz field marks in the west and by Grenzpulsnitz in the east. In the north it bordered on the field marks of the villages of Plessa and Kahla, in the south on the field marks of the Schradendörfer Merzdorf, Val Gardena, Hirschfeld north of the Val Gardena-Hirschfelder terminal moraine and further east on Großthiemig, Frauwalde and Großkmehlen. After the Electoral Saxon King August the Strong and thus the Saxon state came into the possession of the Elsterwerda rulership in 1727 , some areas north of the Black Elster were also part of the Schraden.

The area of ​​Schraden is traversed by the Schwarzen Elster and the Pulsnitz . In Elsterwerda the Elsterwerda-Grödel-Raft Canal flows into the Pulsnitz not far from its own mouth.


Summit of the Heidehöhe, at 201.4 meters the highest point in Brandenburg
Lookout tower on the Heidehöhe near Val Gardena
End moraine landscape near Hirschfeld

The valley of the Schraden is essentially lined with Holocene deposits. While the terrain floor of the area in the east and south reaches 94-95 m above sea ​​level , it is about 89  m above sea level in the south of the western Elsterwerda . NN .

The surface forms that dominate the landscape of this area emerged mainly during the Saale Cold Age 230,000 to 130,000 years ago. During this time, the end moraines of Hohenleipisch-Plessa in the north and Val Gardena-Ortrand in the south, which characterize the landscape of the Schraden, also include Brandenburg's highest topographical point, the Heidehöhe , and the Kutschenberg at 201.4 meters . Together they form the seven kilometer wide so-called Elsterwerda Gate , which is the narrowest point in the Wroclaw-Magdeburg glacial valley. In the vicinity of the Val Gardena-Ortrander terminal moraine, Grauwacken emerge under a few meters of Pleistocene deposits. These come from the old Precambrian underground, the tectonic structure of which also influenced the formation of the Ice Age forms there.

Saalian TIMELINESS sands, gravelly sands and gravels are found mainly in the south upstream Sander of Hohenleipisch-Plessaer terminal moraine. In the east a closed valley sand area extends in a semicircle to the villages of Tettau, Lindenau and Ortrand. Sandy deposits, which protrude up to a meter above the surroundings, are most widespread in the inner Schraden, especially southeast of the city of Elsterwerda and west of Tettau. These and smaller sand islands appearing there were mostly leveled during or after the separations that took place in Schraden and can hardly be guessed at. With the exception of a small dune southwest of the municipality of Kahla, there are no drift sand areas and dunes or they are located in the area of ​​the adjacent terminal moraines. Clayey deposits, which can reach a thickness of more than two meters, extend to a greater extent in the Elsternlow between Lauchhammer and Plessa. There are also other larger deposits west of Kahla and west of Lindenau in the eastern lowlands.

In the lowlands of the Schwarzen Elster there are deposits of lawn iron stone with an iron content of 34 to 50%, the larger deposits of which, however, were already exploited in earlier times, mainly for the operation of the Lauchhammer ironworks, which was built in 1725. Extensive lignite deposits of the second Lusatian seam horizon were located with an east-west extension of about 16 kilometers and a north-south extension of about 17 kilometers north of Lauchhammer. The main seam originally had a thickness of ten or more meters. There are other lignite deposits in the Hohenleipisch-Plessa terminal moraine area, which were mainly mined in the Plessa area until the middle of the twentieth century. In places, south of Großkmehlen, there are tertiary sediments near the surface, which also belong to the foothills of the Lower Lusatian lignite region.

Large fens are located between Kahla and Plessa and north of the municipalities of Val Gardena, Hirschfeld, Tettau and Großthiemig. Spring moors can be found in the areas of the lowlands near Elsterwerda, Plessa and Großthiemig as well as near Wainsdorf.


Before the extensive drainage measures in the area, fen soils dominated the lowland. At the present time, they only occur with around 700 hectares in southwestern Schraden near Merzdorf and Val Gardena and in isolated cases north of the municipality of Hirschfeld and near Plessa. Fertile moor soils are located on the edge of these fen areas.

Alluvial soils can be found in the former floodplain areas of the Schwarzer Elster and Pulsnitz. Otherwise, groundwater-determined sandy soils dominate in the Schraden area. The valley sand areas bordering the lowland are predominantly dominated by less fertile sand-rust soils and the terminal moraines are dominated by sand-rust soils, sand-brown soils and sand podsoles. In the area of ​​the Val Gardena-Ortrander terminal moraine, deck sand loess brown soils occur occasionally.


Ditch north of Hirschfeld
The confluence of the Hauptschradengraben and Großthiemig-Grödener Binnengraben at the pumping station in Elsterwerda

The lower part of the Schraden is supplied with water from the two rivers Schwarze Elster and Pulsnitz as well as several streams that flow off the terminal moraines. Since these streams found it difficult to run off in this area before the regulatory measures that began in the 19th century, they promoted its swamp and the spring and seepage water that mainly escaped on the edge of the lowland. Annual flooding , which inundated almost all of the Schraden, found poor drainage, which in turn prevented the area from drying out quickly. In particular, the narrowing of the valley at Elsterwerda, to which the Breslau-Magdeburg glacial valley swings to the northwest, as well as numerous bends, narrowings and sandbanks in the course of the Black Elster river, caused a noticeable delay in discharge. This also meant that the Schraden area was almost completely covered with ice in severe winters. Before the regulatory measures in the 19th century, the river flowed through the valley, especially above Kahla, with numerous tributaries, which were connected to one another by cross connections and which constantly changed their position due to floods and silting processes. The Pulsnitz, whose confluence with the Schwarze Elster used to be near the eastern municipality of Tettau, originally split into several small tributaries below the village. The Schraden landscape resembled today's Spreewald.

The lowland area is mainly drained via the Schwarze Elster and its tributary Pulsnitz, which has a slightly steeper gradient than the main river. Water is supplied to these two rivers through a system of around 350 ditches. The main trenches, such as B. the Hauptschradengraben or the Lachnitzgraben, mainly follow the direction of flow of the Schwarzer Elster and the New Pulsnitz, into which they flow via pumping stations or free outlets. A large number of hydraulic engineering systems regulate the water level in the ditch system and in the Pulsnitz. The catchment area of ​​the Black Elster near Elsterwerda is 1854 square kilometers. Their average flow rate is 10.6 m³ / s. The Neue Pulsnitz has a catchment area of ​​253.8 square kilometers near Elsterwerda. The average flow rate is given as 2.0 m³ / s, its highest with 68 m³ / s.

The Elsterwerda-Grödel-Raft Canal , built in the 18th century, connects to the Elbe and flows into the Neue Pulsnitz at Elsterwerda , shortly before it reaches 88.6  m above sea level. NN enters the Black Elster at river kilometer 71.09.


Climate diagram of Doberlug-Kirchhain approx. 20 km north of the Schraden
Climate diagram of Zabeltitz

The Schraden is located in the so-called Schwarze-Elster district of the inland climate , but a transition to the continental climate is noticeable. The specific characteristics of the regional climatic elements are underdeveloped and are mainly determined by the peculiarities of the east-west oriented relief of the Breslau-Magdeburg glacial valley and the mountain ranges of the terminal moraines that border it in the north and south. The Hohenleipisch-Plessa terminal moraine exerts a certain rain shadow effect on the lowlands.

With an area discharge of less than 150 mm per year, the Schraden is one of the areas with the lowest discharge in Germany. In the seasonally drought-prone areas, dry periods mainly occur in spring, autumn and winter. The month with the least rainfall is February, the wettest is July. The mean annual air temperature at the Doberlug-Kirchhain weather station 20 kilometers to the north is 8.5 ° C. The annual fluctuation between the coldest month of January and the warmest month of July is 18.4 ° C.

Average monthly rainfall for Elsterwerda from 1951 to 1980
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Precipitation ( mm ) 37 33 34 45 54 70 72 66 48 49 41 48 Σ 597
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Luise Grundmann, Dietrich Hanspach: Der Schraden , p. 14 ISBN 978-3-412-10900-4
Average monthly precipitation for Hirschfeld from 1951 to 1980
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Precipitation ( mm ) 36 31 35 41 54 65 70 62 47 45 40 47 Σ 573
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Luise Grundmann, Dietrich Hanspach: Der Schraden , p. 14 ISBN 978-3-412-10900-4

Natural space


Original vegetation is practically non-existent in Schraden, which was once dominated by broken alder forests that were only found in remnants. The near-natural forests of the lowlands were primarily replaced by pine and pedunculate oak forests. Pedunculate oaks - hornbeam forests are located on the edge of the lowlands, such as in the Tettauer Oberwald and in the parks of Elsterwerda, Lindenau, Großkmehlen and Lauchhammer-West. Birch and pedunculate oak forests can be found in less nutrient-poor locations on the lower edge of the valley. Remnants of pine and sessile oak forest occur on the terminal moraine tops, on the Val Gardena Eichberg and in the area around Kraupa, Hohenleipisch and Plessa.

Small meadows nature reserve

Species that actually occur primarily in the Atlantic and sub-Atlantic regions make up a large proportion of the Schraden flora today. They include, among others, the frogweed and the changeless milfoil . Plants of the continental floodplain, such as the burnt umbel , the long-leaved blue loosestrife or the stiff scotland , appear here and there.

In the Kleine Wiesen nature reserve , which lies at the transition from the Elster lowlands to the Hohenleipisch-Plessa terminal moraine to the north, there are trembling grass , the small rattling pot , the devil's bite , the cuckoo's carnation , the swamp yarrow , the lung gentian , the spotted orchid and the Caraway Silge .

The wet forests in the lowlands were replaced by wide meadows, primarily meadow foxtail or oat meadows . The rush occupies swelling areas. The broad-leaved orchid , which originally appeared in these areas, is only found sporadically.



The Schraden was once considered a huge game room . A hunt in September 1615 is said to have resulted in the following route : 64 deer , 70 hinds, 24 deer calves, 17 deer , 1 wild boar , 2 hares and 14 foxes . After the extensive drainage and deforestation of the area, the number of red deer decreased steadily and in 1815 it was only spotted. In 1861 it was even reported as extinct.

The situation is similar here with the black grouse , which was last shot in Schraden in the 1930s and observed in 1945. Current evidence of partridges is available on the edge of the lowland. The curlew is also acutely threatened with extinction and the local population of lapwing is endangered.

The rivers of the Schwarzer Elster and Pulsnitz in Schraden have always been the habitat for the Elbe beaver and otters . Although these animals were considered almost extinct in the lowlands in the 1960s, their numbers have been increasing again since the 1970s and there is now a dense network of territories again. They have also returned to the neighboring regions.

For migrating cranes , the Schraden is an important resting and grazing area with around 180 to 250 animals in September and 600 to 800 specimens in October. There is evidence of breeding of the birds for the Linz water south of Ortrand and for the area between Plessa and the north Lauchhammer, where open-cast mining sites and heather bogs are. In addition, this landscape is a retreat for various endangered animal species, such as ringed plovers , woodlark , sand martin or common toad and smooth snake . In the nature reserve Kleine Wiesen there are larger occurrences of the red killer , which is on the red list of endangered animal and plant species . There is also a diverse fauna of grasshoppers , beetles and butterflies with endangered species such as the small grasshopper , the stag beetle , the common piebald and the green ram . There are clumps of white storks throughout the Schraden area .

In the ditches and rivers of the lowlands, highly endangered species of fish fauna have been able to survive with the mud whip , brook lamprey and bitterling . In addition, salmon have been resettled in Pulsnitz and Schwarzer Elster in recent years , which were still abundant in this area until the beginning of the twentieth century.

Protected areas

Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft nature park

In the northwest of the Schraden, some areas of the area are integrated into the 484 square kilometer nature park Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft . The nature park, which extends around 95% in the Elbe-Elster district and includes parts of the neighboring Oberspreewald-Lausitz district, was inaugurated in May 1996. The centerpiece of the nature park, whose heraldic animal is a capercaillie , is the former military training area near Hohenleipisch, which is characterized by stands of sessile oak, extensive heather areas and silver grass. Its purpose is, among other things, the uniform care and maintenance of the near-natural landscape areas as well as the historically grown cultural landscape in this area, in which post-mining landscapes north of the Schraden are also to be reclaimed for nature conservation and recreational use. It comprises seven protected landscape areas with a total area of ​​212.65 square kilometers and 13 nature reserves with a total area of ​​93.78 square kilometers.

Landscape protection areas in the Schraden area

Elsteraue III landscape conservation area

The Elsteraue landscape protection area, which is around 6011 hectares in size, is divided into three ecological spatial units, with the Elsteraue III sub- area falling into the Schraden area. The boundary is formed by the federal highway 169 in the north, the Lauchhammer district boundary in the east, the Hauptschradengraben and Reissdamm in the south and the border with the city of Elsterwerda in the west. The protection purpose of the landscape protection area is indicated with the following three points:

  1. Preserving and restoring the diversity, uniqueness and beauty of the landscape
  2. The maintenance and restoration of the efficiency of the natural balance
  3. Preservation of the area because of its special importance for natural recreation in the area of ​​the health resort Bad Liebenwerda.

The nature reserve Merzdorf - Hirschfelder Waldhöhen has existed since 1968 . It serves to protect and maintain the terminal moraine between the places Merzdorf and Hirschfeld, in which Brandenburg's highest elevation, the 201.4 meter high heath is located.

The approximately 26,219 hectare protected landscape area Elsterniederung and western Oberlausitzer Heide between Senftenberg and Ortrand includes parts of the east of the Schradenniederung. It has existed since 1987 and serves to protect and maintain the Elster and Pulsnitz lowlands, the pine forests, the pond areas and the terminal moraine near Ortrand.

Nature reserves in the Schraden

Lower Pulsnitz Lowlands nature reserve

In addition to the existing landscape protection areas, there are also some nature reserves in the Schraden . To the north of Val Gardena and Merzdorf is the approximately six hectare nature reserve Untere Pulsnitzniederung . Here the agricultural use is to be given up in part and a diverse landscape mosaic of grassland, fallow land and landscape elements is to be created. The existing grassland areas are to be developed into species-rich wet meadows and pastures with their typical plant communities through extensive maintenance.

The Lauschika nature reserve can be found east of Großthiemig. This protected area, which is characterized by the alternation of various grassland areas, alder forest areas , willow bushes, woody trees and numerous ditches, includes the last areas of the original Schraden vegetation.

To the northwest of the municipality of Kahla is the 21-hectare nature reserve Kleine Wiesen . It is the first protected area to be designated by the Elbe-Elster district itself and includes, among other things, a wet meadow complex with springs and orchids that has become rare in this form .

The Pulsnitz nature reserve, which is dominated by small groups of trees and old trees, is located east of the edge of Ortrand.


Settlement and Territorial History

Finds from the Lusatian culture
Location of Schraden in the former Hayn office
Family coat of arms of those of Köckritz
Border line between Saxony and Prussia in the Schraden area after 1815

The first traces of people in the Schraden area, which can be interpreted as resting and working places on the edge of the lowland, are known from the late Paleolithic and Mesolithic. There are so far only few indications of settlement there for the Neolithic Age . However, there are finds of early Neolithic stitch ceramics and the Middle Neolithic funnel beaker culture as well as the late Neolithic culture with cord ceramics.

With at least one discovery site in each of the Schraden districts, the Lusatian culture from the Bronze Age could be proven with settlement sites and burial fields (flat graves), especially in the flood-free peripheral area. Even if some of these settlements apparently existed until the early Iron Age ( Billendorfer culture ), due to the lack of archaeological finds so far, it can be assumed that settlement activities declined after this time. It was not until the 3rd to 5th century AD that traces of settlement can be found here, primarily in the western lowlands, which indicate Germanic population groups. During excavations on an approximately 3.8 hectare site in Elsterwerda, settlement remains were discovered between 1991 and 1994 that suggest the Germanic tribe of the Semnones . The finds include a nave , north-facing post houses and west-facing pit houses . The Germanic tribes specialized in iron smelting and processed the lawn iron stone found in the area . This was evidenced by the excavation of a smelting field with almost 200 iron smelting furnaces, the so-called racing fire furnaces , as well as coal kilns and work pits.

Traces of Slavic settlement were not found until the 10th century with a few ceramic finds. The swampy Schraden evidently formed a natural border area between the Slavic groups residing in the area. In the course of the German state expansion , the Schradenwald was first mentioned in a document from Naumburg Bishop Engelhard in 1210 , when he ceded half of it to the Meissen Margrave Dietrich . During this time, other places in the lowlands such as Elsterwerda (1211), Großkmehlen (1205) or Hohenleipisch (1210) on the north-western edge were also mentioned for the first time. The Meissen landgraves, who succeeded in establishing their own sovereignty in this area, pushed ahead with the development of the country and the planned establishment of villages by recruited German and Slavic settlers began. The cities of Ortrand, Mückenberg (today part of Lauchhammer) and Elsterwerda emerged. At the beginning of the 14th century there were disputes between the Meissnian margrave Friedrich I and the Brandenburg margrave Waldemar , as a result of which Friedrich was captured and he, for his freedom in the peace of Tangermünde in 1312, the Mark Lausitz and the rulers in Schraden an Brandenburg had to give up.

After the area had fallen to the Bohemian Crown in 1370 , the lords of Ortrand and Elsterwerda came back to Meissen in 1372. In the process, the Köckritze family who lived there succeeded in establishing a territory that was largely independent of the office in this transition country between the Mark Meissen and Lausitz, which was later referred to as Elsterwerdaer Pflege . This rule included the villages of Krauschütz, Biehla, Kotschka, Plessa, Dreska, Kraupa, Kahla, Frauendorf, Hirschfeld, Frankenhain (presumably the Franconian desert near Hirschfeld), Strauch, Merzdorf and part of Großthiemig. After the Köckritze sank to the level of robber barons, Duke Georg von Sachsen and his retinue appeared in Elsterwerda in 1509 and took the castle and the city. In 1512 he forced the Köckritze to sell their property in Elsterwerda to him and had the rule administered by a bailiff until 1528 , after which it was incorporated into the Hayner office. Hohenleipisch and Döllingen in the north belonged to the Liebenwerda office . The places east of the so-called Grenzpulsnitz were subject to the rule of Ruhland, which, however, was divided into several independent goods in the 14th century.

The Thirty Years War brought a lot of misery and looting by troops moving through the area. Even if the swampy terrain offered a certain protection, warlike mercenaries found access there. The Elsterwerda mayor Nagel, who tried to hide with the Elsterwerda citizens in the Schradenwald, is said to have suffered a fate similar to that of the mayor Borßdorff from Liebenwerda , who was seized and tied to horses at Zeischa in 1634 . In 1631 Tilly's troops destroyed a dam in Mückenberg , which led with several bridges through the lowland over the Black Elster and connected the place with the southern outskirts.

During the Wars of Liberation in 1813, the places of Schraden saw huge troop movements by French and Prussian war organizations. Shortly before the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig , the 30,000-strong corps of the Prussian General Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher marched through the Schraden. In Merzdorf he gave orders to arrest the village teacher Pätz and forced him to show him the way through the swampy area. The corps then camped in Elsterwerda and Kotschka from September 28 to 30, 1813. As a result of the regulations of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the area of ​​Schraden came from the Kingdom of Saxony to the administrative district of Merseburg of the Prussian province of Saxony and in 1816 the district of Liebenwerda was created , in which the northern parts of the Hayn office that fell to Prussia were also dissolved. The places to the right of the Grenzpulsnitz, which originally belonged to the Margraviate of Oberlausitz , came to the newly formed Spremberg-Hoyerswerda district and, from 1825, to the Hoyerswerda district .

After Prussia was dissolved by the Control Council Act No. 46 in 1947, the Liebenwerda district that still existed became part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt . However, this was dissolved in 1952 and the newly formed Bad Liebenwerda district , which had to cede twenty-two towns and villages to neighboring districts , became part of the newly formed Cottbus district . The Mückenberger Ländchen and thus also Lauchhammer as well as the places of today's office Ortrand Frauendorf, Tettau, Kroppen, Burkersdorf and Lindenau, which belonged to the district of Hoyerswerda until 1952, came to the district of Senftenberg as well as Ortrand, Großkmehlen, Kleinkmehlen and Frauwalde . After the district reform of December 6, 1993 in Brandenburg, these districts were merged into the Elbe-Elster and Oberspreewald-Lausitz districts .

The Schradenwald

The Schraden or Schradenwald, which was first mentioned in a document in 1210 as nemus Ztradim , was an independent large corridor until the major regulation and improvement measures in the lowlands . After the completion of the medieval land development in this area and the establishment of settlements on the edges of the lowlands in the interior of the lowland area, an extensive lowland forest remained. In the 14th century, several lordships, including the landlords of Elsterwerda and Großkmehlen, were enfeoffed by the Meissen margraves with parts of the Schradenwald. Numerous towns and villages in the region had forest use rights there, for which forest interest had to be paid.

The Schraden around 1658

With the beginning of modern times in the 15th century, hunting in Schraden, which was considered an enormous wood and game room , experienced a heyday, which went hand in hand with the construction of hunting lodges, the expansion of hunting castles and the creation of a so-called hunting garden in the Schradenwald. In addition, a causeway was laid out from the west in 1650 to facilitate access to the hunting garden. It was probably about the legendary Reissdamm starting in Elsterwerda.

Already at the end of the 16th century, Elector August von Sachsen issued the Schradenordnung to prevent the previous unregulated and excessive removal of wood. Part I, dating from 1566 and 1582, regulates the use of wood and forest in 19 points. After a survey by the Saxon land surveyor Matthias Oeder in 1583, the Schradenwald was divided up with Part II of the Schradenordnung in 1584. The division consisted of a star system with a forester's house in the center. The Schraden regulations were read out publicly in all Schraden villages every year on Martin's Day . Forest descriptions and sales documents from that time show that the alder forest still dominated in Schraden at that time.

With the beginning of the first improvement measures by digging trenches and building the trench of the Neue Pulsnitz in 1584, the vegetation of the lowland gradually changed. The populations of tree species such as the mountain ash and the English oak increased. After the feudal lords from Elsterwerda and Großkmehlen laid out the first farmsteads in Schraden at the end of the 17th century, their activities reduced and cleared the forest area. The construction of the moat of the Neue Pulsnitz enabled the use of meadows by drying out adjacent areas. In 1797, the portion of leased meadows alone in the part of Schraden belonging to the Hayn office already comprised 400 acres and 29 square rods.

19th century log cabin

Far-reaching changes to the landscape began with the separation measures in the 19th century with a new division of the area and extensive clearing measures. By creating a completely different system of paths during this time, all parts of the Schraden became accessible. The regulatory measures on the Schwarzen Elster and the Pulsnitz as well as the construction of the extensive trench system allowed large areas of the lowland to fall dry. Arable and grassland areas were expanded. Larger forest areas remained only to the south-east of Plessa.

In 1970 further improvement measures began on both sides of the New Pulsnitzgraben , creating more arable land. Only a few fundamentally moist areas such as the Merzdorf-Val Gardena moorland remained. The lowland landscape of the Schraden is now dominated by large areas of arable land and grassland.

After the Schraden settlements were founded in 1929 and Plessa-Süd in 1947, the remaining forest areas in Schraden were pushed back to around 200 hectares. The Niederer Schraden district, north of the Schraden area, has a size of 239 hectares.


Flooded meadows near Plessa, October 2010

Watermills have always had a special meaning for the Schraden region, as they intervened intensively in the water conditions through the construction of weirs as well as mill and flood ditches. Such mills have been known for the Schraden since the Middle Ages . The Elstermühle estate in Plessa was first mentioned in 1420. The bushmill northwest of Lindenau was built in 1610. There were other mills, among others, with the hammer mills in Krauschütz on the Black Elster, on the Grenzpulsnitz below Ortrand as well as with large and small flours.

As a result of the backlog of water from the mills, the low slope of the terrain in the lowlands resulted in extensive waterlogging and swamping of the area, which caused problems and major damage, especially with the frequent floods. The bush mill and the watermill small flour played a special role. The waterlogging and swamping of the area made itself felt up to the edge of the village and the area was sometimes also called frogland , as so many frogs lived in the numerous watercourses and ponds that you could hear their croaking for hours on mild spring evenings . In Ortrander Pflege there is said to have been a frog hunter even up until the beginning of the 19th century, who sought out the frogs useful for the kitchen .

In the course of the later river regulation, these problematic mill dams on the Schwarzen Elster and the Pulsnitz were removed.

The regulations of the Schwarzen Elster and the Pulsnitz in the area of ​​Schraden

The confluence of the Pulsnitz in the Black Elster in Elsterwerda
The Pulsnitz in Ortrand

With the construction of the new Pulsnitzgraben from Lindenau in 1584, today known as Pulsnitz or Neue Pulsnitz , Elector August von Sachsen wanted the swamps in the Schraden to dry out. During the construction of the trench, for the entire course of which a gradient of eight cubits was planned, around 1900 workers from various Saxon authorities were employed. Nevertheless, later floods continued in the Schraden because the watercourse was not always sufficiently cleared.

From 1817 the Prussian provincial government tried to develop plans for regulating the Black Elster and had the river measured from 1830 to 1834 at state expense. However, the Association for the Regulation of the Black Magpie was not founded until 1852 .

The Saxon Elector August von Sachsen had already tried to regulate the river with the help of his ordinance on mill things communicated in 1561 Codicis Augustei . With this ordinance, it was divided into 170 sections and each Elstermühle received, among other things, precise regulations on how far the water was to be dammed and how high the protective boards could be, but this turned out to be unsuitable to prevent the recurring floods. On May 10, 1852, the first earthworks began in a construction phase near the village of Zeischa near Liebenwerda . In the years that followed, up to 1200 workers were deployed on a ninety-kilometer stretch for the regulation work, which significantly influenced and changed the development of the Schraden lowlands, as the groundwater level of the Schraden fell by one meter after the hydraulic engineering work was completed. In the course of the regulation, a total of 80,000 acres of swamp was made usable. After more than ten years, construction work was finished in the spring of 1864. The estimated costs of 290,000 thalers put in a report by the hydraulic engineering inspector Zimmermann in 1849 amounted to 766,000 thalers by 1857 alone. The regulation of the New Pulsnitz , which flows out at Elsterwerda, caused another cost of 30,000 thalers.

In 1853 the owner of the Mückenberg ironworks, Detlev von Einsiedel , had the Plessa shipping lock built in order to make the Mückenberg - Wahrenbrück route navigable. Sailing ships operated this route for twenty years to transport Raseneisenstein for smelting. With increasing siltation, however, shipping became unprofitable and soon ceased and the Plessa lock was dismantled again in 1876.

Elsterwerda-Grödel raft canal

In 1702, plans began to connect the Elbe and the Black Elster with a canal . Since the Ore Mountains were already largely exploited and the Bohemian wood was expensive, it was supposed to satisfy the high demand for wood in the Dresden - Meißen area by means of rafts from the Niederlausitz forests, which at that time were largely untouched. Therefore, under the direction of Johann Müller, the construction of the Elsterwerda-Grödel raft canal began in 1742, which was opened in 1748. The logs came here about different trenches, such as the opening out at Plessa in the Schwarze Elster Floßgraben that Pulsnitz and Schwarze Elster by the Schraden for lumberyard in Elsterwerda, was split here into logs and then on barges to Meissen and Dresden towed . After the timber transports were stopped in 1833 and the Elsterwerda– Riesa railway line was built in 1875, the canal lost its importance for freight transport, especially on the section that had been Prussian since 1816. Even if the navigability of the canal was restored again in 1859 and 1869, it never regained its former importance. The last barge passed the canal shortly after the Second World War on July 24, 1947. It now has the status of an architectural monument .

At the beginning of the 20th century, plans were being made to build a large shipping canal that would connect the Elbe to the Oder via the Black Elster and the Spree . This was intended for barges of up to 1000 tons (length: 80 meters, width: 9.2 meters, draft: 1.75 to 2.00 meters) and above. Sections of the Elsterwerda-Grödel raft canal and the Schraden area should also be included in the options being considered. Although a canal construction office was set up in Senftenberg , whose lignite mining area would have benefited most from the project, in January 1928 , the construction of the shipping route did not take place and the projects did not go beyond the planning stage until the Second World War.


Offices and communities of the Schraden area

Hohenleipisch with the cherry blossom
Plessa power plant

The Ortrand office is located in the east of the valley. It includes the town of Ortrand, first mentioned in a document in 1238, with the district of Burkersdorf and the communities of Großkmehlen with the districts of Frauwalde and Kleinkmehlen , Frauendorf , Kroppen , Lindenau and Tettau .

In the north is the district of Plessa with the former lignite mining community of Plessa and its districts Plessa-Süd, Kahla and Döllingen . The municipality of Hohenleipisch also belongs to the office . This is located with its district Dreska on the Hohenleipisch-Plessa terminal moraine, which extends north of the Schraden. It became known because of the former large number of local pottery companies . The village is surrounded by numerous orchards. The municipality of Schraden was not established until 1929 .

In the south is the Schradenland office with the traditional Schraden communities Großthiemig , Hirschfeld , Gröden and Merzdorf .

The town of Lauchhammer in the east is an unofficial community in the lowlands, which is characterized by lignite mining and which emerged as a large community in 1950 from the towns of Naundorf, Bockwitz, Mückenberg and Dolsthaida and was only granted town charter in 1953 . The town of Elsterwerda, first mentioned in a document in 1211, with its districts Kraupa , Biehla , Krauschütz and Kotschka, is located in the west as an unofficial municipality .

In the southwest of the lowland is the village of Wainsdorf , which belongs to the municipality of Röderland . South of the border with Saxony on the Merzdorf-Ortrander terminal moraine are the places Frauenhain (zu Röderaue ), Strauch and the places Oelsnitz, Brößnitz and Blochwitz, which belong to the municipality of Lampertswalde .

Place names of Schraden

In the Schraden area, place names predominate whose origin is Slavic . They are mainly assigned to the natural area. The place name of the northern Schraden community Dreska, for example, probably originally comes from the Slavic word drezg (a) , which means forest or wood. Other place names give references to a body of water or a swamp, such as Großthiemig, whose supposed Slavic original word tymjo means swamp. The Slavic original word Kovali (forge) of the place Kahla describes the activity of the former inhabitants. In addition, the Slavic place names contain the names of people, such as Tet in Tettau to the east. Various field names in this area also suggest Slavic origins . These are mainly concentrated on the right side of the Black Elster.

The basic word -dorf often occurs in German place names in connection with German personal names , such as Merzdorf, Wainsdorf or Burkersdorf. Other basic German words in the area are -berg (Mückenberg), -walde (Frauwalde) or -feld in Hirschfeld in southern Schradenland.


Typical property on the former reissue dam

In the Schraden there are a number of former outworks , which are still located away from the villages as settlements in the middle of the lowlands.

At the end of the 17th century, the first works on the Reissdamm and the Oberbuschhaus were built by the Elsterwerda rulers. Around the same time, the Vorwerk Rotes Buschhaus of the Großkmehlen lordship was built. Soon disputes arose between the two gentlemen because of their activities, such as building buildings, digging trenches or clearing the Schradenwald, which were also carried out in court. The area of ​​the Vorwerk Oberbuschhaus, managed by a court master , three servants and three maids, was given in 1727 as about 76.37 hectares.

While the Vorwerk Buschhaus (Kaupen-Vorwerk) is already recorded in an original table sheet from 1847, the Vorwerk Schönau and Schradenau (also shown as Lappige Jacket on some maps) only came into being after the separation in Schraden.


regional customs

Carnival in the Plessa cultural center

The Schraden is part of the Saxon folk culture, which was influenced by the border location to Lusatia and the Sorbian population . In the Schraden communities, for example, due to their formerly remote traffic control, rural customs have been preserved up to the present day, with traditional Sorbian customs being mixed with those of the German population. In addition to the annual church highlights of Easter , Whitsun and Christmas , there is still camping in many places , with groups in funny disguise moving from house to house and demanding monetary and material donations from the residents by presenting small cultural contributions. In addition to kindergarten groups and youth clubs, this tradition is again cultivated by village and local communities. Other highlights include the traditional maypole , Thanksgiving - and parish fairs , youth carnival and the Ruprechten called giving gifts during the festive season. In Plessa, the annual carnival is one of the largest in the region and the place is considered a regional carnival stronghold with its numerous events during this time.

Annual highlights in Schraden are traditionally the Lindenau Park Festival , the Hirschfeld Music Festival and the Großthiemiger pot market . Other events launched in recent years include the Spring Festival and the Historic Shopping Night in Elsterwerda, the Blossom Festival and the Niederlausitzer Apple Days in Döllingen and the Plessaer Mill Festival .


Detail of a painting by Hans Nadler in the Liebenwerda home calendar 1914

The Schraden area once had its own costume , some of which was still used by women and girls until the 1930s, especially in the villages of Val Gardena, Hirschfeld and Großthiemig. A male costume was largely lost in the middle of the 19th century. The details of the different variants for women and men showed similarities with the Sorbian costumes still worn in the present day around Hoyerswerda . There are also said to have been parallels to the former costumes of the area around Großenhain.

The headgear of women and girls, which is a specialty, consisted of a cardboard ring that was open at the top and was wrapped with a cloth folded diagonally into a bandage, which was knotted at the front so that the ends protruded like small wings. The height of the ring was six to eight centimeters for the girls, eleven centimeters in the front and ten centimeters in the back for the women. It was covered with an embroidered cloth called a floor . The women had two ruffles on the side, which were called ears . The cover was held in place by a tape that was laid across the top and tied under the chin.

For the skirts of the traditional costumes, the three steps were characteristic as decorative elements. Depending on the occasion, different symbolic colors were used for the individual elements, with the members of the village communities exercising collective control over the costume standards.

The local researchers Ernst Seyler and M. Karl Fitzkow later seriously dealt with the Schrad costume and documented it. The painter Hans Nadler depicted the costume in his 1951 oil painting “Girls in old costumes” .

Dialect and usage


In Schraden there is no uniform dialect due to the former border location. Different dialects are spoken in the different places of the lowlands and you can sometimes tell the origin of their inhabitants from the dialect.

The west around Elsterwerda was more under the influence of the Eastern dialect of the old Saxon language area, which emerged from the Low German settlement of Saxony between the 11th and 13th centuries and is assigned to the Thuringian-Upper Saxon dialect group . From the north the Brandenburg acted on the area . The Mückenberger Ländchen in the east was influenced by the Lusatian and, like the places east of the Grenzpulsnitz, it is to be assigned to the West Lusatian dialect . In the outskirts north is mostly meißnisch spoken. In the remote southern Schraden villages between Großkmehlen and Merzdorf, the Schradenland has its own dialect, which is more distinct from the surrounding area and arose from the meeting of the various dialects.


Until the last decades of the 19th century, Sorbian was spoken in the west and north of the Schradenniederung and in the Mückenberger Ländchen , as documented by the Lower Sorbian linguist Mjertyn Moń from 1885. When he got off the train in Plessa and went on a hike to Kahla and Dreska, he often had the opportunity to use the Sorbian language .

The area around Elsterwerda in particular has long been considered a Sorbian language island, although in 1424 the Sorbian language was banned in the Meissen region and it was soon superseded. The industrial and economic development of the area around Elsterwerda did not begin until the end of the 19th century. Therefore, the Sorbian language was able to last a long time. Sorbian was understood, spoken and occasionally preached in the neighboring villages of Kahla, Plessa and Dreska.

Population development

The population of Schraden rose steadily due to the increasing industrialization of the region in the middle of the 19th century. In the places of today's urban area of ​​Lauchhammer the population increased from 4,627 in 1875 by 28,130 to 32,757 in 1964. Elsterwerda reached its highest population in 1981 with 11,572. There was also a similar development in the other Schraden communities. After the introduction of the birth control pill in the GDR in the 1960s , the number of inhabitants in the towns fell markedly. Another noticeable point was the political change in the GDR in 1989/90, which went hand in hand with an economic upheaval in the entire country. There was a further decrease in the population. The city of Lauchhammer lost around 7,000 inhabitants from 1989 to 2005, Elsterwerda around 2000 and this development can also be observed in most of the villages.

Population development in some Schraden communities from 1875 to 2005
place 1875 1925 1946 1950 1971 1989 2005
Lauchhammer 4,627 17,259 28,063 27,524 31,854 25,756 18,697
Elsterwerda 3,193 8,359 10,966 11,461 11,443 11,255 9,456
Outskirts 1,739 2,288 3,268 3,259 3.152 2,946 2,504
Val Gardena 1,000 1,284 1.991 1.939 1,686 1,866 1,629
Large flour 850 966 1,467 1,627 1,668 1,460 1,286
Great 1,200 1,516 1,776 1,742 1,568 1,462 1,203
Hirschfeld 1,000 1,142 1,588 1,571 1,547 1,613 1,456
Hohenleipisch 1,500 2,888 4.016 3,937 3,252 2,626 2,552
Plessa 1,600 3,418 4,409 4,946 4,799 3,990 3.216
Lindenau 450 663 867 909 1,032 888 773



Pasture near Hirschfeld

Agriculture is traditionally of great importance in Schraden and almost all places in the lowland have farms that have changed the appearance of Schraden, especially since the 19th century, through their activities, combined with amelioration measures and clearing. While the lowland itself is characterized by arable and pasture areas, one of the largest contiguous orchard areas in Brandenburg is located in the northwest on the Hohenleipisch-Plessa terminal moraine .

The land reform after the Second World War , which resulted in the expropriation of land, which was then handed over to new and small farmers, among others, was to have a significant impact on the development of agriculture in Schraden. Machine rental stations were set up in Plessa and Merzdorf. With the establishment of the Plessa-Süd settlement in 1947, further agricultural areas of the lowland were opened up. From 1952 agricultural production cooperatives were formed , which further intensified the agricultural use of the area. In 1967 the KOG Hirschfeld cultivated an agricultural area of ​​5720 hectares, of which 4020 hectares were arable land. Systems for animal and dairy cattle production were built in Val Gardena, where around 8,000 pigs were kept, as well as in Hirschfeld and Kahla.

After the political change in the GDR, the agricultural production structures in Schraden changed. The arable and pasture areas are currently mainly managed by agricultural cooperatives and private companies. A biogas plant was built in Val Gardena in which up to 80,000 t / a cattle and pig manure and 30,000 t / a organic waste can be converted into biogas and energy.

Industry and commerce

The cities of Lauchhammer, Elsterwerda and Ortrand are the industrial centers of Schraden.

The town of Lauchhammer, located in the northeast of the lowland, with 18,021 inhabitants (2007) is one of the oldest and most important industrial locations in the region. Already in 1725 Baroness Benedicta Margareta von Löwendal was granted feudal rights by the Saxon Elector August the Strong to operate an iron foundry, the Lauchhammer in today's urban area. After her death in 1776, she bequeathed all of her property, including the iron foundry, to her godchild Detlev Carl von Einsiedel , who made the city a cradle of iron art casting. With the discovery of extensive lignite deposits in the vicinity of the city, numerous lignite mines emerged and the construction of the Kohlfurt – Falkenberg / Elster railway line in 1874 by the Upper Lusatian Railway Company brought about a significant economic upswing in the places that make up today's urban area. Shortly after the founding of the large community of Lauchhammer in 1950, the construction of a large brown coal coking plant began , which opened up in 1958 in the VEB Braunkohlenkombinat Lauchhammer together with eight briquette factories , the Klettwitz, Kleinleipisch and Grünewalde open-cast mines and six power plants with a total of around 13,000 employees. Heavy mechanical engineering was another industrial focus in Lauchhammer. In the 1980s, VEB TAKRAF built conveyor bridges of the F60 series , which are considered to be the largest mobile technical machines in the world.

One of the largest mobile technical machines in the world, the
F60 overburden conveyor bridge built in Lauchhammer

After the political change in the GDR , there was an economic upheaval. The large coking plant, most of the briquette factories, power plants and other industrial operations had to close due to a lack of competitiveness. The cessation of open-cast mining took place in Klettwitz in 1992 and in Klettwitz-Nord a year later.

Currently, the city is part of the growth core of West Lusatia with over twelve industrial parks . The main sectors are plastics, machine and steel construction. In addition, the city is striving to build on its former importance as a location for energy generation.

Business park east in Elsterwerda

The town of Elsterwerda (as of 2007) in the west of Schraden, with 9,096 inhabitants, has served as a medium-sized center together with Bad Liebenwerda since 1995 . The traditional industry focus of the town is the metal industry with 15 companies and around 700 employees. The city has three industrial areas and was awarded the Commune of the Year Entrepreneurship Prize by the East German Savings Banks and Giro Association in 2005 . Due to its educational institutions, such as the Elsterschlossgymnasium and the Upper School Center Elbe-Elster , the place is also important as a school town for the region. With the Campina dairy plants , one of the most modern and efficient dairies in Europe is located. In the industrial park east there is a biomass cogeneration plant which belongs to the Expo 2000 project climate protection region Elbe-Elster and was built between 2003 and 2004 .

The city of Ortrand in the southeast of the area has a six hectare industrial park. The industry focus of the city with 2370 inhabitants (2007) is also the metal industry, the largest of which is the Ortrander ironworks.

The Schraden Economic Area Association is also committed to the development of the economy in the region . V. , which was founded in 2000. The aim of the association is the promotion and implementation of various projects for the development of this economic area. Members of the association are various offices, municipalities and companies from the region, such as the Schradenland office, Elsterwerda, the spa town of Bad Liebenwerda and the Röderland municipality .


Federal highways 101 and 169 cross in Elsterwerda to the west . The latter leads east via Plessa and Lauchhammer to Ruhland , where there is a connection to the BAB 13 , which touches the lowland area in a north-south direction. Another motorway connection is in Ortrand.

The Schraden is affected in a north-south direction by the Berlin – Dresden railway line , into which the Zeithain – Elsterwerda railway line joins Elsterwerda and forms a railway junction with the Węgliniec – Roßlau railway line , which runs through the area in an east-west direction. The Grossenhain – Cottbus railway runs through the eastern Schraden and touches the town of Ortrand.

Culture and sights in the Schraden area

Leisure and Tourism

Signpost on the Reissdamm

Several cycle paths through the Schraden area connect the places and the sights of the lowlands with one another, with the Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft nature park and the surrounding area. The 1111-kilometer Tour Brandenburg cycle route , which opened in 2007, is Germany's longest long-distance cycle route through the lowlands. Further cycle routes are the Fürst-Pückler-Radweg , the 108 kilometer-long Schwarze-Elster-Radweg , the Fürstenstrasse of the Wettiner and the coal-wind & water route opened in 2007 .

Some hiking trails and nature trails are marked in the Schraden Mountains. Water tourism on the Schwarzen Elster is under construction with several landing stages and boat stations.

In Elsterwerda there is a 30,000 square meter adventure miniature park in the immediate vicinity of the post mill. In addition to true-to-scale miniatures of sights in the region, it offers a rosarium with around 500 different types of roses, a 400-square-meter LGB garden railway, a 680-meter-long 7¼- inch park railway  , a mini Lausitzring with a 170-meter-long racing track for model cars and a Adventure knight castle.

There are outdoor pools in Merzdorf, Großthiemig, Ortrand and Lauchhammer. A swimming pool can be found in Lauchhammer. In the spa town of Bad Liebenwerda, about ten kilometers west of the Schraden, there is a spa, health, relaxation, wellness and tourism center with the Fontana clinics and the Lausitztherme Wonnemar .


Small gallery "Hans Nadler"

The Art Casting Museum Lauchhammer, opened in 1993, is located in the immediate vicinity of Germany's oldest art foundry . In addition to iron and bronze castings, models and historical documents from the history of the art foundry, which was founded in the city by Detlev Carl von Einsiedel in 1776 , are shown. In 1784 the Graeflich-Einsiedelschen Eisenwerk Lauchhammer succeeded in casting a figurative statue in iron for the first time.

The historic arcade house of the Small Gallery Hans Nadler , built around 1720/25, is one of the oldest buildings in Elsterwerda. A permanent exhibition on the upper floor of the half-timbered house pays tribute to the work of the painter Hans Nadler, who was born in Elsterwerda in 1879, and highlights his close relationship with the city and the neighboring landscape of Schraden. Exhibitions by regional artists and other cultural events take place in the basement. Immediately in front of the building on a small square with the Eulenspiegel fountain is a sculpture from 1980 by the local artist Hans Eickworth .

Hirschfeld home parlor

In the premises of the City History and Schraden Museum in Ortrand there is a cabinet exhibition with works by the artist Joachim Schmidt, who was born in Ortrand .

The district museum Bad Liebenwerda shows a permanent exhibition on the roots of the historical central German traveling puppet theater with the Liebenwerda surroundings, a permanent exhibition on the composers Graun brothers, who were born in Wahrenbrück , as well as special exhibitions on various historical and cultural topics. It also deals with history and culture in the area of ​​the former Bad Liebenwerda district to which the Schraden belonged to a large extent. A large number of writings dealing with the culture and history of this landscape were published by the museum itself, at its suggestion or with its help.

The Torhausmuseum Lindenau is housed in the rooms of the gatehouse from 1690, which is located between the castle and the church with a arched passage with a groin vault. In addition to a home parlor, a clock museum can also be visited there.

Other parlors are located in Hirschfeld with an agricultural exhibition and in Val Gardena.


Castles and parks in the Schraden area

Elsterwerda Castle
Großkmehlen Castle

The Elsterschloss in Elsterwerda was built at the beginning of the 18th century as a hunting lodge on the site of a castle that was probably built in the 13th century and was once the starting point for many hunts in Schraden. The royal Polish and electoral Saxon high court marshal Freiherr Woldemar von Loewendahl had renovation work carried out on a four-winged palace complex built in the 16th century. August the Strong , who came into possession of the castle in 1727, initiated further renovations according to plans by his court builder Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann , with which the castle was given its present form. From 1858 the castle served as a teachers' college, which later was replaced by other school facilities. At the castle is originally in the 18th century includes baroque garden -scale park and a native of the 19th century landscape park at.

The listed park of the former Mückenberg Castle , which was completely destroyed by fire shortly after the end of the Second World War, is located in Lauchhammer's West district . The Mückenberg Castle Church, built in 1746, can be found in the park . The palace park was badly affected in January 2007 by hurricane Kyrill , which caused severe damage to the area. Open-air concerts are occasionally held there .

Lindenau Castle was probably built in 1584 by Lothar von Minckwitz on the foundations of an old moated castle. After the Thirty Years' War, the gatehouse was built in 1690, giving the castle the character of a castle. The baroque garden was laid out by the von Gersdorff family from 1736 . The Saxon Minister Heinrich Graf von Brühl bought the castle as early as 1744 . In 1833, his descendants sold the building to Rochus Ernst zu Lynar , who married the princes of Lynar in 1917. In 1920 the owners added two side wings to the castle. In 1945 the royal family was expropriated. The building was initially used for teacher training, and from 1953 to 1998 as a children's home. Lindenau Castle was sold to a private investor in 1998. The establishment of a senior citizens' residence in the castle that he intended, however, could not be realized. A 23-hectare English landscape park is attached to the palace complex, the main features of which were created around 1881.

The Großkmehlen moated castle, which is currently owned by Brandenburgische Schlösser GmbH , was built in the 16th century using an older predecessor. A dry moat surrounding the castle and an adjoining park that is around 400 years old have largely been preserved.


Hirschfelder Church

The core of the late Gothic building of St. George's Church is located in Großkmehlen . The church, which was built in the 15th century, received its present appearance after renovations between 1716 and 1718. A Silbermann organ that was restored between 1995 and 1996 and inaugurated in 1718 also dates from this period . A receipt for 1000 thalers for the organ is one of two surviving handwritten documents by Gottfried Silbermann . The oldest piece of equipment in the church is a sacrament niche in the east wall from the first half of the 15th century. An altar from around 1500 is shrouded in legend.

The Evangelical Church of St. Katharina , which dates from the 15th century, is located in the city center of Elsterwerda. Here are twelve von Maltitz's portrait gravestones , nine of which date from the 16th and the rest from the 17th century. The pulpit altar dates from the middle of the 18th century. The octagonal baptismal font with crossed tracery was created between 1520 and 1530 and bears three lilies of the old Elsterwerda noble family von Köckritz on the shaft . In the anteroom of the church there is a memorial for the dead of the First World War, which was designed in 1922-23 with sgraffito murals by Hans Nadler.

The late Baroque Hirschfeld Church, visible from afar , was built in 1786 and had several previous buildings. Their bells, cast in Lauchhammer, date from 1997. Another late baroque church is on the village green in Kahla. The stone church in Hohenleipisch dates from the 13th century . In the lower part of the Val Gardena you can find the stone building of the Martinskirche, which was built between 1582 and 1594. The remains of a late Romanesque chapel are probably hidden in the choir .

In the outskirts is the late Gothic three-aisled hall church of St. Barbara , whose foundation stone was laid in 1563. It received its present form between 1728 and 1732 by the builder of the Dresden Frauenkirche , George Bähr . The Romanesque hall church St. Jacobi in Ortrand was mentioned as early as 1432 . Inside there is a Gothic winged altar and an epitaph from 1543 for Heinrich and Margarethe von Lüttichau.

There are other churches in Plessa, Lauchhammer, Dreska and other places in the Schraden area.

Technical buildings

Post mill Elsterwerda
Bertzitturm Kahla

The Elsterwerda post mill is located not far from the Black Elster in the eastern industrial area of ​​Elsterwerda, in the immediate vicinity of the miniature and adventure park created in 2007. It is the last post mill that has been preserved in the city and is a listed building . In the interior of the mill there is a display system with vessels, products and tools from everyday life in the mill.

About eight kilometers upstream on the right side of the Schwarzen Elster is the Elstermühle Plessa , a water mill that originally consisted of two mills, a cutting mill and a grain mill . It has an idle display system and a small museum, and there is a small sawmill in the outbuilding. The office of the Förderverein Naturpark Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft e.V. is located in the mill building . V., a base of the nature watch and the restaurant Mühlenschänke .

The Plessa power plant is also located in the municipality of Plessa . The industrial monument is one of the oldest lignite-fired power plants in Europe that has been preserved in its original structure . The power plant was commissioned by the Gröba Electricity Association in 1927 and was one of the most modern peak-load power plants of the time in the 1920s and 1930s . In 1992 the power plant was shut down and taken off the grid. As an adventure power plant , it was included in the project list of the International Building Exhibition Fürst-Pückler-Land (IBA) in 1998 under the motto Power Plant in Transition and its demolition was prevented.

Another IBA project is located in Lauchhammer with the bio towers . In the towers built in 1958, phenol-containing wastewater from the former lignite coking plant was biologically treated by trickling it over slag. These last relics of local coke production, which was in operation until 1993, have been open to the public since summer 2008. Visitors can climb one of the towers and look over glazed viewing platforms far over the former industrial area and the neighboring Schraden to the south.

A highly visible landmark is the 35 meter high Bertzit Tower in Kahla . The steel frame is a boondoggle lignite upgrading from the year 1920. The plan was north of Kahla a Tieftemperaturverkohlung of lignite from the nearby pit Ada in a factory, in the so-called Berzitverfahren a process for coal drying, being used should.

Other structures

The parsonage in Hirschfeld , built in 1553 and expanded in 1690, was included in the list of monuments of the state of Brandenburg. The clay connections in the quarry stone masonry of the half-timbered house are still clearly visible. After the demolition of the building had already been decided in 1936 and it was to be replaced by a new building, it was repaired again because the funds for the new building were not released. Further renovation measures followed after 1967 when the building was to be abandoned again. In 1998 an archive was set up in the rectory through renovations. The rooms on the ground floor are currently used for community events.

The old building of the communal bakery in Großthiemig was on the verge of being demolished due to its poor condition in the mid-1970s. The then monument protection officer of the Bad Liebenwerda district advocated its preservation, pointing out that it was one of the last communal bakeries in what was once Saxony. It was repaired again by the end of 1975.

Saxon-Prussian boundary stones

Border stone no. 180 on the Elsterwerda-Grödel raft canal between Prösen and Gröditz

Along the former Saxon-Prussian border line that was created in 1815 as a result of the Congress of Vienna, boundary stones were set up between 1817 and 1818 to mark them, which are under monument protection. According to an inventory from 1997 and 1998, 22 of the former 28 specimens in the Schraden area between Heinersdorf in the east and Wainsdorf in the west are still available. The stones in this area, which were once made of so-called Posta sandstone in the form of prisms or truncated pyramids, are numbered on two sides with the letters KS for the Kingdom of Saxony and KP for the Kingdom of Prussia . In 2010/2011 an approx. 25 km walkable hiking trail was created along the historical border. Since 2009 a guided hike to the boundary stones has been offered every year on the first weekend in September.

Representation of the damage in art

Portrait of the painter Walter Besig, drawn by his wife Mary Lloyd

Above all, the two local artists Walter Besig and Hans Nadler , who became known as Schradenmaler, captured this lowland landscape and the people living there in their numerous pictures. In the small gallery Hans Nadler in Elsterwerda, exhibitions of regional artists and other cultural events have been held since 1980. A permanent exhibition on the upper floor of the half-timbered house pays tribute to the work of the painter, who was born in the city in 1879, and highlights his close relationship with the city of Elsterwerda and the neighboring Schraden.

The painter Erich Kunisch grew up in the small Schradengemeinde Frauwalde. Here he met Besig and the war-wounded local painter Joseph Stoll in early childhood. Kunisch, who suffered from epilepsy in his youth , mostly spent his free time with Stoll due to prescribed nature visits. The two painters gave him access to painting and learned how to closely observe nature.

The painter Franz Schreyer dealt with the heather and moorlands bordering on the north. Another artist was Johann Karl Gottlieb Kahlau (1791–1856), by whom numerous drawings have been preserved. His son Karl Christoph Kahlau (1824–1880) also became a painter, of whom there are still numerous works. Herbert Grauel (1905–1949), who worked as a porcelain painter in the Meißen porcelain factory , left a drawing with the Ortrander pot market and the house where he was born. He was also the author of the 1936 travel description Between Silesia and Sachsenland excursion to the border area of ​​the Old Mark Meißen . The three-volume work Flora im Schraden by the portrait and genre painter and student of the Dresden Art Academy Adolf Theodor Werner is considered lost. Other native painters of Schraden were Erich Thieme (1913–1944), Rudolf Hermann Erdmann Mischke (1893–1971) and Edgar Walter Schmidt (1901–1971).

The Schraden in literature

Settlement Plessa-Süd, subject of the book "The Village in the Wilderness"

From the area of ​​Schraden, where literary work is proven as early as the 17th century, writers are known who were closely connected to this region or who dealt with it. With "Thanks minded farewell Ortrant" to 1675 Tobias Petermann is known. The Diakonus Knoll from Großkmehlen wrote a large number of texts with reference to the Schraden around 1750 and Julius Bernhard von Rohr , who grew up in his father's castle in Elsterwerda, was one of the best-known authors of German household literature at the beginning of the 18th century , which was used as advice literature among other things is considered the forerunner of modern cookbooks . Later, the teachers' seminar, which was set up from 1856 to 1925, played a major role in the intellectual and cultural life of the region. There were seminar teachers and students who became known through literary and scientific publications, such as Hermann Kahle , Ulrich Kleist , Wilhelm Teschner , Johannes Gillhoff and the writer Klaus Beuchler . In 1955 he described in his book “The Village in the Wilderness” the dramatic course of the founding of Plessa-Süd in the middle of the Schraden lowlands after the Second World War. His brother-in-law, Benno Pludra , born in Mückenberg , became one of the most famous children's book authors in the GDR . There are also numerous publications in periodicals that deal with this area, such as the “Liebenwerdaer Heimatkalender” published since 1913 and other local and natural history publications. The Hirschfeld teacher Ernst Seyler wrote about the dialect and customs of Schraden. The Würdenhain local researcher and teacher Rudolf Matthies (1909-1996) published, among other things, legends from the Schraden region. In the present, Dietrich Hanspach is particularly prominent with his numerous publications on the region. The book “Der Schraden. A regional inventory in the Elsterwerda, Lauchhammer, Hirschfeld and Ortrand area ” .

Say of Schradens

Ripping dam

The swampy lowlands and the once dense lonely forests of the Schraden provided the material for a whole series of legends, some of which were published in the Liebenwerda local calendar and in the Black Elster , a local history supplement of the Liebenwerdaer Kreisblatt.

The legend of the Reissdamm tells of the construction of the Reissdamm leading through the middle of the swampy lowland . A knight is said to have once lived there in his castle, to whom a maiden had to be sacrificed every year until the farmers in the area put an end to his goings-on.

A legend from Großkmehlen, of which there are different versions, is about a stolen altar. A knight is said to have stolen a winged altar at witching hour from a strange church and brought it to his castle. In order to spare her son the punishment customary for church robbers at the time of being boiled in oil, the knight's mother finally murdered him from behind with a dagger. A non-removable blood stain in the plaster is said to have testified to this act for centuries.

The legend of the Elsterwerda stone cross , which is located in the direction of Großenhain at the end of the village, is about a murdered traveler . In the forest between Plessa and Döllingen there is said to have been a place marked with a cross made of forest moss, where a landowner was buried who allegedly died of grief over a stolen harrow.

Other legends are: The Stone Cross and the Pestilence in Mückenberg (Lauchhammer), The Nixen von Seifertsmühl , The Merzdorfer Brautfahrt , The Fuhrmann von Plessa , The Murder Pit Bridge (Krauschütz), The Devil in the Shepherd's House (Dreska) and The Evil Hunter (Lindenau) .

Personalities of Schraden (selection)

→ See also: Lists of personalities in the Schraden local articles

Bust of Detlev Carl Graf von Einsiedel in front of the St. Mauritius Church in Wolkenburg


  • Home calendar for the Bad Liebenwerda district . Bad Liebenwerda (local history book series, since 1912).
  • Klaus Beuchler : The village in the wilderness . Grandstand, Berlin 1955.
  • Luise Grundmann, Dietrich Hanspach: The Schraden. A regional study in the Elsterwerda, Lauchhammer, Hirschfeld and Ortrand area . Ed .: Institute for Regional Geography Leipzig and the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-412-10900-2 . - Volume 63 of the series values ​​of the German homeland
  • Heimatverein Elsterwerda und Umgebung e. V., Heimatverein for research into the Saxon steelworks, Gröditzer Stahlwerke GmbH (publisher): 250 years of the Grödel-Elsterwerda raft canal 1748–1998 . Lampertswalde 1997.
  • Sebastian Rick: You plowed and you spread the seeds on the land ... The collectivization of agriculture in the Schradenland (1952–1960) . Master's thesis in modern and recent history at the TU Dresden. 2009, ISBN 3-932913-09-4 .
  • Hiking and cycling map : Grossenhainer Pflege - Westlausitz - Der Schraden (1: 50,000), Dresden 2003, ISBN 3-932281-12-8 .

Web links

Commons : Schraden  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

The main sources for the article were “Der Schraden. A geographical inventory in the area of ​​Elsterwerda, Lauchhammer, Hirschfeld and Ortrand ” by Luise Grundmann and Dietrich Hanspach as well as various articles from the local history book series “ Heimatkalender für den Kreis Bad Liebenwerda ” published since 1912 in Bad Liebenwerda .

  1. a b local homepage of Hirschfeld
  2. Ministry of Rural Development, Environment and Consumer Protection ( Memento of March 3, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Luise Grundmann, Dietrich Hanspach: Der Schraden , p. 13/14 Böhlau, September 2001, ISBN 978-3-412-10900-4 - Measured values ​​1951–1980 Precipitation: Elsterwerda
  4. Geoclimate 2.1
  5. a b Luise Grundmann, Dietrich Hanspach: Der Schraden , p. 14 Böhlau, September 2001, ISBN 978-3-412-10900-4 - Measured values ​​1951–1980 Precipitation: Elsterwerda
  6. a b Nature Reserve Kleine Wiesen (PDF; 12 kB).
  7. Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg (Ed.): Species protection program black grouse . Potsdam December 2000, p. 14 .
  8. Dietrich Dolch u. a .: The beaver in the state of Brandenburg. In: Nature conservation and landscape maintenance in Brandenburg. Volume 11, Number 4, 2002, Se. 220–234 archive link ( memento of April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  9. Prignitzer project for the reintroduction of salmon ( Memento of February 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  10. First salmon wriggles in the landing net , Lausitzer Rundschau , Senftenberg regional edition , November 10, 2007
  11. Michael Seidel: When did the salmon disappear from the Black Elster system? In: Home calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts of the town on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg 2004/2005 . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 2004, p. 247-251 .
  12. Nature park homepage
  13. Ordinance on the "Elsteraue" landscape protection area ( Memento of December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  14. List of landscape protection areas in Brandenburg ( Memento from February 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  15. a b
  17. ^ Protected area information in the state of Brandenburg
  18. List of nature reserves in Brandenburg ( Memento from May 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 166 kB).
  19. ^ Markus Agthe: Prehistory and early history. In: The Schraden. A regional study in the Elsterwerda, Lauchhammer, Hirschfeld and Ortrand area . Ed .: Institute for Regional Geography Leipzig and the Saxon Acad. Der Wiss. to Leipzig. Böhlau, Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-412-10900-2 , pp. 26 to 29 .
  20. Martin Salesch: Settlement and iron smelting in the Elbe-Elster area during the Roman Empire. In: Publications of the Brandenburg State Museum for Prehistory and Early History . tape 30 , 1996, pp. 153 to 194 .
  21. City of Elsterwerda (ed.): Where Germanic tribes once settled - excavations in the industrial area east in Elsterwerda . (Flyer).
  22. Otto Posse, Hubert Ermisch: Codex Diplomaticus Saxoniae Regiae "Documents of the Margraves of Meißen 1196-1234" . Giesecke & Devrient, Leipzig 1898, p. 122 to 123 . (on-line)
  23. Rudolf Matthies: The Schraden as an old hunting area. In: Home calendar for the Bad Liebenwerda district . Ed .: Working groups of nature and homeland friends of the German Cultural Association in the Bad Liebenwerda district. Bad Liebenwerda 1959, p. 91 .
  24. Rudolf Matthies: The Schraden as an old hunting area. In: Home calendar for the Bad Kreis Liebenwerda . Ed .: Working groups of friends of nature and home of the German Cultural Association in the Bad Liebenwerda district. Bad Liebenwerda 1959, p. 91 to 95 .
  25. Luise Grundmann, Dietrich Hanspach: Der Schraden. A regional study in the Elsterwerda, Lauchhammer, Hirschfeld and Ortrand area . Ed .: Institute for Regional Geography Leipzig and the Saxon Acad. Der Wiss. to Leipzig. Böhlau, Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-412-10900-2 , pp. 121-136 .
  26. Local homepage of Hirschfeld im Schraden ( Memento from August 13, 2007 in the web archive )
  27. Pestalloziverein the province of Saxony (ed.): Frog country. In: The Province of Saxony in words and pictures . 1902, p. 282-286 .
  28. Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda (Hrsg.): Home calendar for the country between the Elbe and Elster. No 54 . Gräser Verlag, Großenhain 2001, ISBN 3-932913-22-1 . Werner Galle, Ottmar Gottschlich: The Elsterwerdaer Holzhof
  29. List of monuments of the Elbe-Elster district (PDF).
  30. Heimatverein Elsterwerda and the surrounding area (ed.): 250 years of the Grödel-Elsterwerda raft canal 1748–1998 . Lampertswalde 1997
  31. Homepage of the Plessa Carnival Club e. V.
  32. ^ Andreas Pretzel : Hans Nadler . Cultural Office of the Elbe-Elster District, 1999, ISBN 3-00-004516-3 , page 105/106
  33. ^ Roland Müller: Elsterwerdsch . In: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda (Ed.): Local calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg . Starke and Sachse, Großenhain 1995. pp. 62-64.
  34. Gunter Bergmann: Small Saxon Dictionary, 1989.
  35. ^ M. Karl Fitzkow: Sorbian people in the district and its extinction in the 19th century . In: Home calendar for the Bad Liebenwerda district 1963, pp. 135–140.
  36. Historical municipality directory 2005 for Brandenburg
  37. Historical municipality directory 2005 for Brandenburg
  38. ^ Schradenbiogas GmbH
  39. Manfred Bensing among others: Lexicon cities and coats of arms of the German Democratic Republic . VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, Leipzig 1985, p. 243-244 .
  40. Lauchhammer ( Memento from August 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  41. ( Location development concept for growth core West Lusatia )
  42. Regional growth core Westlausitz Finsterwalde - Großräschen - Lauchhammer - Schwarzheide - Senftenberg location development concept
  43. ^ Schraden economic area ( Memento from December 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  44. The Black Elster Cycle Path on magicmaps
  45. Cycle Tour Coal-Wind & Water - An Energy Historical Foray , Elbe-Elster District, 2007 ( Memento from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  46. Elsterwerda Miniature Park
  47. The Art Casting Museum at
  48. ^ Günter Brochwitz: Lauchhammer as the cradle of iron art casting. In: Home calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 2003, ISBN 3-932913-44-2 , p. 222-231 .
  51. The Großkmehlen moated castle
  52. ^ The Großkmehlener Silbermann organ ( Memento from October 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  53. Reinhard Kißro: The parish church of St. Georg zu Großkmehlen and its art monuments, part 1. In: Local calendar for the Bad Liebenwerda district and the Mückenberger Ländchen . Bad Liebenwerda 1994, p. 129-133 .
  54. a b Reinhard Kißro: The parish church of St. Georg zu Großkmehlen and its art monuments, part 2. In: Local calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 1995, p. 267-272 .
  55. Reinhard Kißro: The parish church of St. Georg zu Großkmehlen and its art monuments - Part 3. In: Local calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 1996, p. 163-177 .
  56. Reinhard Kißro: The parish church of St. Georg zu Großkmehlen and its art monuments part 4. In: Local calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 1998, p. 169-177 .
  57. ^ Rudolf Kupfer: Renewed consecration of the Silbermann organ in Großkmehlen. In: Home calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, outskirts on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 1997, p. 134-137 .
  58. ^ Georg Dehio: Handbook of German Art Monuments, Vol . 1, Central Germany . Ernst Wasmuth, Berlin 1914
  59. ^ Office Schradenland
  60. Author collective of the MUG Brandenburg e. V .: Heimatbuch Landkreis Elbe-Elster . Herzberg 1996.
  61. ^ Georg A. Kuhlins: Monuments and preservation of monuments in the Bad Liebenwerda district . Ed .: District Museum Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 1980, p. 16/17 .
  62. Werner Kirsche: Back questions in Großthiemig. In: Home calendar for the old district of Bad Liebenwerda, the Mückenberger Ländchen, the outskirts of the town on Schraden and Uebigau-Falkenberg 1995 . Ed .: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Heimatkunde e. V. Bad Liebenwerda. Bad Liebenwerda 1995, p. 163-168 .
  63. Kathrin Kruger Mlaouhia: family reunion in the gallery. In: Saxon newspaper . November 26, 2013, accessed April 19, 2020 .
  64. From Baghdad to Dog Turkey - A book tells about the life of a teacher in Schradenland . In: Lausitzer Rundschau , Bad Liebenwerda regional edition, October 23, 2008
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on November 21, 2008 in this version .

Coordinates: 51 ° 26 '  N , 13 ° 36'  E