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Albin Enders : Vogtland March Landscape (1935)
Vogtland landscape with the Pirk motorway bridge (2017)

The Vogtland ( Czech Fojtsko , Latin Variscia ) is a region on the border between Bavaria , Saxony , Thuringia and Bohemia . "Vogtland" refers to the former domain of the bailiffs of Weida , Gera , Plauen and Greiz .

Over 550,000 people live in the whole of the Vogtland.

Name and location

Between Saxony and Franconia, Thuringia and Bohemia

It can be assumed that as early as 1180 Friedrich I (HRR) bestowed the title of advocatus ( Vogt ) on the Lords of Weida . When the parent company was divided, the title was carried on by all branches and passed on like a hereditary imperial fief. In 1254, the bailiffs of Gera, Greiz, Plauen and Weida negotiated an alliance with the Margrave Heinrich the Illustrious of Meissen, in which they appeared as equal partners. In the document they distinguished the land of the margrave (terra marchionis) from their area ( terra nostra , our land). It can be assumed that the margrave demarcated his country from the land of the bailiffs (terra advocatorum) in the opposite direction in order to distinguish the countries . However, the certificate for this has not been preserved. The name appears afterwards, in 1317 and later, as "woyte lande" or in a similar form in other documents, which, however, always contain agreements by other rulers over the Vogtland. The name Vogtland can only be proven in 1343.

The Bohemian Vogtland has its historical references in the Ascher Ländchen , which was separated from the Egerland at an early stage . The Egerland was an imperial territory before it was pledged to the Crown of Bohemia. The bailiffs expanded their sphere of influence here in the north. In 1281 Heinrich I (Plauen) received the Asch market . Johann von Böhmen left the Egerland pledged to him in 1322 by Ludwig the Bavarian to the bailiffs for administration. For this reason, some historians extend the term Vogtland to the entire Egerland.

Today Vogtland is also a colloquial term for the Vogtlandkreis . In contrast, the natural Vogtland also includes parts of Thuringia and Bavaria, but excludes the altitude focus in the east, which in natural terms must be assigned to the Western Ore Mountains.

The Vogtland itself is the namesake for a mineral that was first discovered and described here in 1837 by August Breithaupt , which was given the name Variscite after the Latin name of the country.

Museums and collections

The history of the Vogtland is dealt with, for example, by the Bavarian Vogtland Museums in Hof and the Vogtland Museum in Plauen and the Voigtsberg Castle Museum in Oelsnitz / Vogtl. In Adorf , the sights of the region are presented in the miniature exhibition area Klein-Vogtland . Museums on the rural way of life and culture of the Upper Vogtland are located in Landwüst , Eubabrunn and Bad Brambach . The musical instrument museum in Markneukirchen deals with the history of the Vogtland musical instrument making . In Adorf / Vogtl. there is also a botanical garden and a small arboretum in Klingenthal .


The landscape of the Vogtland looks very idyllic with fields, meadows and wooded hilltops. In the south and southeast, the Vogtland rises to the low mountain range and, especially in the east, also takes up parts of the Ore Mountains . This area is called the Upper Vogtland . There the coniferous forest predominates (spruce, mostly in monoculture). The city ​​of Adorf is considered the gateway to the Upper Vogtland and forms a crossroads to Bohemia and Franconia. The highest mountain in the country is the Vogt Schneehübel (974 m) in the western Erzgebirge . However, better known and more striking are the Aschberg near Klingenthal (936 m) and the Schneckenstein (883 m), both also in the Western Ore Mountains.

The more northerly hill country is cut through by some river valleys, especially the Weisse Elster and the Göltzsch . Furthermore, the Saale runs through the Bavarian and Thuringian Vogtland. Mighty bridges were built for railways and road traffic to cross the valleys. The Göltzschtalbrücke , the largest brick bridge in the world, and its “little sister”, the Elstertalbrücke , achieved particular fame . Both are railway bridges on the Nuremberg – Dresden connection. In addition to the road bridges on the A 72 autobahn at Hof (Saale Valley), at Pirk (Weisse Elster) and at Weißensand (Göltzsch), the Friedensbrücke in Plauen is of particular importance: It is the largest stone arch bridge in Europe. There are also a number of dams in the Vogtland. The Pöhl dam (Trieb, a tributary of the Weisse Elster), the Pirk dam ( Weisse Elster ), the Bleilochtalsperre (Saale), the Zeulenroda dam and the Untreusee are known as recreational areas .

In addition to the Ore Mountains, which occupy parts of the east, the Vogtland is bordered by the Thuringian Slate Mountains along with the Franconian Forest and the Fichtel Mountains in the west and southwest. The Saxon Vogtland belongs in its southeastern part to the Ore Mountains / Vogtland Nature Park . The Vogtland is part of the Euregio Egrensis , an association with working groups in Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia and the Czech Republic.

The Vogtland is one of the most volcanically active zones in Central Europe . Signs of this are swarm quakes , mineral springs and gas leaks. With 100 noticeable small earthquakes in 1824, an earthquake swarm was first described there. Stronger quakes in the region there were 1897, 1903, 1908, 1936 and 1962, 1985 and 2000 and 2014. In the winter of 1985/86 was the strongest earthquake measured in Vogtland / Bohemia that a magnitude of 4.6 on the Richter scale reached . The latest swarmquake series took place in July / August 2018. The health resorts of Bad Elster and Bad Brambach with the strongest radon source in the world have allowed springs with healing properties to flourish. With Marienbad , Franzensbad and Karlsbad on the Czech-Bohemian side, the two Saxon state baths form the so-called bath pentagon .

Major cities in the Vogtland


In the Vogtland you can mainly hear variations of East Franconian ( Upper German ). This mainly applies to the region around and south of Plauen up to the Göltzschtal with the towns of Auerbach, Rodewisch and Falkenstein. In the southeast of the Vogtland the border to the Central German dialects with the Erzgebirge and Upper Saxon is fluid. Central German dialects also predominate in the Thuringian part with variations of Thuringian. A northern Bavarian dialect is spoken in the upper Vogtland around the towns of Adorf, Markneukirchen and Bad Brambach . The dialect around Klingenthal, which is related to the Erzgebirge, has its own particularly melodic sound (singsang) . In the former Egerland part, Czech is spoken today, the Egerland (North Bavarian) dialect has been extinct there since 1946. The speakers usually simply refer to their dialect as Vogtland .


Land of the bailiffs 1350
Map from 1662
Osterburg (Weida) , seat of the Weida bailiffs

The landscape name Vogtland (formerly Voigtland, terra advocatorum ) goes back to the reigns of Weida , Gera and Plauen who ruled here from the 11th to the 16th centuries . In the 12th century, Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa appointed the first bailiffs as administrators of his eastern imperial forest areas to secure his rule, after he had taken over Heinrich von Weida from the ministry of Duke Heinrich the Lion . These had their headquarters at the Osterburg in Weida , which is why Weida is often referred to as the cradle of the Vogtland. Other privileges of the governors, the 1232 through belonged to Frederick II. Granted mining and coinage .

The bailiffs had numerous lower aristocratic families in their followers . These families include those of Dobenck , Feilitzsch , Reitzenstein , Sack or Zedtwitz . A peculiarity of the Vogtland nobility was the formation of manors , so that rights tended to be more associated with the goods than with the family network than elsewhere. In Johann Siebmacher's coat of arms from 1605, they appear distributed among the Thuringian , Saxon and Franconian knighthood due to multiple fiefdoms . Siebmacher does not use the term Vogtland knighthood at all, but assigned the family mostly to the Meissnian nobility . The genealogist Johann Gottfried Biedermann dedicated a volume of books to the Vogtland knighthood in 1752.

Because of the claims to power of the Margraves of Meißen at the beginning of the 14th century, Heinrich von Plauen submitted to the feudal rule of the Bohemian Crown in 1327 , only the rule of Voigtsberg was excluded, which remained an imperial lord . In 1349 his son of the same name, Heinrich, also placed Voigtsberg under the Bohemian feudal sovereignty; thus the entire Vogtland had become a Reichsafterlehen . The territorial and dynastic disputes over the Vogtland culminated in the Vogtland War , which led to a reorganization in 1357. In 1357 there was an exchange of territory with the Margraviate of Meißen, whereby inter alia. Wiedersberg, Liebau, Adorf, Pausa, Neuenkirchen and Hirschberg became Meißnisch and instead Borna, Geithain and Kohren went to the Vogt. Heinrich's cousins ​​challenged the exchange in the affected sidelines. From 1379 on, Auerbach, Pausa and Liebau were given back to the Lords of Plauen, as they called themselves from then on, as a Meissen fief. Since 1426 they were also burgraves of Meißen and were in a constant power struggle with the Saxon electors.

Heinrich II von Plauen fell out of favor with King Georg von Podiebrad because of his open support for the aristocratic opposition, who took the fire of the royal Graslitz castle during fights between Heinrich and his opponents as an opportunity to deprive him of the fief and the Vogtland in 1466 by the Saxon Elector Ernst occupied. Ernst received the Vogtland as a fiefdom, which passed to the Ernestines when Leipzig was divided in 1485 . the Bergregal remained communal. After the Battle of Mühlberg , the Ernestines lost the Vogtland again in 1547 and Ferdinand I gave it to his Chancellor Heinrich IV von Plauen . The Saxon Elector Moritz also became a co-owner of the fief. Henry IV went into debt heavily, and after his death in 1554, his sons Heinrich V and Heinrich VI. fail to meet their debt obligations towards Elector August . Because of the tithes arrears and other claims, the brothers pledged the Vogtland to Electoral Saxony in 1559.

With Heinrich VI. von Plauen ended the rule of the bailiffs von Plauen over the Vogtland after he could no longer redeem the pledged land. In 1566, Elector August acquired the offices and cities of Voigtsberg, Oelsnitz, Plauen and Pausa. After the main settlement of friends and brothers in 1657, the official people of the Vogtland district as well as the offices of Plauen, Voigtsberg and Pausa were awarded to the Duke of Saxony-Zeitz , while the manors in writing and the town of Schöneck remained with the Electorate of Saxony. In 1718, after the Sachsen-Zeitz line died out, the areas reverted back to Kursachsen. In addition to an electoral Saxon part, the Auerbach and Schöneck forests formed a special part during this time, which was jointly electoral and ducal.

Upper Administratively, the Saxon Vogt land belonged since 1835 to the District Directorate of Zwickau , from 1874 to Kreishauptmannschaft Zwickau and from 1939 until the dissolution of Saxony after the Second World War to the administrative district of Zwickau . With the introduction of the GDR districts, the region was incorporated into the Karl-Marx-Stadt district. After the turn of the Saxon Vogtland finally came to the administrative district of Chemnitz, who after the local government reform in 2008 Direktionsbezirk Chemnitz was renamed. In the course of this reform, the Vogtland “capital” Plauen was also deprived of the privilege of district freedom .

The settlement chamber around Gera , which is documented in the written sources around the year 1000, was probably settled by Slavs who belonged to the tribal union of the Sorbs from the late 7th or 8th century . Large parts of the Vogtland were still forested and were only settled in the course of the high medieval eastern settlement in the late 11th and 12th centuries by Slavs and Germans from the old settlements in Franconia , Thuringia and Saxony . This can still be seen today in the serious dialect differences in the immediate vicinity as well as in certain common dialects. In some villages in the Upper Vogtland, for example, a dialect is still spoken as in the Upper Palatinate (ou for u, as in Kou for cow or Rou for calm).


Stamp set of the GDR: musical instruments from the Vogtland

Conveniently located at the intersection of the traffic routes from north to south and west to east in the middle of Germany, economy and industry in Vogtland were able to prosper very early.

The engine of industrial development was and is the city of Plauen, which is characterized by the manufacture of lace and embroidery ( Plauener Spitze ) and mechanical engineering, among others. with rotary printing presses and trucks (" Plamag ", " Vomag "), became known. Industrial focal points also formed in Reichenbach, Greiz and Zeulenroda-Triebes. Carpet weaving (Halbmond, Adoros) dominated the market in Oelsnitz and Adorf .

The instruments from the so-called Musikwinkel with the towns of Markneukirchen and Klingenthal in the upper Vogtland are known internationally . 80 percent of the orchestral instruments that were manufactured in the world came from the Vogtland until the Second World War. Around 1910, Markneukirchen was the richest city in Germany in relation to the number of inhabitants and had its own American consulate for flourishing exports.

The mass production promoted during the GDR era was replaced with the return to the manufacture of high-quality products and master instruments after the fall of the Wall. In many top orchestras, the instruments now come from workshops in the Vogtland region. In the course of globalization, the Musikwinkel is called Musicon Valley with its own quality brand . Exports more than doubled between 1995 and 2005.

The decline of the textile industry in Hof was counteracted by the settlement of forwarding companies.


Especially since the economic decline of some industries after 1990, tourism has played an increasingly important role for the economy in the region. Regardless of the season, the region has become more attractive as a destination for excursions.

The 72-kilometer Elsterperlenweg was certified as a quality hiking trail for the third time in 2017 .


Air travel

The nearest international airport is Leipzig / Halle Airport . The regional airfield Hof-Plauen is located in Vogtland .


Roßbach station on the Aš – Adorf railway line

Railway traffic in Vogtland began in the middle of the 19th century, and in 1841 the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Company received the concession for the Leipzig – Hof railway line . However, the first section of Werdau – Reichenbach to reach Vogtland was not opened until 1846. The Plauen – Hof section followed in 1848, and in the section in between, bridging the valleys of the Weisse Elster and the Göltzsch was extremely complicated. After the completion of the Göltzsch and Elstertal  bridges - the two largest brick bridges in the world to this day - the missing section was opened in 1851.

With the inauguration of the Vogtland State Railway Herlasgrün – Falkenstein – Oelsnitz – Adorf – Eger of the Saxon State Railway in 1865 and the Neumark – Greiz line opened in the same year by the private Greiz – Brunner Railway Company , larger parts of the Vogtland were connected to the rail network. The Cheb – Oberkotzau railway line, which touches the Bohemian Vogtland , was also opened that year; the northern foothills of the Vogtland received a rail link in 1865 with the Gößnitz – Gera railway line.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, a great railway construction boom began. On the north-western edge, the Gera – Eichicht section of the Leipzig – Probstzella railway line was inaugurated in 1871 . The long, unfavorable route of the Vogtland State Railroad led to the opening of the much shorter Plauen – Oelsnitz connection in 1874 ; the remaining Herlasgrün – Oelsnitz section was henceforth operated as an independent line. The Zwickau – Falkenstein railway lines of the Zwickau-Lengenfeld-Falkensteiner Railway Company , Wolfsgefärth – Weischlitz of the Saxon-Thuringian Railway Company and the Chemnitz – Adorf of the Chemnitz-Aue-Adorfer Railway Company were all opened in 1875. However, all companies had taken over the railway construction, so that they were sold to the Saxon state by the end of the 1870s. The Weida – Mehltheuer railway line operated by the Mehltheuer-Weidaer Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft was only opened in 1884 under state railway management. In the decades that followed, additional branch and narrow-gauge railways were opened, giving the Vogtland an extremely dense network of routes compared to the rest of the German Empire. The small community of Gassenreuth was only 12 km away from a train station, and there were only three villages that were more than 10 km from the nearest train station.

The decline of the route network began as early as the Second World War . Although the Vogtland railway systems were hardly the target of Allied air raids, maintenance was severely neglected. At the end of the war, the retreating Wehrmacht blew up numerous railway systems, especially bridges. At the end of the 1950s, the first wave of line closures began, which lasted until the mid-1970s. Nevertheless, a dense route network was retained in the Vogtland, partly due to the border location. After the economic changes, there was a sharp drop in traffic, which is why larger sections of the route were closed again in the 1990s. The remaining lines were extensively renovated at the end of the 1990s, as the Vogtland Railway took over the passenger traffic on a large part of the lines that were also in danger of being closed.

Since December 2006 the Vogtland has been completely cut off from the long- distance passenger traffic of the Deutsche Bahn , regional trains are currently running on the connection from Dresden to Nuremberg ( Saxony-Franconia Magistrale ) and on the section of the Elstertalbahn from Gera to Greiz. After the Vogtland Express was discontinued, the IRE 1 Dresden – Nürnberg with stops at Reichenbach , Plauen , Mehltheuer and Hof is the highest quality passenger train connection . Hof's main train station is an important hub in Vogtland with connections to Munich, Leipzig, Dresden, Nuremberg, Bamberg and internationally to Cheb. Most of the regional train traffic is operated by the Vogtlandbahn. Together with Plauener Straßenbahn GmbH and some regional bus companies, it forms the Vogtland Transport Association .

Road traffic

In addition to some federal highways that run through the Vogtland, the A 72 motorway from Hof ​​to Chemnitz (still under construction to Leipzig) is an important traffic axis . The Hermsdorfer Kreuz ( A 4 and A 9 motorways ) is near Gera (Thuringian Vogtland), the Bavarian Vogtland motorway triangles (A 9 and A 72 motorways ) and Hochfranken ( A 93 and A 72 motorways ) are close by Hof ( Bavarian Vogtland ).

Vogtländer (selection)

Vogtland cuisine

The Vogtland cuisine is a simple, hearty cuisine that mainly consists of staple foods, especially potatoes.

Typical dishes include:

  • Vogtland sour eggs
  • Spalkn (stew with potatoes)
  • Schwammespalkn (mushroom stew)
  • Plauener Hoosnbrotn (rabbit with white wine, bacon and sour cream)
  • Gänsklaa (little goose)
  • Egg marinated herring (salted herring marinated in milk)
  • Bambes (buttermilk potato fritters)
  • Griene Klaus / Griegeniffte (dumplings made from raw potatoes)
  • Nackede Maadle (curd cheese, potato, flour and quark pancakes)
  • Pancakes (pancakes, pancakes)
  • Hiefeklass (yeast dumplings with plum or cherry compote)
  • Erdepfelkuung / Erdäppelkuung (potato cake)
  • Elderberry soup (elderberry soup)
  • Gschling (stew or pan dish with offal)
  • Hofer Schnitz (vegetable stew)

A culinary tradition is the " no matter " as a combination of nine different dishes or ingredients on Christmas Eve. The compilation can vary widely depending on the exact place of residence and family usage (previously: depending on availability).

Vogtland in Berlin

In the middle of the 18th century, craftsmen of Vogtland origin worked in Berlin during the summer months . By order of Frederick the Great , buildings were built for these craftsmen in the area of ​​today's Rosenthaler Vorstadt in order to permanently settle them in Berlin. This district was called Voigtland until the 19th century . The term Vo (i) gtland was a synonym for the growing social misery in Berlin in the period of early industrialization.


  • The Upper Vogtland (= values ​​of our homeland . Volume 26). 1st edition. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1976.
  • Plauen and the middle Vogtland (= values ​​of our homeland . Volume 44). 1st edition. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1986.
  • The eastern Vogtland (= values ​​of the German homeland . Volume 59). 1st edition. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus successor, Weimar 1998, ISBN 3-7400-0938-1 .
  • The northern Vogtland around Greiz (= values ​​of the German homeland . Volume 68). 1st edition. Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2006, ISBN 978-3-412-09003-6 .
  • Max Benedict: The place names of the Saxon Vogtland in their linguistic and historical relationships , in: Mitteilungen des Altertumsverein zu Plauen , 14th annual publication for the year 1900, Neupert printing house, Plauen 1900, 128 pages ( link to the digitized version )
  • Gerhard Cheap : Pleißenland - Vogtland. The kingdom and the governors . Investigations into the ruling organization and state constitution during the Middle Ages under the aspect of periodization. Vogtland-Verlag, Plauen 2002, ISBN 3-928828-22-3 .
  • Manfred Blechschmidt, Lutz Hergert, Klaus Walther: The big book from Vogtland . Chemnitzer Verlag, Chemnitz 1999, ISBN 978-3-928678-52-0 .
  • Enno Bünz, Sönke Friedreich, Christian Ranacher, Lutz Vogel: Vogtland (=  cultural landscapes of Saxony . Volume 5 ). Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 2013, ISBN 978-3-361-00680-5 .
  • Horst Fröhlich : Vogtland mosaic. Folklore and cultural-historical highlights . Vogtland-Verlag, Plauen 2004. ISBN 3-928828-31-2 .
  • Johann August Ernst Köhler : Popular custom, superstition, sagas and other old traditions in Voigtland with consideration of the Orlagau and the Pleißnerland. Published by Fr. Fleischer, Leipzig 1867; Reprint Verlag Rockstuhl, Bad Langensalza 2008, ISBN 978-3-86777-042-2 .
  • Walter Ludwig: About the name Vogtland . In: Plauener Kulturspiegel 1960/61 or Heimatbote des Kreis Greiz 1962, issues 4, 5 and 6.
  • Kurt Schurig: Contributions to the history of mining in the Saxon Vogtlande. depicted according to archival sources . Hohmann, Plauen 1875 ( digitized version ).
  • Brigitte Unger and others (Ed.): The Vogtland Atlas. Regional atlas on the nature, history, population, economy and culture of the Saxon Vogtland. 3rd ext. Edition. Verlag Klaus Gumnior, Chemnitz, 2007, ISBN 978-3-937386-18-8 .
  • Matthias Werner: On the development of cities in eastern Thuringia and in Vogtland . In: Yves Hoffmann, Uwe Richter (ed.): The early history of Freiberg in a national comparison. Early urban history - mining - early house building . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle / Saale 2013, ISBN 978-3-95462-132-3 , pp. 153-198.

Web links

Commons : Vogtland  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Vogtland  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Ludwig: On the name Vogtland. In: Plauener Kulturspiegel 1960/61 or Heimatbote des Kreis Greiz 1962, issues 4, 5 and 6.
  2. quake swarms in the area of Novy Kostel (Czech Republic) , umwelt.sachsen.de, Retrieved on June 3, 2014
  3. Jens Skapski: Juski's earthquake news. August 24, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018 .
  4. Regional language usage in regional daily newspapers ( Memento of the original from April 25, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. by Oliver Lohmann @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.uni-mannheim.de
  5. In the valley of musical instruments. In: MDR FIGARO. May 22, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2014 .
  6. Musicon Valley - Departure in the Valley of Tones . In: The time . No.  42 , October 11, 2007, p. 40 ( online [accessed November 28, 2014]).
  7. Presentation of four certified hiking trails on vogtland.de
  8. a b Wilfried Rettig: The railways in Vogtland - Volume 1: Development, main lines, vehicles, depot and buildings. EK-Verlag, Freiburg 2001, ISBN 3-88255-686-2 , p. 7.
  9. Wilfried Rettig: The railways in Vogtland - Volume 1: Development, main lines, vehicles, depot and buildings. EK-Verlag, Freiburg 2001, ISBN 3-88255-686-2 , p. 7 f.
  10. Wilfried Rettig: The railways in Vogtland - Volume 1: Development, main lines, vehicles, depot and buildings. EK-Verlag, Freiburg 2001, ISBN 3-88255-686-2 , p. 9