The East-German city of Dessau is situated to the south west of Berlin, roughly equidistant from Magdeburg and Leipzig. It lies on the banks of the Elbe River where it meets the Mulde River and it is this location that has helped the town become such a prominent industrial and administrative hub throughout the ages. Dessau has been in existence for centuries and was first mentioned in literature in the early 1200s, before becoming the capital of the Anhalt state in 1570. The city is probably most famous for the Bauhaus, the college of architecture that relocated to the town in 1925 after its original location in Weimar. Dessau suffered heavily during the Second World War but has since been rebuilt, with more of the historic buildings recreated following the reunification.
There’s much to see in Dessau, including numerous buildings influenced by the architectural teachings of the Bauhaus college. Some of these are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with some of the better examples including the Masters’ Houses, the Grain House and the Dessau-Torten Estate. The Masters’ Houses are perhaps the most popular, offering a pleasing showcase of the Bauhaus style and so modern in design that it’s hard to believe that they were not built in this century.
The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation is a museum dedicated to this particular element of the town’s rich history and is one of the town’s most popular attractions. It offers a fascinating insight into the influence and appeal of the Bauhaus group. It’s certainly a must for architecture and design enthusiasts but is certainly an enlightening place to visit in its own right. A museum with a completely different theme is the Technikmuseum Hugo Junkers, which as you would imagine from its name offers an informative insight into all manner of aircraft and feats of engineering which were all the work of this pioneering German designer.
Other things to see during your visit to Dessau include various palaces each with their own gardens, such as the Georgium Palace and the Mosigkau Palace, while the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve is a protected area and home to a profusion interesting plant life. Within the biosphere reserve lies the Dessau-Worlitz Garden Realm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest English parks in the whole of mainland Europe.
If you want to sample authentic German food, Dessau is a great place to do it and is famous for its huge choice of restaurants. If you don't but are still hungry, that's fine too, as there is an eclectic range of eateries to be found across the city.